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Positive Affirmations: What are they and how to use them

BY Ali + Finn
Co-founders of The Positive Planner Ali + Finn smiling at the camera

Not sure about positive affirmations? We’re here to answer your questions on what affirmations are and how you can use them to bring more positivity into your life.


While we literally wrote the book on positive daily journaling, we understand that writing is just one way to approach self-care. And can we let you in on a secret? Even journaling pros like us sometimes lack positivity when it comes to sitting down to write. That’s where positive affirmations can help. Yes, they can give you the confidence to start writing, but journaling isn’t the only way to use positive affirmations for your mental health and wellbeing. Which is why we wanted to demystify the concept and show you how easily affirmations can slot into your everyday life. Whether you’re looking to build emotional awareness or kick start your self-care routine, why not take a few minutes to try them out today?


What are affirmations?

Have you ever been faced with something scary and felt compelled to give yourself a private pep talk to get it done? Maybe you’ve felt unprepared before an exam and said to yourself “I’ve worked hard, I know I’m going to pass this!” Maybe you’ve hidden in the bathroom before a first date, looked yourself in the mirror and said, “I can do this.” You might not have realised it at the time, but you were using positive affirmations to shift your mindset. That’s all we mean when we talk about positive affirmations. They’re just positive statements that challenge unhelpful thoughts in a way that supports your mental health and wellbeing.


The Positive Planner open showing Week 6 and the Positive Affirmation You Can Bloody Do This


What about positive intentions?

You may have heard us talk about intentions before, or perhaps you’ve set some for yourself when using The Positive Planner. It’s worth noting that there is a difference between intentions and affirmations. An intention is about creating a mindset shift linked to future actions. For example, you might say that your intention for today is to seek out as much joy as possible. Creating this intention will help open your mind to opportunities throughout the day and impact how you approach future tasks. On the other hand, an affirmation is focused on a truth within the present moment. For example, you might say, “I can find joy within myself” which is about the here and now.


A graphic of the positive intention do what makes your soul shine with a yellow background. positive intentions differ to positive affirmations


Challenging negative self-talk with positive affirmations 

When faced with day-to-day life, we often allow our inner critic to run the show which makes it hard to maintain positivity. When you learn to tune into that voice (journaling regularly will help you hear it more clearly) you might be surprised when you realise how negative it can be. It might say things such as “I’m so unhealthy,” “I’m so stupid,” or “I’m too shy”.

The problem with negative self-talk is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You tell yourself you’re not smart which stops you from taking opportunities that come your way. You tell yourself you’re shy and then you never speak up for yourself. You tell yourself you’re not worthy of self-care and then never prioritise the things that nourish your wellbeing. Positive affirmations can help rewrite that negative self-talk into a more empowering narrative. 


How positive affirmations can boost your mental health

When used regularly, positive affirmations can help build confidence, inspire creativity, break through limiting beliefs, improve self-esteem, instil hope for the future, encourage a sense of calm and foster inner strength. Affirmations aren’t about blocking out the bad things in life, instead, they can help change your mindset, reframe negative thinking and boost your positivity.


How to use positive affirmations

If you’ve ever used our Positive Wellness Journal then you’ll know that it features a selection of positive affirmations throughout for inspiration as you write.



The good news is that journaling isn’t the only way to use affirmations when it comes to boosting your mental health and wellbeing. Some people like to create their own and say them out loud. Other people like to pick a Positive Affirmation Card at random and sit it on their desk for the day as a reminder. We totally get that giving yourself a motivational talk in the mirror every morning isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so here are some other ideas that might work for you:


Pick one at random

If you’re feeling a bit lost, try picking a Positive Affirmation Card from a shuffled deck. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, then spend a few minutes reflecting on the card and what it means to you. What thoughts come up? How does it make you feel? Use this as a prompt to do some free-writing in your journal or to add in some associated self-care activities that are connected to the prompt. We’re going to be pulling some affirmation cards live in our private Facebook Group and on Instagram this month, so come follow us if you need a little nudge to get going.


The Positive Affirmation Cards can be used together with The Positive Free Writing Journal


Pick one and repeat it every day 

If you want to improve one aspect of your wellbeing then this can help you maintain focus. Pick one affirmation and use it as often as you can throughout the day either by saying it out loud or writing it down. This can be particularly effective if you’re working towards one big goal such as moving house, potty training your kids, giving a presentation at work or feeling confident on your wedding day.


Make it part of your morning routine 

Adding another thing to your to-do list can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to self-care so try placing your Positive Affirmation Cards next to the kettle. Before you make your morning cuppa, pick a card and repeat it to yourself as you wait for the kettle to boil. If you can, repeat this every time you take a break to see a tangible shift in your mental health and wellbeing. If you drink as much coffee as us you’ll be radiating positivity by lunchtime!


Image of The Positive Affirmation Cards - you can choose to pick one to help you build more positivitiy


Place affirmations around your home

If you’re a visual learner then you might benefit from using affirmations to decorate your space. Use our bright and colourful Positive Affirmation Cards or handwritten notes positioned in places where you’re likely to ruminate or think negative thoughts. If you worry a lot about work, perhaps having a positive affirmation in your day planner will help you reframe the day ahead. Maybe a simple "I am beautiful” note on the bathroom mirror will help reinforce body confidence and inspire positivity. 


Incorporate them into meditation

If you struggle with the idea of thinking about nothing (who doesn’t?) then you might find it helpful to use positive affirmations while you meditate. Repeating a positive affirmation out loud or in your head can improve focus as you meditate, giving you space to reflect on the affirmation itself and think about why you were drawn to it.



Make them a group activity 

It’s only natural to feel down if you’re surrounded by friends and family who unconsciously revert to negative thinking patterns over and over. Why not try using positive affirmations with your partner, kids or best mates? It can be a fun and practical way to work through the stumbling blocks that we come up against every day like schoolwork, relationship troubles or comparing ourselves to others. 


Create affirmations that work for you

If you’ve been journaling for a while, go through your writings and pick out the negative things you say to yourself most often. Decide which one you would like to rewire into positive beliefs and create a personalised affirmation. For example, if you’re always calling yourself lazy, try writing an affirmation that allows you to rest or take things slow, such as, “I am worthy of rest,” or “I can go at my own pace and still get things done.” The most important thing, according to self-affirmation theory, is that your affirmations reflect your core personal values so if the affirmation doesn’t feel right, keep experimenting until you find the perfect fit.



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