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Transformation of negative emotions by positive affirmations
It is an undeniable fact that the creation of emotions being the inherent nature of human consciousness, none of us can escape them, though some experience powerful effects while others experience not so powerful effects of the same emotions. It is also true that negative emotions can run riot in the body and mind, giving rise to many diseases. But, nonetheless, it is also true that we can tame the same emotions by learning to regulate them. The negative emotions can be regulated by making positive affirmations.
Different lexicons describe an affirmation as a statement of existence or truth of something. But, though it seems paradoxical, we can affirm for the things that we don’t have. Some may say it is akin to “fake it until you make it”. Here, the connotation of affirmations that are phrases or sentences is making a formal declaration to us or the universe of our intentions for it to be the truth. It is akin to creating a vision of the things we wish to have by making affirmations in the form of phrases or sentences repeatedly with unshakeable faith till we create the reality of a particular thing.
The first and foremost requisite to let the positive affirmations work is to have a positive faith in them to create a reality because a positive mindset begets a positive end result. An iota of doubt about the effects of affirmation will thwart it from producing effects. The reason is that as long as we have an element of doubt about their effectiveness, we won’t let positive affirmations target our subconscious or unconscious mind. As long as we hold negative beliefs, we will target the conscious mind only.
The following tips will help an individual in structuring proper statements of affirmations to bring about transformative changes in one’s emotional makeup -
- We choose to focus on things we want to change; here they are negative emotions like anger, fear, jealousy, unhappiness, revenge, hatred etc. Make a list of your goals or harmful negative emotions you want to change.
- If you have many goals or negative emotions to change, prioritize the list of things to work on. For example, if you have prominent negative emotions of anger, jealousy and hatred, take up first that you want to change most such as anger.
- Write affirmations about the emotion you want to change. Start with “I” and be short, clear and positive. There are two types of future oriented affirmations. “I can” statements. For example, “I can control my anger” or “I can free myself from anger”. One should avoid any kind of negative connotation. The other type is of “I will” statements. For example, “I will be anger free today” or “I will be less angry today than yesterday”. You should use positive language and should simply express what you will do today to achieve the longer-term goal.
- Repetition is the key to making affirmations effective. Write your affirmations in a diary each morning when you wake up and each night before you go to sleep. Repeat the affirmations for a fixed number of times after writing them. In fact, they should be the first thing you think of when you wake up and the last before you go to sleep.
- Place the affirmations in writing where you can see them often by pasting them near the mirror, on the fridge, under the glass top of your table, or on the wardrobe. By looking at them frequently, we gradually make them start percolating to our subconscious mind, where they have to act.
- Make it a routine to meditate daily on the positive affirmations for 5 to 10 minutes early in the morning and before going to bed so that they impact our subconscious mind during the day and in the night in sleep.
- By repeating positive, well structured affirmations with persistence and regularity, we will progressively develop the ability to regulate our emotions.
- We should take up one or two emotions at a time to learn to regulate them but there is a caveat that the affirmations must be positively structured and we must have full faith in them to create the required changes, for which they are intended.
How do affirmations work? –
The human subconscious mind can be compared to a great computer. The affirmations are the commands that program it to act the way we want. If we feed our subconscious mind with negative thoughts and words, it will produce negative results. Conversely, if we feed it with positive thoughts and words, it will produce positive results.
A number of researches have established that the human brain has plasticity, which means that it is pliable and changeable. The human brain isn’t fully formed till mid- 20’s but remains plastic throughout life. The neuro-plasticity is competitive and, therefore, can be positive or negative. Moreover, the neurons get more specific with training.
The positive affirmations can change many programs that are wired in the form of memories of various experiences, we have been having since our early childhood. These memories are stored in the hippocampus of the brain and our reactions to different situations depend on the retrieval of memories from the storehouse. Regular repetitions of positive affirmations can change the structure of the parts of the brain – pre-frontal cortex and amygdala - associated with the creation of emotions, thereby changing their function. There appear new connections and neurons replacing the old ones forming the new patterns of emotional reactions.
As our brain receives inputs through positive affirmations, depending on the intensity, frequency and duration of the positive thoughts the brain physically changes its structure. Therefore, we learn to regulate our emotions, responding to life situations more positively and these positive changes not only affect us but they are also felt by others, who interact with us.
A pertinent question arises how long the positive emotions take to change old patterns of emotional reactivity in a person. The answer depends entirely on a habit pattern that needs to be changed. Studies suggest that developing a new habit like eating some pieces of fruits daily in the breakfast may take 21 days. But, nonetheless, changing to this simple habit may take shorter or longer time for some others. As the patterns of emotional reactions are well engraved in the subconscious mind, it may take much longer – two months or more - for such patterns to change, depending on the persistence and sincerity of the efforts of the individual. It has been found that some of the well established old habits may take around 254 days to change – the better part of the year. The caveat is that transmuting old patterns of negative emotional reactions into positive ones may take much longer for some but the key is to keep on making efforts persistently and faithfully till one succeeds. An individual can notice significant changes of better emotional reactivity while progressing in one’s efforts, which may act as impetus for the individual to continue making efforts with persistence and enthusiasm.