man saying self affirmations in mirror

Affirmations to Improve Your Self-Esteem and Confidence

Some research suggests that as many as 85 percent of people struggle with low self-esteem. If you think negative, unhealthy things about yourself, you’re certainly not alone. If you struggle to build your confidence, you may have heard that affirmations can help.

Though it feels awkward at first, reciting positive affirmations to yourself often can improve your mental health in many ways. It’s one way to create a healthy self-image and self-esteem. To make the most of affirmations, it’s important to know how they work and how to choose the best ones for you.

Do Positive Affirmations Really Work?

The science behind affirmations comes from the idea of neuroplasticity, the ability for pathways in the brain to change over time. Research suggests that consistent affirmations may form new pathways in the brain, causing positive thoughts to become easier than negative ones.

 

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In other words, the more you think positive thoughts about yourself, the easier it becomes on your brain. After a while, the positive thoughts become natural. Because your self-talk becomes positive, your self-esteem increases.

While affirmations can be an important part of mental health care, there are two important notes to remember:

  1. Affirmations alone cannot cure any mental health disorder
  2. Affirmations are most effective when practiced consistently

While any positive thoughts about yourself can be useful, you get the most out of your time if you choose affirmations that are specific to your needs.

How to Choose Affirmations That Help You

The process of choosing positive affirmations can be uncomfortable for many people, especially those who have very little practice thinking anything good about themselves. First, start by noticing the automatic negative thoughts you have about yourself throughout the day.

These automatic thoughts could be things like:

  • I just can’t do it.
  • I’m too ugly.
  • I don’t deserve these good things.
  • I’m not successful enough.

If you wouldn’t say it about your best friend, but your mind frequently says it about yourself, it’s likely and an automatic negative thought.

Next, remember that these thoughts are not real, tangible things. They are likely not even rooted in reality. Instead, they are simply neurons firing in your brain. You have the power to change them.

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Finally, identify affirmations that are the exact opposite of your automatic negative thoughts. For example, if you often think, “I’m a loser,” write down affirmations such as “I am successful.”

Notice that the opposite of “I’m a loser,” is not, “I’m not a loser.” That’s because the goal is to use positive language about yourself. “I am successful,” achieves that.

Examples of Affirmations to Improve Self-Esteem

If you’re new to affirmations or thinking kind thoughts about yourself, pulling positive affirmations out of thin air can feel impossible. The good news is that you don’t have to come up with unique affirmations! Borrow from those who have had success with them in the past.

Affirmations that address some common issues with self-esteem:

  • I deserve happiness and a good life.
  • I love who I am today.
  • People like me.
  • I am successful.
  • I do things to better myself.
  • I am beautiful/handsome inside and out.
  • I love myself.
  • I attract positivity into my life.
  • I matter.
  • I am unique–there is nobody like me.
  • I am confident.
  • I am enough.
  • I do enough.
  • My ideas are good.
  • I perform well at my job.
  • I overcome challenges.
  • I forgive myself.

Use these as templates for your own affirmations. If you need help coming up with affirmations that help you, be sure to reach out to a licensed therapist for help. Our compassionate providers can help you see the good in yourself.