The Science of Positive Affirmations

Positive self-affirmations may actually benefit your mental state

(RxWiki News) Can simply saying something positive about yourself benefit your mental health? Science says it's possible.

As it turns out, the power of positive affirmations touted by self-help books everywhere may be based in actual science.

That's good news for those who want to improve and protect their mental health but don't buy into untested theories and treatments.

Before we dive into the science, let's begin with a definition of positive affirmations. Put simply, a positive affirmation is a positive statement you make about yourself to combat a negative, unhelpful or hurtful thought or feeling.

The idea is that positive affirmations may take the place of negative thinking that harms your self-image, self-confidence and self-worth.

But does the science actually support the power of positive affirmations? Many studies suggest that it does.

For example, one 2016 study found that specific pathways in the brain become more active when you practice positive affirmation. Those pathways lead to parts of the brain that control self-valuation.

Meanwhile, at least two studies conducted in recent years have found that self-affirmations may reduce stress. And a separate study found that practicing positive affirmations may increase your ability to more quickly process negative experiences.

Convinced yet? If so, consider trying out positive affirmations. To do so, pick a short, positive phrase to say about yourself. Repeat it frequently — especially when you're having negative thoughts.

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress, depression or any other mental health concern, reach out to your health care provider.