My husband and I have been attending hypnobirthing sessions for the last month in preparation for the birth of our first child in August. If you haven’t heard of hypnobirthing it’s all about deep relaxation, breathing techniques and eliminating the fear of birth (which in turn helps the birth to progress more easily). We have quite a lot to practice at home each week and an important part of this is using self-affirmations to help develop a positive relaxed mindset about birth. I have been finding that the self-affirmations are really helping me feel excited rather than anxious about the impending birth. The whole experience has helped reinforce for me the importance and power of self-talk. Self-affirmations are used in all sorts of therapies, in fact they are something that I encourage my clients to try, both in my confidence course and also with weight management.
Self-affirmations can be described as positive self-talk. I looked up the dictionary definition of self-affirmation and it was this:
“The recognition and assertion of the existence and value of one’s individual self”
It’s so easy to listen to that little chatterbox voice in the back of your head saying “I can’t do this” or “I’m hopeless”. Particularly when you’re trying to lose weight and you’ve been finding it difficult to stick to a diet-plan, or everything you’ve tried hasn’t worked for you long-term. The most common phrases I hear from people tend to revolve around their ‘inability’ to lose weight or keep the weight off in the long-term. They convince themselves that weight-loss is just too difficult for them, they’re different from other people or that they will never be any different from how they are now. Unfortunately, with this mindset, no matter what they do to try to lose weight, they are never going to be successful with weight-loss, as that voice at the back of their head will always sabotage them. This then reinforces their original beliefs about their abilities.
Luckily you can, with a little effort and perseverance, re-programme that inner voice using self-affirmations. I find with weight management, the key is to be constructive with yourself, particularly if you are struggling with eating in response to difficult situations. This can be more helpful than trying to dismiss the difficulties by just being positive, which isn’t always realistic. For example if your inner voice is saying something along the lines of:
“I can’t cope with this stress, I need to eat cake!”
Then you could try to turn this around to:
“This situation is hard, but I can cope, I am a strong person”.
“I won’t ever lose weight, it’s just too difficult and I don’t have the willpower”
Could be changed to:
“Losing weight is hard, but I will get there eventually, because I believe in myself”
The first step is always about being aware of what you are saying to yourself, so that you can stop it before it builds up in your head. Then you can try to change the words around to be more helpful. To start with you may feel silly, but nobody will know what you’re doing unless you say it out loud. The more you repeat self-affirmations to yourself, the more likely they are to help you change your mindset and feel better. It’s another case of ‘practice, patience and perseverance’.
How about you – do you use self-affirmations to help you? Or are you struggling with your inner voice – what does it say to you? Maybe you could share in the comments and I could make some suggestions that might help you.
Or if you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please feel free to share it with them.