Affirmations have long been considered a powerful tool for developing new beliefs and building self-confidence. There is a brand new study from Carnegie Mellon University that proves the effectiveness of affirmations to protect against the impact of stress.
The study used self-affirmations that focused on values important to the individual to boost problem solving abilities in stressed-out individuals. Another study said that affirmations helped students get better grades.
It's always interesting when science catches up with the intuitive wisdom of coaches, counselors and healers. Affirmations can play a powerful role in your personal journey and your work with clients.
Here are a few ways to use them with clients.
1. Creating Ritual
Rituals build trust and continuity. Try starting or ending a session by drawing a random affirmation. If used at the beginning of a session you can weave it into the conversation. If you use an affirmation at the end of the session you might ask the client how it applies to what you have just discussed or adapt it for use as a homework inquiry. For example – "I am open" the inquiry might be – "What is it to be open?"
2. Introducing Stimulus
When a client doesn't know what to talk about or is stuck, introducing a bit of stimulus can open things up. Have the client draw a random affirmation. Explore how it lands with them and see where it takes you both.
*If you work on the phone, connect with your client and tell them you have cards in front of you or in a bowl – tell them what you are doing – i.e swirling your hand in a bowl of cards, and invite them to tell you when to pick a card.
3. Supporting the 'Work'
Ask the client to choose an affirmation that will support the work they are doing with you. If they have their own affirmation deck this is easy. If you have the deck, throw out some possibilities. It's important for the client to choose. Through your conversation you can deepen the meaning, adapt the affirmation as needed and connect it to values. Together find ways the affirmation can continue to support them.
Hopefully these ideas will get your own creative juices flowing so feel free to adapt, combine or come up with your own unique approach.
Using affirmations will result in a reduction of stress and a feeling of empowerment as you and your clients embrace new thoughts and enjoy the feeling of change.
Below are three affirmation decks that can support your work with clients. Consider including a deck as part of a new client welcome package.
1. I Love Myself More Affirmation Cards$20.95 Sale $15.95
The 52 cards are filled with inspirational, loving, and healing messages.
"As I love myself more…I know I am safe and protected in all I do."
Affirmations have been around for a long time. Most people use them to shift negative beliefs and to feel more confident.
I found a great article posted on the Psychology Today website that shares recent research on the effectiveness of affirmations. The article shares both the positive findings and the controversial ones.
Carnegie Mellon's research showed that affirmations reduced stress and increased problem solving performance. Another study showed that affirmations help us "deal with threats to self-integrity". The researchers who question the efficacy of affirmations say that there is evidence that repeating overly positive self statements can actually make people with low self esteem feel worse.