Feeling stressed? Try positive affirmations
By Cassie Schattle, Staff Writer
“Just keep swimming.”
“This too shall pass.”
“What you seek is seeking you.”
We’ve all heard these common affirmations, and lately, they’ve been filling my head at night — just a little bit more than usual. As businesses close and schools shut down and everyone locks their doors against the current pandemic, sometimes there is little a person can do as they search for a way to remain positive amidst a world so confusing and dark.
As a student in the Social Work diploma program, our professors and supervisors preach self-care and taking care of the body — mentally and physically — like it’s going out of style. But the reality is, sometimes there isn’t anything else you can do except to just keep telling yourself it is going to be okay.
Affirmations have been used for many years, in many ways, by many different people. Some short, some long, the idea wasn’t just to say some nice words, but to retrain your brain to focus on those words when hope was hard to come by.
Did you know that what we focus on very much becomes reality? If a person is constantly telling themselves they aren’t good enough, or that everything sucks, they will start seeking out (subconsciously) reasons to believe everything sucks. They will start only seeing the bad parts of their day – instead of being grateful for the good parts.
So, if negative thoughts can root and grow in a person’s mind, why can’t the opposite be said about positive ones? The thing is, it can.
When a person starts to believe the words they are saying, a new way of thinking takes over, and they start to see what is good and focus on that instead.
Use going to the gym, for example. A person goes to the gym every day — begrudgingly, at first — because they want to improve their physical health. An affirmation is just that, a type of gym if you will, for your mind. Research has even shown that a short pep talk before a big performance or meeting has been known to calm nerves and increase confidence, according to an article at www.mindtools.com.
Affirmations have also been known to alleviate the effects of stress, treat people with low self-esteem and help boost other mental conditions. The same article states that “these positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that we can begin to think and act differently.”
And isn’t that something we all really need right now, a way to think and act differently. I had to put my phone away and turn my notifications off – as I watched the world as we know it dissolve into hysteria. Although I myself wasn’t freaking out, watching everyone freak out around me was enough to cause a mini breakdown. Because you know what, everything that is currently happening is terrifying — not just in Calgary, but around the world.
So instead of diving headfirst into panic with the rest of the masses, maybe just try an affirmation. Create your own, or find one online — but instead of worrying, make the best of what is still yet to come. I believe it is going to be okay.