Many people use affirmations for personal development and to help them meet their life goals. But did you know you can use affirmations to build resilience and combat stress?
I turned to affirmations to help me conquer my fear of completing a half marathon. I’ll be totally honest. I’m not an athlete. I hated running. I loved my friends. And peer pressure won. I got talked right into signing up alongside a group of women to compete in a half marathon in Nashville, TN. Now keep in mind, I’d never done more than a 5K (and I hadn’t even ran the whole length of it).
I was freaked out because you had to finish in 4 hours and if you did the math based on my 5K’s…it wasn’t even close. I was totally overwhelmed with the training. I hate to fail. So I knew I’d show up and I knew I’d try. But I let all of the negative talk in my head stress me out throughout the process. I was in tears on my way to meet my friends the morning we had scheduled to do an 8 mile run. I was embarrassed thinking how I’d hold some of them back. I was afraid I might actually not complete it.
All of these thoughts were running through my mind. But with each step, I kept telling myself, you are strong enough and fast enough. Right foot hit the pavement – strong enough. Left foot – fast enough. Until the next thing I new, I’d hit our invisible finish. I cried again. It was the first time in three months I truly let myself think I could finish the run.
That night, I went home and wrote that phrase on my mirror. I looked at it every morning when I was getting ready and every night before I went to bed. I kept it on a sticky note at my desk.
If you want to know more about that journey from self-doubt to self-belief, you can download 5 free chapters from my book, When In Doubt, Delete It! I share all the gory details in one of the chapters.
Whether it’s a one-off stress like having to give a presentation or an ongoing stressful issue, you can create the right affirmations to support you through. Affirmations will help you deal better with current stress, and over time, prevent future anxiety.
Know Your Negative Enemy
Identifying your negative thoughts is the first step in working out the best affirmations for you and your situation.
Take a moment to think of all the beliefs that come up when you think about your stressful event. Do you worry about not knowing what to say at a party, or freezing while you try to give a presentation? Write down every negative thought that pops into your head. Make the conscious decision to move away from those negative beliefs.
Turn the Negatives into Positives
Now you have your list of negative thoughts; you can take each one and turn it into a positive. Make strong positive statements and remind yourself of times in the past when you coped well in similar situations.
When you develop your affirmations, tie them back to times when you have succeeded in the past. If you can’t think of any, ask your partner, friend, or colleague to help you. Likely they’ll have a much more positive view of your skills and achievements than you do!
Write down some encouraging phrases to get you through, like ‘I’m feeling stressed, but I will be ok,’ ‘I can do this,’ ‘When this is over, I will be so proud of myself.’
Keep Your Affirmations Realistic
Affirmations are not magic. Keep your affirmations in proportion to what you can do and how you feel. If they are too ambitious, they can make you feel more anxious than before. And if you have a misstep or you fail, then you’ll feel even worse than before.
Maybe you get anxious about public speaking, whether it’s giving a presentation or having a job interview. Your affirmations will help you even more if you know you have done everything possible to be prepared.
If you worry about getting stage fright or going blank, prepare every aspect of your speech or presentation. Remind yourself that you know how to do this, you know your subject.
Anticipate what might go wrong and work out strategies to prevent or deal with it, from having spare notes in case the technology fails to having a glass of water nearby if you feel faint.
If you want more secrets to building a successful career brand, you can:
Join Successfully Ever After an online course designed to help you create a personal brand designed with career success in mind within 30 days.
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