Let’s talk about affirmations! You may have heard a little about them, read about them in Chapter 7 of Listen To Your Gut, or perhaps you already practice them. But how can you use them to help yourself heal from a chronic illness like IBD? Follow me on a beautiful journey as I touch upon what Jini and I have both learned from the power of positive affirmations.

Did you know that affirmations have been scientifically proven to help create lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel? Your thoughts and emotions create physical changes in the body, so if we have negative emotions and thoughts, we can deduce that it won’t be great for our body. On the flip side, what about purposely cultivating positive thoughts and emotions? If we did this, it could only result in healthy physical changes.

What are positive affirmations?

Jini talks about positive affirmations in Chapter 7 of her flagship book, Listen to Your Gut. She says that “positive affirmations are a powerful tool you can use to help yourself achieve everything from athletic excellence, to financial success, to excellent health.” Anything that you desire or want to achieve, you can start with affirmations! (By the way, you can download the first chapter of the Listen to Your Gut book for free here.)

An affirmation is basically a positive statement that you repeat aloud in the present tense. It’s even more helpful to do it whilst looking at yourself in the mirror – that way you are seeing yourself while projecting what you want! I know it may seem strange at first to talk out loud to yourself about how awesome you are, especially while staring in the mirror, but that’s only because self-love is not always learned. Self-love is hard! But engaging in restorative practices really help to reach that true, root-level healing. And to be fair, there is genuine theory and a fair amount of neuroscience behind this practice.

I find it helpful to TAP while saying affirmations, too! For me, it helps imprint them deeper. Jini says you can also do affirmations first and then tap – so go with whichever method you feel works best for you!

Here’s the problem where people get tied up (myself included before I learned this trick): people don’t use affirmations because they don’t FEEL that the emotion they are trying to evoke is true. They find it hard to believe it’s a true statement.

Here’s an example – let’s say you want to use affirmations to assist with a certain health issue. One of the affirmations you use is, “I am enough.” But you struggle with feeling good enough. You may sit there and think, this is not only silly for me to be saying this out loud, but it’s also an untrue statement.

While this may be the case in the present situation, one of the huge things about affirmations is that repeating them can actually make a change in your body and mind. So even if the statement you’re saying feels untrue initially, if you do it enough you can get to a place where you actually feel that way. Remember, thoughts and emotions make physical shifts in the body, so when we imprint this positivity, emotional and physical changes may follow…

What are the benefits of affirmations?

When we have health issues, especially chronic illness, it can be extremely helpful to change our outlook. Creating a habit of having a more positive outlook can assist with rewiring your brain. Negative thoughts create stress, which in turn can disrupt hormones – damaging the immune system and depleting the body of all “good” chemicals. Those chemicals are responsible for the feel-good emotions and feelings we get, like joy and happiness.

Affirmations can help create a better relationship with our own bodies as well. Put out into the universe what you want to become and who you want to be!

How do you practice affirmations?

While I was very sick, I practiced affirmations during my daily practices. I would sit in a comfortable spot and make sure I was in a quiet area without distractions. I wanted to make sure I felt safe while I was doing them, so I chose an environment that I felt comfortable in.

Walking helped me as well. There was something about “movement” that helped me instill the affirmations more easily while enjoying the healing power of nature while doing so.

Now when you first start, you may feel silly! If the affirmations you choose feel really uncomfortable at first, start with ones that make more sense to you.

This blog post I stumbled across offers really great examples of positive affirmations specifically geared toward chronic illness. The author states 5 things she feels affirmations should include based on her personal experience.

In the post she mentions that having chronic health issues can make it really hard to say an affirmation like, “Your health issues do not exist.” She expresses how you should acknowledge the presence of your health issues and respect the messages from your body – not ignore them! Sound familiar? It should if you’ve read Jini’s popular post, I Get The Message And The Symptoms Disappears!

So the author tweaks the affirmation to, “I choose to not let my illness define me.”

She found these 5 points to be most helpful when it comes to affirmations:

  • Believable and realistic
  • Practical to repeat
  • Easy enough to remember in concept
  • Specifically focused on your journey
  • Comforting to hear

I was so intent on healing that I personally jumped right into affirmations of, “I am healthy,” etc., but if you need to ease your way in with this technique then do what’s best for you!

In my humble opinion, I believe the above guidelines are great if you don’t know where to start.

And here are some additional affirmation ideas by Louise Hay. Louise Hay offers tremendous positive affirmations, and she designed all these affirmations for people who want to take their life back! Both Jini and I love and highly recommend her affirmations, and here are some of my personal favorites:

I am healthy
I am enough
I am beautiful
I am grateful
I believe in my ability to heal
I deserve _______. (Put whatever you want/deserve in the blank space) or say: I am open to _________.)

As you do this while walking, tapping, or relaxing in the tub, imagine yourself with these things, having these things, and what life would be like. As you do so, it can imprint a tad deeper, so your body will get a sense of what that would look/feel like and how safe it is to let these things happen!

I hope this post has helped you get a better understanding of what positive affirmations are and how to use them as a powerful healing tool. What affirmations are you going to create, and how will you implement them in your healing? Let me know below!