Step 3 of my 7 Days to Happilicious challenge talks about the importance of learning to ditch the inner bitch. We all have one don’t we?! She’s the horrible voice inside our head that pipes up at the most inopportune times. Whenever we’re feeling even remotely vulnerable, she senses the chink in our armour and nips in there as quick as a flash to make sure she tells us exactly how fat/ugly/useless we are. She’s a spiteful, calculating bully and we have to work really, REALLY hard to shut her up.
The first step in conquering her is to notice when she starts to rear her head, and then as soon as you’ve noticed her, the trick is to jump straight in and tell her to STFU! But then what next? What do you do to replace the gap that she leaves in your consciousness? Well, you need to turn it on its head and rather than allowing yourself to believe the heinous lies she feeds you, you have to affirm, with confidence, the qualities that a perfect future you would have.
Look, there is a certain element of fake it ‘til you make it about this idea, but just think about what happens when people start repeating the same lies over and over again….. that’s right, everyone starts to believe it. You keep telling yourself that you’re fat, ugly and useless and you’ll get nowhere fast, but change the record and repeat to yourself how confident and comfortable you are in your own skin and slowly but surely, you’ll start to feel the difference! Hell what have you got to lose? If you’re going to be telling yourself one of those stories anyway, then why not put the effort into making it the positive one?
Now, at first you might think this is mumbo jumbo BS, but I promise you there is proven method in the madness. Studies have shown that 80% of our thoughts are negative, and given that we have approximately 45,000 to 51,000 thoughts per day, that’s a whole lot of negative thinking we got going on!!! So how do we counteract that? By regularly using positive affirmations, that’s how.
While they work primarily on the subconscious mind, studies have also shown that positive affirmations can also have an amazing affect on muscle strength and energy levels (true story!) and more obviously, our emotional well-being. I am a huge fan of starting the day with a gratitude list to lift the spirits and shift your focus to all things positive, and likewise, reaffirming positive statements to yourself has a positive affect on your attitude, behaviour and actions.
Ever heard the statement, “the body achieves what the mind believes”? Well it’s not wrong! Our mind is a hugely powerful tool and we often underestimate the influence that it can have over our bodies. Scientific research has shown that positive self talk releases endorphins and serotonin in our brain which then flow throughout our body, making us feel fabulous! And I’m sure we’ve all heard how top Olympic athletes are encouraged to visualise themselves crossing the finishing line in a blaze of glory, right? Sports psychologists have found that this action actually triggers neural actions within the brain that can then be used to enhance future, “real life” performance. Pretty powerful stuff!
So back to our affirmations! To get the best results, your affirmations need to be in the present tense, so as if they are already true, right here, right now. For example: “I love and repsect my body” rather than “One day I will love and respect my body.” You also need to repeat them often so that they get embedded in your brain and become second nature. I love using mine as soon as my inner bitch pipes up – almost like psychological armour, but it is also a great idea to find concrete ways of weaving them into your day so they become associated with certain daily habits. For example, repeating them every morning when you stand in the bathroom brushing your teeth; every time you switch the kettle on to make a cuppa; on the drive to school to pick up the kids. Say them in your head, say them out loud, say them while looking at yourself in the mirror, write them down, keep them on your phone as a screen saver and repeat them every time you pick your phone up…… Any which way that suits you is grand!
Experts suggest that the most powerful results come when you create your own very personal affirmation, but I think that when you are starting out, it can really help to read the affirmations that other people have used and adopt and adapt any that particularly resonate with you. So in that spirit, here are some that I have found particularly helpful! Please feel free to use them in whatever way suits you best:
I love my body as it is today
I am comfortable in my own skin
I am grateful for everything my body allows me to do
My flaws are unique and beautiful
I am enough
I make healthy choices. I have respect for my body
I am active and full of energy. I am healthy, vibrant and I look great!
So there you have it. A quick, free and easy way of boosting your self esteem that doesn’t take 12 weeks of food restriction or a daily hour of beasting yourself at the gym!!! I’d really love to hear from you if you have a go at using any of these affirmations so feel free to leave a comment below. Or why not head over to Facebook and join the Happilicious living closed group where you can share your experiences with a group of like minded women?