Another useful recovery tool is the development of affirmations. These are accurate and true things that a person says about themselves in order to improve self-esteem.
From Copeland’s, The Depression Workbook:
Rules for Creating Affirmations
- When developing an affirmation, always use the present tense. I am healthy, I am well, I have a good job, as if the condition already existed.
- Use only positive words in your affirmations. For example, happy, peaceful enthusiastic, warm. Avoid using negative terms such as worried, frightened, upset, tired, bored even if you’re negating them (don’t say “I’m not upset”; say instead, “I feel calm”).
- Use the first person: I, me, or your own name.
- The affirmation should create a strong picture of you, successful in whatever way you desire, right now.
- Keep your affirmation short and simple.
- If you have a religious or spiritual faith, use your faith to enhance this process. For example, “I trust the perfection and goodness of the universe.”
Examples of Positive Affirmations
- I think and act with confidence. I am strong and powerful.
- I fully accept myself as I am.
- I have many accomplishments to my credit. I am healthy and energetic.
- I deserve the time and space to heal.
- I have all the resources I need to do what I want to in my life.
- I am loved by many people.
- I am a very valuable person.
- I am safe and protected.
- I am effective and efficient in stressful situations.
- I am peaceful and serene at all times.
- My relationships are happy and fulfilling.
- I am in charge of my life.
- I look and feel wonderful.
- I express myself easily and comfortably.
- I choose life.
Compose some affirmations of your own. You can use this opportunity to create an idealized picture of your life and circumstances, and the ways in which you respond. It’s all right for your affirmations to stretch the truth, or even be complete fabrications, as long as they represent your image of the way you’d like things to be. Imagination is a powerful precursor to reality!
It’s a good idea to keep a journal by your bedside with an updated list of the affirmations you find most helpful.
Practicing Your Affirmations
- Once you have developed your affirmations, repeat them several times first thing in the morning and before going to sleep at night. Having your journal beside your bed will serve as a useful reminder.
- Repeat your affirmations over and over again when you are relaxing or meditating.
- Repeat your affirmations at any time during the day when you are not concentrating on something else (to yourself, or out loud when possible). For example, when you are doing the dishes, vacuuming, are stuck in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store. The more you repeat your affirmations, the sooner they will reflect reality.
- Reinforce your affirmations by writing them over and over again while repeating them silently or out loud.
- It can help to repeat an affirmation in an overly loud tone of voice. Diminish the volume gradually until you are repeating the affirmation in a whisper and finally saying it silently inside your head. (This is a good exercise to do when you are traveling in your car.)