Affirmations Meaning

Affirmations Meaning

3 november 2021
Updated on 14 april 2023
Affirmations Meaning

Your thoughts determine a great deal of your actions, both positively and negatively. However, you’re not always aware of it, that’s why affirmations can be extremely powerful. They are short sentences that influence your conscious and subconscious mind. Positive affirmations help you to control your thoughts and to change your actions in a positive way.

Affirmations are more powerful when you can feel them, when you really believe in them and they penetrate deep into your (sub)conscious mind. In the Meditation Moments app you can find spoken affirmations accompanied by a great beat, that can help you along the way. Listen to all the powerful affirmations for love, letting go, self-worth, kindness and creativity!

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What are affirmations? Meaning and background

Usually we don’t think about why we do certain things. A large part of our actions, thoughts and beliefs are not consciously determined by us, but by our subconscious.

Our subconscious has been programmed by our upbringing, past experiences and other life events that have made an impression.

As a result, we maintain certain behaviors, we react in a certain way and we may have limiting beliefs.


Imagine that during your childhood you were told time and time again that you’re not very bright. This may have had such an impression on you that you actually started to believe it. Now you find yourself in situations where you say to yourself (subconsciously) 'I'm not smart enough to do that'. This can prevent you from fully committing to something or perhaps not even starting at all!

Meanwhile, the subconscious belief 'I am not smart enough' may have become a conscious belief. Subsequently, this belief is triggered in every situation that requires your knowledge or insight. And when you make a mistake your feelings are confirmed. ‘I told you so. I’m not smart enough at all’.

It is difficult to change something you believe in, especially if it is so deeply rooted that you’re not even aware of it or if you’ve started to believe that it is true. But it can be done. That's where affirmations come in.

affirmations meaning.jpeg

Affirmations meaning

What does affirmations mean? Actually, everything we say or think is an affirmation. But the affirmations discussed in this article are the ones you use to challenge your thinking.

These affirmations are short, powerful, positive phrases that find their power in repetition. You've probably used them many times before. In fact, the following phrases are also affirmations:

  • "I'm just doing my best"
  • "I can do this, I'm going for it"
  • "I'm going to do this"

Oxford affirmations meaning

What is the literal meaning of 'affirmation'?

If you type ‘affirmations meaning’ into Google you will get the dictionary definitions. According to the Oxford English Dictionary affirmations meaning is: ‘the action or process of affirming something’ and ‘emotional support or encouragement’. This means that you use affirmations to ‘affirm’ something and it has to do with "emotional support or encouragement".

So an affirmation is a positive confirmation, a positive encouragement. You can also think of it as a kind of mantra. It's a kind of statement that, if repeated often enough, gets validated in your mind.

By saying these positive phrases out loud or in your mind, you plant them in the subconscious part of your brain. If you repeat the affirmation often enough, it eventually becomes part of you and you actually start to believe in it.

And because so many of your actions and beliefs are determined by your subconscious, you end up thinking and acting differently. This is how you shift your focus from negativity and ‘things that can go wrong’ to positivity and power.

How affirmations work

Everything starts with a thought. So if you want to change something, like your actions or emotions, you need to change your thoughts.

The National Science Foundation conducted research on thoughts. It showed that we have between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts a day. And you know what was striking? The study showed that 80% of all those thoughts was negative. In addition, 95% of all thoughts were exactly the same as the day before.

So that means two things:

  1. We think mostly negative thoughts.
  2. We basically have the same thoughts as we did yesterday.

It also means that if you change the way you think today, you can also change the way you think in the future.

Your thoughts are like a magnet. Every thought takes place on a certain wavelength and is sent out into theuniverse. This is why negative thoughts are so ‘dangerous’. If you put fear, doubt and uncertainty out there, that is what you will get back.

The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of the thoughts and emotions you experience daily. Do you want more success, happiness or love in your life? Then you need to control your thoughts and emotions.

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Why affirmations work

Affirmations can steer that subconscious stream of thoughts in a positive direction. And that is what you want. Because all those negative thoughts have a very limiting effect.

Maybe you recognize this too. How many times have you said one of the following sentences to yourself?

  • "I'll never succeed in mastering this."
  • "I'm not good enough at all."
  • "Oh no, I can't do that at all."
  • “I'm terrible at public speaking.”
  • “I look like shit today."

No wonder we often find it difficult to get things done! So affirmations help you to stop that negative (and automatic) stream of thoughts and give it a positive spin instead.

For example, if you keep telling yourself that you're not good at public speaking, then you won’t be good at it. As soon as you have to speak you get nervous, you start having doubts, you start seeing obstacles and it seems like no one in the room is interested. And all those questions and comments at the end... they probably thought your speech didn't make any sense.

But if you work with affirmations for self-confidence and make it clear to yourself that you are very good at public speaking, you will dare to do more. For example, if you are asked to give a presentation at work, you are more likely to think to yourself: ‘Okay, I can do that.’

You go out there and just do it, you’re less nervous and the people in the room seem to listen attentively. And the remarks? They are basically critical feedback from which you can learn so you will give even better presentations in the future.

Do you feel the difference?

Why are affirmations so powerful?

Does this mean that you should always control your thoughts and emotions? No. Fortunately, you don't have to. Emotions are healthy and can sometimes (feel like) they come out of nowhere. You can’t always control your emotions nor can you control the thoughts that arise from them.

It is okay to feel bad from time to time, to be com-plete-ly done with something or to be a bit moody. As long as you’re not stuck in your emotions. You do have control over which emotions dominate and thus control your life.

Other people, situations or events can’t make you happy, angry or anxious. Neither can lack of money, time or other resources. The quality of your life does not depend on the quality of your circumstances.

You are always in control of your own happiness.

For example, you may feel anxious about something, but it is your choice to stay anxious. Are you going to remain stuck in fear or are you going to make the switch to love and trust? You can make that switch by using affirmations.

Are affirmations scientifically proven?

Are affirmations scientifically proven? Yes, affirmations are scientifically proven.

You have just read that everything you think will eventually become your reality. If you tell yourself often enough that you can't do something, your mind goes blank and eventually you won't be able to do it. But if you say: 'I can do this, I will succeed', you see many more possibilities and eventually you will succeed.

Your brain also changes when you start thinking this way. This is called neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to adapt on the basis of experiences.

The brain is like plastic. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge has written many academic papers on this topic and has introduced the concept of neuroplasticity to a wider audience.

But what does that mean, neuroplasticity? Neuroplasticity means that the brain can change. It is affected by what we perceive sensually, but also by all our actions, thoughts and visualizations.

Brain cells die on a daily basis, this is a very normal process, and it means that every day your brain is busy making new connections between brain cells (neurons). So the brain is constantly renewing its brain cells.

Your brain can break old connections and make new connections. But you have to stimulate this (in a positive way). If you consciously repeat positive thoughts, you end up setting your brain in motion in the way you choose. What you repeat often enough, goes on to create new connections.


What do we use affirmations for?

What do we use affirmations for? You can use affirmations for different purposes and in every part of your life. To improve your health, experience more love (for yourself and for others), experience more success, gain self-confidence, be more positive in life, feel more grateful...

You can also add yourself to the list, because you can use affirmations for anything! However, it always relates to you, how you feel, how you are going to be in life and what your thought patterns and actions are.

So you cannot use affirmations to make someone else happy or change someone else. But you can change the way you live your life and deal with others, so indirectly you can influence your environment.

Do affirmations work for manifestations?

You can use affirmations to obtain a more positive mindset as well as to manifest things in your life. When you start thinking in a different way, you start seeing more synchronicity (the phenomenon that events seem to be connected), people cross your path, and you start seeing opportunities.

If you start believing that something in the future will become reality, eventually there will come a day when it actually does happen. Affirmations are consciously being used for manifestation.


You may have heard that you can 'generate' your own laugh. When you’re not feeling so well, start laughing out loud with a big, wide smile. At first this may feel very awkward, but after a few seconds your fake laugh turns into a genuine laugh and eventually you are really laughing. Fake it till you make it.

Of course, 'laughing' is not an affirmation, but affirmations work in the same way. If you keep telling yourself that you are not good enough and will never find a job that suits you, you won’t succeed. All your energy is radiating, ‘I'm not good enough and I'm never going to find a job that suits me’.

But if you keep telling yourself that you are smart, intellectual and fun and are going to find a job, you will eventually find that job. The energy and signals you send will help you attract that job. That’s how the universe works.

Do affirmations always work?

Do affirmations always work? No, affirmations do not always work. It is not simply a matter of repeating a string of words. You can keep repeating that you are intensely happy, but if deep down inside you are miserable, it is totally useless.

It only works when you use affirmations that deeply resonate with you (optie: penetrate directly into your core). If you’re not happy with yourself at all, but want to feel happier, it might not work to use an affirmation like ‘I love myself’. You’re better off using an affirmation like: ‘I am able to love myself’ or ‘I feel a little better every day’.

So use an affirmation that is close to you. You have to be able to feel it and be sure that the affirmation is achievable. Otherwise, the affirmations will not work.

Affirmations help you put yourself in a positive and powerful state. How you feel directly affects the meaning you give to situations and how you act. And that, in turn, affects how your life turns out.

Tony Robbins calls powerful affirmations 'incantations':

"Incantations are about embodying the meaning behind the words, which is why they are so powerful. With incantations, not only are you speaking words of empowerment, you are using your body and your voice. You are changing your physiology and changing your state, leading to a different and more positive outlook and approach to each day."

So what he's really saying: affirmations that sound positive but are just sentences that you ‘say out loud’, will not have a great transformative effect.

Affirmations only work if you truly believe in them and start feeling them. You have to feel their meaning in your body, heart and soul.

Why are my affirmations not working?

Sometimes you may wonder: ‘why are my affirmations not working?’ An affirmation is not a magic pill. Repeating an affirmation can help you look and feel differently in a certain situation.

Take the following affirmation as an example: 'I love my body and treat it with love'.

This affirmation can help you gain a better self-image and put the negative thoughts you may have when you look at yourself on pause.

Perhaps you will be encouraged to take better care of yourself by cooking healthy meals, taking more self-care moments, or using a luxurious body lotion. Eventually, this may help you to start looking at your body in a different way.

Is that the effect affirmations have? Yes, partly. The other part is you consciously acting upon it and taking action. An affirmation offers a good starting point, but you also have to take action.

Is an affirmation all you need to manifest something? No. An affirmation alone is not enough, you also need to start acting accordingly.

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How to formulate affirmations?

Which affirmations are good? Good affirmations are sentences that give you strength, self-confidence, positivity, and anything else you would like to experience. You need to feel your affirmations before you start using them.

There are many affirmations out there, but not all of them may resonate with you. What works for someone else might not work for you. It is important to use affirmations that feel powerful to you.

What you can do is formulate your own affirmations. First, you need to ask yourself why you want to use affirmations. What areas of your life would you like to change?

What are you currently struggling with, what would you like to change or manifest? Does it have to do with your health? Love? Your self-confidence? Your work?

The affirmation can relate to you as a person (such as character, traits) or to your environment (such as housing, relationships, work). Maybe you want to have a real connection with your friends, find a very satisfying job, or feel more confident.

In other words, you can use affirmations for anything. Start with that part of your life that needs change, the part that is holding you back from living a positive, powerful and loving life.

The 3 P's of affirmations

If you know what to use the affirmations for, you can start formulating your own personal affirmations. When formulating affirmations, keep in mind the following 3 P's of affirmations:


'Don't think of pink elephants'. If someone says this to you, chances are you will do the exact opposite. Affirmations work the same way. Do not use 'not' when formulating your affirmations. If you say: ‘I don't want to be insecure’ you put the emphasis on ‘being insecure’. So always make your affirmations positive. 'I am confident' is much more powerful.

Present tense

It is also important to keep your affirmations in the present tense. Speak your affirmations as if they are already happening. If you do this you will believe that the statements are true right now and they will resonate more deeply with you.


Use affirmations with feeling. You must truly believe in them and take ownership. It only works with words and phrases that you would use in other situations as well. So put affirmations in your own words, so that they really become yours.

I am affirmations

Many affirmations begin with the words ‘I am’, implying that what comes after these words is already reality:

  • I am enough...
  • I am strong...
  • I am unique...
  • I am grateful...
  • I am blessed...

This corresponds to the second P: Present Tense and is a way to fool your mind a little bit. You are saying that something is already the way you want it to be, so eventually you believe in it and it will become reality.

What are the best affirmations? Examples of affirmations

There are countless affirmations that you can use to change your life for the better. Some examples of affirmations for self-love, love, healing, health, success, money, self-confidence, fear, gratitude and manifesting are listed below.

Affirmations for self-love

Being kind to yourself. Having faith in your own strengths, talents and qualities. Taking good care of yourself, your body and mind. It is so incredibly important! Only if you love yourself can you give love to others. The more you love yourself, the more love you can give.

Examples of affirmations for self-love:

  • I cherish the love within myself and share it with others.
  • I love myself.
  • I am proud of the things I have accomplished.
  • I love what I see when I look in the mirror.
  • I treat my body with love.

Affirmations for love

Love is always present, everywhere you go. But sometimes love is hard to find. Affirmations for love help you to regain happiness and attract (more) love into your life.

Examples of affirmations for love:

  • I am surrounded by love.
  • I deserve love and affection.
  • I only attract healthy relationships.
  • I am lovable.
  • I am worthy of love.

Affirmations for healing

You can heal your own life. You can transform negative energy into positive energy and heal your own body and mind. Affirmations for healing can help you heal!

Examples of affirmations for healing:

  • I am in the process of taking care of my mental health.
  • I am boosting my mental health each and every day.
  • I go within and connect with that part of myself that knows how to heal.
  • My happy thoughts help create my healthy body.
  • I am choosing to focus on my mental wellbeing.

Affirmations for health

Use positive affirmations to focus your mind on health rather than disease. To focus on a body that is energetic, strong and healthy.

Examples of affirmations for health:

  • My body is always doing its best to create perfect health.
  • I love myself and I am perfectly healthy.
  • Every day, in every way, I am getting healthier and healthier and feeling better and better.
  • Good health is my birthright. I bless my body daily and take good care of it.
  • Every day is full of hope, happiness and health.

Affirmations for success

Success is a state of mind. Hard work is not enough to become successful; you also need a strong mindset. Believe in yourself!

Examples of affirmations for success:

  • All my actions are aimed at achieving my goals. I am achieving one goal after the other.
  • The power is within me. I learn from the past, live in the present and plan for the future.
  • Success is my birthright and I will achieve it.
  • Obstacles cannot stop me. I use my will to find the way.
  • I have everything I need to overcome obstacles.
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Affirmations for money

The money taboo still lingers in the 21st century. Some people think that making money is 'bad' or 'dirty'. But if this is how you view money, you will never succeed at creating some financial space in your life. You can use affirmations to adopt a positive money mindset and manage your money in a more satisfying way.

Examples of affirmations for money:

  • I always have enough money.
  • Money flows easily into my life.
  • I attract money naturally.
  • I accept financial success.
  • I am worthy of money.

Affirmations for confidence

Self-confidence helps to achieve more in life. Are there times when it’s difficult to keep your self-confidence? To believe that you are powerful and able to achieve what you want? Affirmations for confidence can help

Examples of affirmations for confidence:

  • I believe in myself.
  • I am confident in my abilities.
  • My power is unlimited.
  • I am enough.
  • I let go of my limited beliefs and choose to trust myself.

Affirmations for anxiety

Anxiety can be paralyzing. It can get in the way of being able to live life fully, to face challenges and discover new things. Anxiety can cause stress and it’s just bad for your health. Use affirmations for anxiety and turn fear into confidence

Examples of affirmations for anxiety:

  • Every breath I inhale calms me down and every breath I exhale takes away my tension.
  • All is well in my world and I am safe.
  • I have power over my emotions and face every situation on my terms.
  • I am in control of my life.
  • I choose to feel calm.

Affirmations for gratitude

Gratitude is very powerful. When you feel gratitude, there is no room for fear, negativity, anger or jealousy. Try to make gratitude a part of every day. Look at all you have accomplished, nurture the friendships you have, notice the beauty that surrounds you. There is always something to be grateful for!

Examples of affirmations for gratitude:

  • I am grateful for all that I have.
  • I am grateful to be alive.
  • I am grateful for my family.
  • I am grateful for the little things in life that bring me joy.
  • I am grateful to be myself.

Affirmations for manifestations

You can use affirmations to manifest things in your life. What you send out into the universe in a powerful, positive way eventually comes back to you. In this sense, you are like a magnet and able to send small messages out into the universe.

Examples of affirmations for manifestations:

  • The universe always has my back.
  • I am worthy enough to manifest my desires.
  • Every day I am moving towards my best life.
  • I trust the universe. It gives me exactly what I need at exactly the right time.
  • Abundance is my birthright.

How to use affirmations

You can use affirmations in any situation. For example, to:

  • increase your self-confidence;
  • be more productive at work;
  • experience more self-love;
  • change bad habits;
  • have more control over negative emotions.

In addition, you can use affirmations whenever you want. Affirmations can be repeated at any time of the day. When you're in the shower, on your bike or lying in bed.

However, if you’re new to the practice of affirmations, it may help to schedule a set time to repeat your affirmations. Implement affirmations into your daily routine so that eventually they become a habit. Create a pleasant affirmations morning and make affirmations part of your morning routine.

Try the powerful affirmations in the Meditation Moments app.
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Affirmations morning

If you want to start your morning on a powerful note, use an affirmations morning! In other words, use morning affirmations as soon as you wake up.

If you combine affirmations with other aspects of personal development, they will be more powerful. For example, make sure you have a pleasant morning routine, a ritual that you repeat every morning.

If you engage in positivity in the morning and set a good intention for the rest of the day, it actually determines how your day will go.

We've all gotten out of bed on the wrong side before. Maybe you overslept and had to start your day in a hurry. You probably felt stressed and that feeling lingered through the rest of the day.

When you have a productive, energetic morning, it can make your whole day better. A morning routine can help you on your way. Set the alarm half an hour or an hour earlier than you usually get up. Use this extra time to do the things you never have time for (but would love to do).

Think of: meditating, visualizing, yoga, exercising, reading, writing and of course using your affirmations.

Affirmation, visualization and meditation

Affirmations are even more effective when you pair them with other powerful techniques such as meditation and visualization. Meditation allows you to connect with your inner self and the universe so it’s perfect in combination with affirmations.

  • Sit or lie down and close your eyes.
  • Take a few deep breaths to relax.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Say your affirmation and at the same time try to visualize what you are saying.
  • If your affirmation is ‘I wake up every day with a big smile’, envision yourself with a big smile in the morning. Picture yourself waking up happy and getting out of bed.
  • Eventually you will feel the positivity.

Is it better to write or say affirmations?

There are several ways to engage in affirmations. In above-mentioned example about affirmations during meditation and visualization, the affirmations are repeated in your mind. But you can also:

  • Write them down
  • Say them out loud
  • List them in your mind

Whatever feels best for you! All three methods have an effect. When you read and recite affirmations, your subconscious listens to them. When you write your affirmations, you imprint them in your brain.


Do we need to say positive affirmations out loud?

Affirmations don't have to be said out loud. It is important to do it with full awareness, whatever method you choose. It doesn't help to read your affirmations and not really think about what you are reading.

We suggest writing your own affirmations and then reading them out loud or repeating them in your mind. This way you combine all the techniques and add more muscle to the affirmations. Say them with a passion and feeling, and use your body.

Look at yourself in the mirror. This is also called mirror work, a term introduced by Louise Hay. The mirror reflects back to you the feelings you have about yourself. It makes you immediately aware of where you are resisting and where you are flowing. 

Mirror work helps you to become much more aware of the words you use and the things you (subconsciously) say to yourself.

What are the benefits of listening to affirmations?

Another powerful way to use affirmations is by listening to them, so take some time in the morning and listen. Put on your headphones or use a speaker, turn on ‘affirmations’ and repeat them out loud. Let them touch your core! You can also listen to positive affirmations in the evening, so that you feel better in the morning.

In addition, you can use spoken affirmations any time of the day. Play them when you're taking a break at work, taking a shower, or driving your car.

According to a study by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, listening to affirmations helps to reduce stress, become aware of your daily thoughts and increase self-esteem. If you listen to affirmations and make a conscious choice to believe in them, you will start to make positive changes.

Affirmations app

Looking for an affirmations app to use with your daily affirmations? Meditation Moments is an affirmations app that has combined affirmations with powerful music.

The app includes tracks with affirmations for creativity, kindness, love, letting go and self-worth. The spoken affirmations in these tracks are accompanied by a great beat which will totally mesmerize you. You can also listen to the tracks while dancing or working out.

The tracks last from 4 up to 13 minutes, depending on how much time you have. This way you can easily engage in affirmations even when you don’t have that much time.

Try the powerful affirmations in the Meditation Moments app.
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How often should affirmations be repeated?

Eventually, you want the affirmations to go right into your nervous system so that they become a part of you. This can be achieved by lots of repetition.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Not by repeating your affirmations without feeling, like some kind of mandatory school assignment, but by really focusing on it!

Listening to and using affirmations requires regular practice in order to start changing the way you think and feel. You can absolutely do it!

Make a habit of putting on your headphones and listening to those powerful affirmations for a few minutes, stick a post-it to the bathroom mirror or set a handy reminder on your cell phone. Over time, it will become second nature!

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