How many times have you said something along the lines of “My anxiety was so bad this weekend.” Or do you ever say to yourself, “I am so anxious.” or “I am an anxious person.”? If so, let’s look at the identity that comes along with that. Everything that follows the words ‘I AM’ is an affirmation. If you affirm this to yourself on a regular basis, your mind is going to believe this is a who you are and it’s going to become you. It will be a part of your self-identity.
That’s not to say that you don’t have strong feelings of anxiety, it may be a part of your everyday life, which is a lot for other people, but it’s not WHO you are. We must first start to tackle the self-identity side of anxiety. Begin to recognise if you’re saying to yourself, “I am anxious” or “I am someone who struggles with..” or “My anxiety is..”, as it becomes an ownership over that anxiety.
Here are 8 powerful affirmations you can begin to practice should you struggle with anxiety and also have a habit of calling it ‘My anxiety’: “I am safe and in control.” If you start to feel anxious especially in these trying times, whether that’s on public transport, when you’re dropping kids off of school, at work, when you wake up, whatever that situation is for you, repeat to yourself, “I am safe and in control”. One of your basic needs as a human is to feel safe. If you don’t feel safe, that’s when you tend to go into fight, flight and freeze mode. Anxiety is very different for everyone but feeling unsafe can trigger anxiety. So just reaffirming to yourself, “I am safe and in control.”, “I’ve got this.” instantly begins to put you back in the driver’s seat, making you in control of your thoughts and feelings. “I am not my thoughts” or “I am not my feelings.” Some people recognise the thoughts first and some recognise the feelings first—see which one of these resonates with you. I AM NOT is recognising that it’s what you’re thinking and feeling, but it is not a part of your identity or who you are. “I am able to breathe through this”. Just notice as you say the word breathe, it tends to give you a feeling of instant relief. It is a very calm statement to say to yourself. Follow it with some calming breaths. “This feeling is temporary”. Knowing that just because you woke up with anxiety, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be anxious all day. If you get triggered and you feel anxious, it links to all your thoughts, your feelings, your behaviour. This is why, as soon as you get those thoughts and feelings of anxiety, replace those thoughts and feelings with “This feeling is temporary”, it will reassure you that you’re in control and it shall pass soon.
“It’s okay for me to speak up for myself”. I personally used to struggle with speaking my truth, I would say yes to the things that I did want to do, and no to the things that I wanted to do, but didn’t have the confidence to. Affirming that it’s okay and it’s safe for you to speak up for yourself is going to give you the confidence to begin to speak up and lessen any anxious feelings that came with not saying what you want to say. “I do not have to prove myself to anyone.” A very common thing that comes with my clients and the Academy members is the fear of being judged and comparison to others—these are paralyzing and are very strong triggers for anxiety. By saying to yourself, “I do not have to prove myself to anyone”, whether that’s on social media, your workplace, your partner, and just affirming yourself that you ARE good enough as you are, you’ll notice the shift within you when you say it. “I am becoming more calm and relaxed.” If you find yourself in a heightened state of anxiety, start by using “I am becoming” statements. Example is “I am becoming more calm and relaxed.” Notice it is different to “I am calm and relaxed.” Let’s be honest, if you’re in a heightened state of anxiety and you’re telling yourself that you are calm and relaxed, your mind may think “well actually I am not!”. So if you start to say to yourself, “I am becoming more calm and relaxed.”, or “I am becoming able to release this.”, or “I am becoming more confident to speak up for myself”, or “I am becoming more in control of my thoughts.”, you are acknowledging how you’re feeling, BUT it is changing. There’s hope. One of the things that keeps people stuck in depression and anxiety is the feeling of not having hope. Telling yourself “I am becoming” embeds a sense of hope that slowly but surely, you’re becoming more calm and relaxed. “It’s only a thought and a thought can be changed.” You cannot have two thoughts or emotions simultaneously. If you’re saying to yourself, “It’s just a thought” you are recognising it for it is. It is not YOU, it’s a thought you are having. Since having my twin babies, the thoughts that comes into my mind can trigger anxiety. “What if something happens to them? What if something happens to me?” As a coach, I’m super aware of my thoughts, but dark thoughts come. We are all human. Yes, they very quickly go, but that is because I use this, and the other affirmations often. When you get factual and quite realistic with what your mind is actually doing, it can help empower you to know that a thought is a thought, and it can be changed if you choose to.
You have the power to change your thoughts, recognise them for what they are and remember that no matter how you’re feeling, you have the inner strength to call upon to shift your focus and thoughts onto something more positive and empowering. Take the 8 affirmations from above and embrace them as a part of your new way of thinking.