At our August community meeting, BIST programs and services coordinator Kat Powell taught us about positive affirmations. After her talk, we made affirmation baskets – creating beautiful places to put our positive affirmations in and read when we need to.
Positive affirmations stem from a psychological theory which became popular in the late 1980s, coined by Claude Steele. Affirmations can be negative or positive, and it’s important to work on positive self-affirmations as a way to help ourselves and believe in ourselves. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, self-affirmation is:
The recognition and assertion of the existence and value of one’s individual self.
Negative affirmations, such as thinking ‘I’m no good at this’, are easy. How many times a day do you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, or self-critiquing? Negative affirmations erode at our self-esteem and happiness over time.
We generate many affirmations throughout the day, and when we doubt ourselves, the negative affirmations can cancel out whatever positive affirmations we have. This is why it’s important to develop your positive self-talk, think of it like building muscle, so that you’re strong enough emotionally for when you need it the most.
To make our baskets, Kat brought some samples of positive affirmations she had found online. BIST members chose which ones suited them, and then decorated plastic baskets to hold their affirmations.
Most people used bright coloured tissue paper to decorate. You can find many examples of positive affirmations online, including these two sites for people living with brain injury and their families / caregivers:
There are also many examples of creating affirmation jars online – they range from the super-simple, to the very complex – for the more artistically inclined: