Raise your hand if you’ve heard about affirmations for health. Many of us are familiar with the term affirmations, either from self-help guides, influencers, or even mental health professionals.
They are short phrases that you repeat, either aloud or in your head, to affirm a positive trait or behavior about yourself. With practice, affirmations help build confidence to overcome self-doubt and negative thoughts.
Of course, affirmations for health seem deceptively simple and perhaps too good to be true. How can repeating a phrase change your mindset or even your health?
The good news is that there is a decent amount of scientific evidence to support the health benefits of affirmations. Research has shown that affirmations can increase feelings of self-worth by strengthening our positive opinion of ourselves (1). They can also boost confidence, making it more likely that we can then achieve our health goals.
Ready to start using affirmations for health? Below you’ll find the complete guide to affirmations for exercise, health, sleep, healthy eating, self-worth, and more! We’ll also discuss how to use self-affirming phrases effectively to help maximize their benefits.
Table of Contents
What Are Affirmations?
Affirmations are a simple yet powerful concept. They are short, positive phrases that you repeat regularly to combat negative thoughts and visualize success.
Additionally, affirmations are easy to start practicing. All you need to do is pick a positive phrase that is meaningful to you and repeat it consistently.
With practice, affirmations can help improve your outlook on life, boost self-esteem, and increase motivation for change. They are also helpful for challenging those negative thoughts that your brain plays on repeat. You know, like that time you replied, “you too” after the waiter said, “enjoy your meal,” and you’ve thought about it every day since then.
Plus, affirmations have potential health benefits, including lower stress, higher self-esteem, and greater resiliency when faced with challenges.
How Do They Work?
Essentially, affirmations work by rewiring the brain. Our brains are really good at recognizing and creating patterns. These patterns then help us efficiently navigate the world around us.
So, how exactly can self-affirming change our view of the world? Start by imagining that you are walking through a forest. At first, this hike is strenuous, and you are fighting through branches and overgrowth with each step. Now imagine that you walk this same route every day.
Eventually, you’ll clear a path, and the more you walk on it, the easier the trail becomes. Pretty soon, you’ll only want to take this well-worn route since trekking through the dense forest is exhausting. This is similar to what our brains do. Our brains create neural pathways that are easy to travel, like those trails in the woods.
When we regularly have negative thoughts about ourselves or our health, the brain can become wired to consistently follow those negative thought patterns. Some of these pathways can be so well-traveled that we may begin to accept negative and rigid thoughts about ourselves as a fact.
However, we can create new, positive pathways for our brains using affirmations. By replacing repetitive, negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll begin to develop new neural patterns and teach your mind to think differently.
An affirmation is a starting point for change- it’s creating a new path for us to travel. While positive affirmations for health are not causing change, they open the door for us to make changes. To put it simply, visualizing and planning for success makes it more likely that you will achieve your goals and view yourself as successful.
The Science Behind Affirmations
So is this based on science, or is it just wishful thinking? The good news is that there is scientific evidence to support the use of affirmations and positive thoughts.
Research has shown that affirmations can change the brain, especially when those positive affirmations are related to our core values (i.e., the fundamental beliefs that guide our lives).
MRI evidence suggests that specific neural pathways increase when people practice positive self-affirmations. In particular, the part of the brain involved in positive valuation and self-perception becomes more active when we affirm our core values (1).
All this to say that using positive affirmations can change how you think. Furthermore, these changes to our brain may result in several health benefits, including higher self-esteem and lower stress. This is because affirmations alter how we process and act on information about ourselves and our health.
Benefits of Positive Affirmations
Some of the potential benefits of positive affirmations include:
- Higher self-esteem in adolescents and adults (2, 3).
- Increase in physical activity- Self-affirmations have been used in interventions that led people to exercise more (4).
- Decreased levels of health-deteriorating stress (5).
- Greater academic achievement- One study found that self-affirmations were linked to higher academic achievement in college students who felt left out at school (6).
- Greater resiliency- A stronger sense of self can help us better adapt when faced with adversity, meaning you are more likely to overcome a challenge when you believe in yourself (7).
- Increased motivation to change- A research study found that participants who practiced affirmations were less likely to dismiss harmful health messages and were more likely to change for the better (8). So while affirmations don’t create change, they can help motivate us to make healthy choices.
100+ Affirmations for Health
Below you’ll find over 100 affirmations for a healthy body and mind. These positive affirmations can help you on your health journey, whether it’s improving your health, building an enjoyable exercise routine, or focusing on healthy eating. Pick a few phrases that resonate with you and start including them in your daily routine. Or continue reading to learn how to make your own affirmations for health.
Affirmations for a Healthy Body
- I’m in charge of my health
- I am healthy and whole
- I have everything that I need in this body
- My body is amazing at healing itself
- I make time to care for and tend to my health
- I will advocate for my health
- My health is a gift, and I am grateful
- My illness does not define me
- I am the expert when it comes to my health and my body
- I am in awe of all the things that my body can do
- My body is more than the sum of its parts
- I am the picture of good health
- My body is capable of healing
- I am making positive progress
- I am stronger than my chronic pain
- I am getting better every day
- I am prioritizing my physical and mental well-being
Affirmations for Exercise
We all know that exercise is key to longevity and living a healthy life. However, it can be easy to talk ourselves out of exercise, whether it’s telling ourselves that we don’t have time or that we aren’t strong enough. It’s amazing what our minds can do!
The good news is that we can also talk ourselves into exercise.
Try one of these affirmations for exercise the next time you need a boost at the gym or are looking to motivate yourself to take that run.
- I keep myself in good health with regular activity
- I am capable of completing this workout
- I am strong
- I will make time for my workouts because they are a priority
- My body deserves to move in a positive and joyful way
- I feel better and have more energy after my workout
- I respect my limitations and am grateful for my capabilities
- I can fit exercise into my schedule
- Exercise is a form of stress relief
- Being active helps me sleep better
- Being active helps me focus at work
- I will beat my personal best today
- I am active and alive
- I have abundant amounts of energy for this workout
- I am determined to reach my goals
Affirmations for Healthy Eating
- My body knows what it needs
- This food will nourish every cell in my body
- I enjoy eating nutritious foods
- I have found balance in what I eat
- I eat well and make smart choices
- I feel excited when I try new recipes
- I am an adventurous eater and like trying new things
- I know what foods work best for my body
- I honor my body by feeding it what it needs
- I have fun planning healthy meals
- I am an excellent role model for my family
- I am not a good or bad person based on the foods that I eat
- The foods that I eat do not define me as a person, and I can eat the foods that I like without feeling guilty
- I am deserving of nutritious foods
- There is no right or wrong way to eat
Affirmations for Sleep
Can self-affirming help with getting a better night’s rest? The science behind affirmations for sleep is less clear-cut. However, many of us lose sleep due to stress and ruminating thoughts. Affirmations have been shown to reduce anxiety and negative thinking, potentially leading to better sleep.
Additionally, sometimes our thoughts can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. For example, if we tell ourselves that we aren’t going to sleep well because we have a big day tomorrow, we likely won’t sleep well. Affirming phrases can reframe these types of thoughts.
Try these affirmations for sleep to help promote a good night’s rest:
- I am a good sleeper
- I have abundant energy after a good night’s sleep
- I choose to go to bed on time because I want to be the best version of myself
- Tomorrow I will create a wonderful world for myself; Tonight, I sleep
- I am calm and content as I drift off to sleep
- I wake up recharged and refreshed
- I get plenty of sleep each night
- I am the best version of myself when I am well rested
- I am proud of the day that I had
- Tomorrow will be a good day
- I am at peace with my thoughts
- I will not let these thoughts impact my sleep
- Tonight I will sleep, and tomorrow I will conquer
- Today was another successful day
- My mind is calm
Affirmations for Self-Worth
- I am wiser than I was yesterday
- I learn from my failures, and they do not define me
- I love the person that I am
- I am my own best friend, and I choose to treat myself with the kindness of a friend
- I am stronger than my self-doubt
- I will forgive myself for my past mistakes
- I am strong enough to move forward from this
- I am unique in so many ways
- I am already the best version of myself
- I believe in myself and my abilities
- I currently feel proud
- I am a person of worth and value
- I was born to do great things
- I set high standards for myself because I know that I can achieve them
Affirmations for Body Image
- My body reflects what an extraordinary and unique person I am
- I am worthy of love, no matter my flaws
- I am grateful for all that my body does
- I accept myself
- My body is perfect
- I have everything that I need in this body
- I am confident
- My body is amazing and capable of far more than I realize
- I treat my body with the kindness and respect that it deserves
- I like the person that I see in the mirror
- I deserve to see myself and my body as amazing
- I am radiant, and it shows
- I love myself exactly how I am
How to Make Your Own Affirmations
- Make them personal- Start your affirmations with “I” or “my.” They should be about yourself and your positive traits or behaviors.
- Keep it positive- Try to avoid using words like “not” or “don’t.” Our subconscious is good at picking up on negative undertones. For example, “I will not be late” versus “I will be on time.” Both say the same thing, but the latter phrase is much more positive.
- Set them in the present- Affirmations should be in the present tense as if they are happening now.
- Add an emotion- The most powerful affirmations include emotions. This is because things that play on our emotions or feelings tend to be more influential. To make your affirmations more powerful, use words that evocate feelings, such as “I am excited…” or “I am happy…”
- Make your affirmations short and specific- Short phrases are easier to remember, and specific affirming words help paint a clear mental picture.
- Make it achievable (and believable) – Affirmations tend to be the most beneficial when focusing on tangible traits or realistic goals. If you don’t believe your statement, you’re less likely to take serious action to help you succeed. For example, telling yourself that you’re the best might not ring true at this moment. Instead, pick phrases that feel authentic or doable, such as “I’m better every day” or “I commit to doing my best.”
- Practice your affirmations daily
How Often Should You Practice?
So, how many affirmations per day are a good amount? There is no concrete rule about how many affirmations you should say in a day. Some professionals suggest repeating your affirmation up to 3 to 5 times per day to help reinforce positive thinking (9).
As a starting point, some people may find it easiest to begin with 3-5 minutes daily or twice daily. Additionally, dedicating a specific time of day to practice might be helpful. For example, repeating each phrase after you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night.
Once you’ve built the habit of self-affirming, try making it part of your daily routine.
Below, you’ll find lists of affirmations for health and wellness to help you get started. When choosing a phrase, keep in mind that the best self-affirmations are those that align with your personal goals and core values.
When to Seek Additional Support
Affirmations for health and wellness are powerful tools that can help us unlock our potential. However, affirmations are not the be-all and end-all of mental health.
Negative thoughts can hold us back, but they can also signify a bigger or deep-rooted issue. Additionally, unhelpful thought patterns can be related to mental health concerns, such as depression or anxiety. In this case, it’s best to tackle these thoughts with the help of a professional.
A therapist can help you identify underlying causes of negative thoughts and explore other coping strategies that you might use in conjunction with affirmations for health.
It’s never a bad idea to seek support from a mental health professional, especially if your thoughts or emotions interfere with your daily life.
Putting It All Together
Affirmations are positive statements that can help boost motivation, override negative thoughts, and improve health.
Affirmations work by rewiring the brain, particularly the part of the brain that is involved with self-perception.
To start using affirmations for health, begin by picking a few positive phrases that align with your goals for personal growth. Or even try creating your own positive affirmations. These phrases will be most effective if they are specific and meaningful to you. Then, set aside time to repeat and reflect on your health affirmations on a daily basis.
What affirmations about health did you choose? Leave a comment below, and then don’t forget to share with your friends.