Life is full of challenges having its cycle of ups and downs. While it is easy to smile and enjoy moments of happiness, the real challenge comes in times of sorrow. How we take a view of, and face difficulties of life is a subject of matter of academic research for a long time. There have been spiritual and social theories to dissect this aspect of life.
One such psychological framework has been that of “self-affirmation” and “positive affirmation”. This theory has given rise to various practical insights as to how to face challenges of life. The theory set up by Claude Steele, the American psychologist in late 1980s postulates that human beings have tendency to set up internal defensive mechanism against the adversities of life. Whenever one faces negative emotions, individuals have an automatic tendency to counter the same through positive thoughts & feelings about themselves.
This theory has further been expanded though the framework of positive affirmation. This encompasses certain positive statements that an individual can usually think / feel about himself / herself that promote positive outlook and sense of optimism. These self-affirmative statements are statements of positive feelings / actions and have the desired outcome of driving out negative emotions. These statements are therefore likely to evoke a strong likely positive effect on an individual’s behavior.
Positive affirmation statements for an individual are applicable for all ages though types of statements might vary. These also depend on physical / mental cognitive abilities of an individual. Sometimes people may not realize they are making such statements about themselves as it may be an internal feeling expressed through actions; stories of successful people who achieved despite their weak physical / mental conditions are an indirect testimony to such statements and their implementation in their own lives.
Applications for Elderly:
This positive affirmation concept is extremely important for an elderly person. At old age, negative emotions are commonplace; an individual increasingly becomes physically weak, mentally less active, socially more disconnected; he / she becomes aloof from active life and bereft of positive emotions. Negative emotions therefore take a precedence and assumes dominance. At this stage of life, positive affirmation statements can play significant role in removing effects of the negative emotions.
The seven (7) positive affirmative statements for an elderly can be:
1. I am strong and can live independently.
2. I am mentally fine and can deal with my own issues.
3. I am financially well-placed and can take care of my own needs.
4. I keep myself busy with my work and enjoy leisure time.
5. I am always connected with my family and friends.
6. I am always happy and keep others happy.
7. I am not afraid of any furfure impediments.
These affirmative statements can be a miracle in keeping an elderly fine and away from negative emotions taking over.
Benefits of Positive Affirmations:
There are several benefits of these positive affirmations on an individual. Major benefits can be in terms of developing:
1. Reinforcement of self-belief
2. Enhancement of self-confidence
3. Improvement in thinking / cognitive ability
4. High self esteem
5. An environment of positive thinking and optimism
The benefits can accrue only if an individual not only believes in them but also starts making a conscious effort to practice them diligently. Everyone is different; but constant self-driven exercises to practice these positive affirmation statements should make an impact after some time. Guided support by a “Life Coach” may help an individual to achieve the goals faster.
Some of the tips that might be of use in practicing positive-affirmation statements can be as under:
1. Writing them in a book
2. Reading them daily at least for 30 minutes
3. Reflecting on them daily for at least 30 minutes
4. Assessing benefits after every 3 months
5. Reinforcing the statements on a continued basis
Positive affirmation is one of the ways to imbibe healthy outlook towards life. However, too much importance may not be attached for its definitive impact. It might help in some degree. But at end of the day, it is self-determination of an individual that takes a person forward. An elderly must strongly believe that HE / SHE IS OK. This is the biggest positive affirmation belief. Then only he / she will be able to get the desired benefits out of the theory of self as well as positive affirmation.