PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — With over 3.5 million Instagram posts related to positive affirmations, it is clear that the practice is trending, but does it actually work?
“The power of words is incredible,” said Katie Neidetcher, a local Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. “That goes for positive things and negative too, right?”
Neidetcher recently opened Full Circle Counseling and Wellness in Peoria after relocating from its Washington location.
“You do believe what you tell yourself. I think words are important; it’s the way you feed your mind,” Neidetcher said.
Neidetcher said an affirmation can be as simple as telling yourself “I am worthy,” even when you do not believe it.
“Depending on the person’s personality, you can go super deep into it or you can keep it casual as in self-talk affirmations,” said Heather Capperrune, local mindfulness and yoga teacher.
Capperrune said she used the affirmation “I am loved” to help her during hard moments in her life.
“A couple years ago, there was something personal that I was really working on, persona growth, and I said the same affirmation every day for 18 months and it worked,” Capperrune said. “It was something I had to re-wire my brain to believe about myself.”
Neidetcher said that research finds affirmations light up the reward center of the brain.
“There’s actually research that is not new — 2015 — that shows those kinds of affirmations on an MRI light up the same areas that other positive experiences do, like reward center, so like eating your favorite meal or winning a prize,” Neidetcher said. “The affirmations light up those same sections of your brain.”
Whether it is chanting or making your self-talk more positive, both Neidetcher and Capperrune said affirmations can have long-term effects.
“I always say ‘if you think of what you said to yourself yesterday, or the day before, does that support the person that you’d like yourself to be in five or 10 years?’” Capperrune said.
A 2015 scientific journal reported self-affirmed individuals to have a broader sense of self and feel less threatened by their environments.