Meditation and affirmations are two different practices that can be used to improve mental and emotional well-being. While both share apparent similarities and differences, they can be easily combined in one practice.
The main differences between meditation and affirmations are the process, the goal, and the duration. At the same time, the similarities include that both practices focus on the present moment and can be practiced anytime and anywhere.
If you are interested in learning more about these two practices and their differences and similarities, please stick with me for a little longer.
What are affirmations and meditation: an explanation
Affirmations are positive statements that are used to change negative thought patterns and beliefs. These statements are usually short and focused on specific areas of improvement. They are typically repeated out loud or silently to oneself, often on a daily basis. The idea behind affirmations is that by repeating positive statements, an individual can change their self-perception and beliefs, leading to improved mental well-being and confidence in the future.
Affirmations can be used in various areas of life, such as self-care, relationships, career, health and wellness, anger management, and spiritual growth. Every affirmation can be customized to suit personal needs and goals and can be used to overcome limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, and to achieve desired outcomes. Affirmations can be helpful in reprogramming the mind to focus on positive thoughts and to help achieve the desired state of mind.
There are different types of affirmations, but the common types include the following:
- Positive affirmations: these are statements that are phrased positively and are designed to help change negative thought patterns. For example, “I am capable and strong” or “I am worthy of love and happiness.”
- Personal affirmations: personal affirmations are tailored to an individual’s specific needs and goals. They can be used to address specific areas of concern, such as confidence or career success. An example could be, “I am an expert in this field, and my manager appreciates it, “or “I excel in my career because I am worth it.”
- Present tense affirmations: these types of affirmations are the most popular and for a good reason. Repeating present tense affirmations helps to re-write negative beliefs and boosts self-confidence. How? Because they are spoken in the present tense as if the desired outcome has already happened. For example, if you are looking for a dream job, instead of repeating: “I will be working as a sales manager, and I will be very successful,” your affirmation should sound, “I am working as a sales manager, and I am very successful.” Present tense affirmations are widely used in different practices, such as meditation or the Law of Attraction.
- Visual affirmations: visual affirmations, like visual meditation (explained in the next chapter below), are the most straightforward form of affirmations because it involves visualizing the desired outcome. Combined with any other type of affirmations, such as positive, present tense, or personal affirmations, can spike self-esteem and excel in a positive change.
How to use affirmations?
Incorporating affirmations into your life is easy. However, it’s crucial to choose affirmations that align with your personal goals and beliefs, repeat them regularly, use visualization, believe in them, and, most importantly, be patient.
- Choose affirmations that align with your goals and beliefs: the idea of using affirmations is to make a positive change; therefore, affirmations should be positive statements that align with your goals and beliefs. Itessentialant to create affirmations that resonate with you, that you can believe in and that are specific to the area of your life you want to improve.
- Repeat the affirmations regularly: for the best outcome, it is advised to repeat affirmations regularly, ideally at least once a day. For example, if you are an early bird, repeat your affirmations every morning as soon as you wake up. Alternatively, you can use affirmations in the evening before going to bed.
- Speak them aloud: repeating the affirmations aloud can be a powerful message to yourself, especially in front of the mirror. However, if you plan to use them early in the morning or just before going to bed (and if you share the room with others), repeating them silently to yourself will also have a positive influence.
- Use visualization: affirmations can be more powerful when combined with visualization (see below an explanation about “visualization meditation”). When you verbalize affirmations, try to visualize the outcome you want to achieve. Close your eyes and imagine yourself living the affirmation as if it has already happened.
- Believe in the affirmations: not having doubt or resistance to the affirmation you are repeating is very important. That’s why choosing or creating affirmations that are aligned with your dreams (first point above) is essential. If you feel the affirmation is not resonating with you since the beginning of practice, don’t hesitate to change it.
- Be patient: Changing thought patterns and beliefs takes time, and it’s important to be patient and persistent with the use of affirmations. And don’t forget that affirmations alone may not be enough to achieve your goals, and it may be necessary to take additional steps to achieve the desired outcome. For example, if you are looking for a dream job or partner, repeating the affirmations daily will not get it for you. You have to go out, meet people, apply for jobs, starting the conversation with people you meet.
What is meditation?
Meditation, on the other hand, is the practice of observing thoughts or feelings, even if they are negative, without any intention of changing the pattern. Different from affirmations, meditation asks the individual to allow the feelings to surface and observe them. Affirmations and meditation can be combined in one prolonged exercise, but they also can be practiced as separate methods.
Just like most practices, be it affirmations or hypnosis, meditation has different types. Let’s look at a few that are closest to affirmations:
- Loving-Kindness-Meditation: also known as Metta-Meditation, Loving-kindness meditation is a type of meditation that involves visualization and repetition of phrases. The practitioner visualizes either the person, community, or the entire world and sends love energy by repeating silently, “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe.” It is, however, advised to begin this meditation by using yourself first and then shifting your focus on other people in your life. You can also choose a person you have difficulties with and seek forgiveness or a family member you simply care about. Those who regularly practice loving kindness meditation are able to increase their capacity for love and forgiveness and better manage conflicts or anger. This type of meditation can be easily combined with affirmations. For example, when practicing Loving-Kindness-Meditation, the phrases can be adjusted by adding affirmations such as “I let go of worries,” “I forgive myself for…” and “I forgive you for….”.
- Mantra-Meditation: this type of meditation is known as a powerful meditation practice of quieting the mind by repeating sounds. The sounds are chanted, repeated silently in the mind, whispered, or spoken loudly in the Sanskrit language. It is believed that sounds we produce while chanting in the Sanskrit language create powerful vibrations. Differently from Loving Kindness Meditation, no visualization is involved in mantra meditation, but rather an observation of thoughts slowing down and drifting into a meditative state. This type of meditation as well can be combined with affirmations. For example, at the end of a chant (or listening to a chant), when the mind is calm(er), add personal affirmations. This could be “I am successful,” “I believe in my ability to….”, “I am an inspiration to others,” etc.
- Walking-Meditation: walking meditation is a form of movement and mindfulness meditation that involves walking and observing every movement we make. This could be lifting the leg, moving the leg, stepping on the stone and feeling it, moving the body, breathing in, exhaling, etc. This is a perfect type of meditation for people who have difficulty sitting still for a longer period. Combined with positive affirmations, walking meditation can be a powerful practice. For example, the next time you go for a walk in the forest (or park, beach, or any quiet place), focus on every step you take and repeat desired affirmations. If you are healing from an illness or recovering from an injury, with every breath you inhale, repeat the mantra: “I am healthy, I am strong, I am fully recovered.” If these affirmations sound too strong for your liking, adjust them to your personal preference.
- Visualization meditation: this is probably the easiest type of meditation to practice. Without knowing, the majority of us, if not all – daydream and visualize our plans. With properly incorporated breathing, chanting, and affirmations, this type of meditation can increase self-esteem, provide confidence, and improve relationships. For example, after mantra meditation, when the body and mind are relaxed, using visualization with affirmations can work as powerfully as the Law of Attraction.
From my own experience, I can share that not all affirmations and meditations will resonate with you. Take time to try different types of meditations, come back to the ones that you enjoyed, and incorporate affirmations that fit into your favorite practice. Find what works best for you and make it a regular.
Similarities and differences between meditation and affirmations
Now that we covered what meditation and affirmations are and how they can be combined together, the natural step further would be to discuss the similarities and differences between them both.
Similarities between meditation and affirmation:
- Both practices focus on the present moment: meditation encourages the individual to focus on the present moment and let go of thoughts about the past or future, while affirmations are typically short, positive statements that are repeated in the present tense.
- Both practices help to reduce stress and anxiety: meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing negative thoughts and emotions. Affirmations can also help to reduce stress and anxiety by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Both practices can improve self-esteem and self-confidence: by repeatedly affirming positive statements, you can change self-perception and build self-esteem and self-confidence. Meditation can also help to improve self-esteem and self-confidence by promoting self-awareness and self-acceptance.
- Both practices can improve the ability to focus: meditation can improve the ability to focus by training the mind to concentrate on the present moment, while affirmations can improve the ability to focus by training the mind to focus on positive thoughts.
- Both practices can be done anytime and anywhere: both practices do not require any special equipment or location and can be done at any time and place. As mentioned earlier, affirmations can be incorporated into walking meditation.
- Both can be practiced with the music or in the dark: one of the beautiful things about meditation and affirmations is that both can be practiced in the darkness (for example, going to bed) or with the music. For example, if using music helps you to visualize your desired outcome, play it in the background while you quietly repeat your affirmations.
Differences between meditation and affirmation
- The goal: the goal of meditation is to achieve a state of relaxation, while the goal of affirmations is to change the individual’s thought patterns and beliefs. As two separate practices, meditation aims at teaching the practitioner to “observe and let it be, ” while affirmations aim at “reprogramming” the mind from negative to positive thinking.
- The approach: meditation has a more passive approach because it is about learning to observe the mind, to quiet the train of thoughts. Affirmations are more active because they involve intentional verbalization. While there are a few types of meditation that involve repetition of mantras (as earlier discussed, Loving-kindness meditation, mantra meditation), the goal is still to calm the mind, but not change it.
- The duration (learning): the saying “you don’t have to learn how to meditate” is both true and false. For example, for those people whose mind is very active, a few minutes of meditation might seem like a lifetime. However, people with less stress in their lives tend to fall into a meditative state more easily. While it might take some time for some people to learn how to meditate (not to engage in the inner conversation, observe the feelings and thoughts), affirmations can be repeated from day 1 for as long as the person desires.
As we can see, as two different practices, they both have more similarities rather than differences. Both practices combined together, can provide calmness in mind, enhance focus and make the affirmations more effective.
Q: Are affirmations similar to hypnosis?
Affirmations and hypnosis are similar in that they both involve using the power of suggestion to influence a person’s thoughts and behaviors. Affirmations are positive statements that a person repeats to themselves in order to change their beliefs and attitudes about themselves and the world around them. Hypnosis is a state of mind in which a person is highly suggestible and open to new ideas and suggestions. Both affirmations and hypnosis can be used to help a person overcome negative patterns of thought and behavior and to create positive change in their life.
Incorporating the ‘affirmations and meditation duo’ into your life will ensure the most effective use of your personal affirmations. Make it a habit to say your affirmations regularly at certain times, such as when you wake up before you go to bed or when you feel stressed or anxious. In addition, set yourself a reminder to meditate with affirmations at least once per week, for example, during the weekend, when you are least busy.
And finally, as a closing sentence, I want to remind that different practices work differently for everyone. Finding what works best for you requires patience and experimenting.