12 Benefits of Positive Affirmations: Why They’re Important

Positive affirmations can help you to overcome negative thought patterns, and rewire your brain to think in a more optimistic way. Repeating self-affirming statements can improve your mental wellbeing, help you sleep better and even enhance your academic performance.

Benefits of Affirmations

Here are 12 benefits of positive affirmations, demonstrating how your thinking can influence your behavior:

Benefit 1: Improves Your Overall Wellbeing

1: Improves Your Overall Wellbeing

Take a look at this list of benefits and you’ll quickly be able to see how much positive affirmations can do for your overall wellbeing.

You can sleep better, feel more relaxed and be increasingly motivated to exercise.

As we’ll explore below, that’s because reciting a strong affirmation can make positive changes to the way we think about ourselves.

Finding the right words is key, thankfully you’ll find plenty of inspiration here at The Good Body, including powerful female affirmations.

Benefit 2: Makes You More Physically Active

2: Makes You More Physically Active

Looking for ways to motivate yourself to do a workout? Fitness affirmations could be the answer.

That’s because repeating your mantra daily aloud actually alters your brain!

A study published in 2015 wanted to understand how learning to practice self-affirmation could impact on the public’s response to health messages.

Experts typically find that health messaging about physical activity can be seen as “threatening to self-worth” and can often be met with resistance.

They were interested to understand how reciting self-affirming statements could affect the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC).

This is the part of the brain responsible for emotional regulation and, most importantly for this study, self-perception.

Amazingly results showed that fitness affirmations produced more activity in the VMPFC and led to participants increasing their levels of physical activity.

Put simply, it was felt that affirming this behavior change allows people to see the self-relevance more clearly and take action.

Benefit 3: Relieves Stress

3: Relieves Stress

Nearly 65% of adults in the US report feeling stressed — are you one of them?

Researchers across the world came together to understand how self-affirmation can improve our problem-solving skills when under stress.

During the study each person involved was asked to choose a value that their own affirmation could be built around.

These included Artistic Skills, Athletics, Relations with Friends and Family and Business/Money.

Findings revealed that self-affirmation can help to reduce stress, particularly in performance settings, such as when studying for a big test.

Our problem-solving skills also get a boost without the symptoms of stress getting in the way!

Benefit 4: Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety

4: Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety

There are many positive affirmations for anxiety.

And it’s no wonder when you consider that it’s proven to help.

People struggling with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) were the subject of a 2016 investigation hoping to discover how positive thinking could reduce pathological worry.

One aspect of the research was to encourage people to generate positive thoughts and repeat them regularly for one week.

After completing follow-up questionnaires for four weeks, researchers were able to conclude that positive ideation was effective in preventing uncontrollable worry in people with GAD.

Benefit 5: Eases Depression

5: Eases Depression

Depression can be a debilitating condition, with Major Depressive Disorder being the leading cause of disability in people aged between 15 and 44.

Evidence into exactly how affirmations can help is still fairly limited.

However there is some scientific data that shows how they can redirect thought processes in the brain.

Carrie C. Mead a licensed professional clinical counselor speaking to PsychCentral explains how this works:

The brain has a naturally developed ‘negativity bias,’ which helped keep the earliest humans alive and fairly safe…However, in modern times, this same mechanism means that we are pre-wired, to some degree, to see the negatives in each situation more predominately than the positives.

She goes on to describe how:

Positive affirmations can be very helpful to combat depression…They offer the brain cognitive restructuring.

Benefit 6: Makes You More Optimistic

6: Makes You More Optimistic

Mental health affirmations can make you more optimistic.

Chronic pain expert David Hanscom MD, in an article for Psychology Today, explained the link between affirmations and neuroplasticity.

In this paper he explains how they help to challenge and defeat negative, self-sabotaging thoughts.

Dr. Hanscom describes how learning to think differently “reprograms” our brain, giving it a little workout.

Practicing affirmations daily basically helps stop bad habits and implement new positive circuitry!

Benefit 7: Improves Your Self Esteem

7: Improves Your Self Esteem

Receiving a positive thinking affirmation via text can build your self-esteem!

College students were the focus of research published by the Dominican University of California.

For two weeks participants were sent virtual positive statements, and then asked to take a follow-up questionnaire.

Significant increases were seen in both self-esteem and overall satisfaction with life.

Benefit 8: Helps You Sleep Better

8: Helps You Sleep Better

We’re all not getting enough sleep.

Thankfully there are a number of things you can try to help, including practicing bedtime affirmations.

We know from the research above that the action relieves stress and puts you in a better headspace for sleep.

Sleep specialist Chelsie Chelsie Rohrscheib, speaking to Sleep.com, explains that it also helps you maintain a bedtime routine — an essential component for good sleep.

However she reminds us that it’s essential to tailor your affirmations to your specific circumstances:

If the main reason you’re having trouble falling asleep is [that] you keep thinking of the stressors you encounter at work, you might come up with affirmations that help you reframe how you think about those stressors: ‘I choose to release my work stress’ or ‘I can control how my work affects me.’

Benefit 9: Enhances Academic Performance

9: Enhances Academic Performance

Thanks to the way reciting a daily mantra relieves stress, we can perform better academically.

However it’s more than just feeling more relaxed that improves performance, affirmations also make us more confident and interestingly, more perceptive.

It’s this heightened sense of awareness that researchers found made people more receptive to errors, allowing them to identify and correct mistakes.

If your little ones have big tests coming up, why not take a look at our list of affirmations for kids.

Benefit 10: Gives You Greater Self-Control

10: Gives You Greater Self-Control

Developing greater self-control can allow you to become more disciplined in all areas of your life.

Self-affirmation can play an important part, especially when you feel like your self-control has been depleted.

Reciting your statements can give your ego a boost, and allow you to adopt a mindset that puts you back in control.

Benefit 11: Boosts Your IQ

11: Boosts Your IQ

You might be surprised to hear that self-affirmation can actually boost your IQ by as much as 10 points!

Instead of learning how to use affirmations, in this study participants were asked to recount a past achievement or a proud moment before taking a test.

These self-affirming statements led to dramatic differences in test results, with those self-affirming beforehand performing significantly better!

Benefit 12: Free!

12: Free!

Finally one of the biggest advantages of practicing daily affirmations, has to be the fact that it’s completely free!

You can start wherever or whenever you want.

Why not pick a certain time of day when you’ll always recite your mantras so you can quickly turn the activity into a habit?

Start Changing Your Mindset

Now you know why affirmations are important you probably want to get started.

Choose a short positive affirmation and make it a part of your daily routine!

Laura Smith


Laura Smith

Associate Editorial Manager

Specialist health & wellbeing writer, passionate about discovering new technologies & sharing the latest research.