Affirmations are easy tools to assist you on your path to mental health and emotional wellness. Of course, affirmations alone will not "cure" depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder. Talk therapy, medication and lifestyle management can truly help with these severe conditions. And affirmations are simple self-help tools you can use to counteract the inner critic that has decided to implant him or herself as one part of your self. To differentiate your inner critic, how about naming it? What have you named your inner critic? Mine is called The Dragon Mistress.
Affirmations are useful to bolster the OK Me, the part of your self that doesn't buy all in to all the negativity that Dragon Mistress likes to drum up.
Affirmation #1 - My Life is Worth Living, Even if There is Pain
(kudos for this, Marsha Linehan, PhD)
This affirmation is borrowed from Marsha Linehan, the creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Dr. Linehan says that it's unrealistic to believe that life is devoid of pain. Acceptance of the reality of some pain in living is a sign of maturity and emotional growth. You don't have to accept continuous emotional suffering, however, acceptance that pain is part of life is an indication of emotional balance, acceptance and wisdom.
Tip #2 - My emotional healing is important and I allow myself time to process.
Healing from emotional pain is not a simple task. The nervous system, the body, the mind all need time to recuperate and restore. The process is highly individualized and it's important not to bury your anxieties and depression under denial and a sunny face. There is often alot that goes into healing from emotional distress: psychotherapy, medication, self-care, lifestyle changes including healthy nutritional and relaxation practices. Decide what you need to heal and grow positively. Be realistic about your plan. If you think you need help, reach out for help. Stick to a plan for at least 3 - 6 months and see what shifts.
Tip #3 - I have compassion for my fears. They are just one part of my complex self.
It's ok to feel your fear and anxiety. These scary emotions may feel overwhelming and like they wil take over your life. Learning about the nature of emotion and techniques to manage your emotions helps. You are more than your fears and anxieties. You have many parts of the self and all parts can be looked at and accepted.
Tip #4 - I open myself up to life as it is, rather than anxiously awaiting perfection.
Many people who are experience emotional distress are perfectionists, looking for a perfect life. In reality, a perfect life has pain and imperfection. Projects are late, people make mistakes people let us down, we fail the bar exam the first two times, we lose money in the stock market, we lose our passport on the way to the airport.... All of these things are normal occurrences in a perfectly fine life.
Tip #5 - Life is not black or white, I experience all the feelings in between.
Black and white thinking is a symptom of mental illness. Being able to see the full spectrum of color in life is a sign of mental health. Anxiety, depression and fear give us tunnel vision, literally and psychologically. Knowing a little bit about good mental health habits can go a long way in helping you make lifestyle changes that promotes your positive good health.