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Mental Health

Can Positive Affirmations Boost Your Self Esteem?

Within the past few months, I have heard the words “manifestation” and “affirmations” more than I have heard before. I am not a huge spiritual person so I never found myself getting involved in these practices but I recently asked myself, “do affirmations really work?”

The answer is different for everyone because the more you believe in it, the more you feel like it will become significant in your life. I had to switch my attitude from being close-minded to this behavior to curious about how saying something positive about myself can cause me to feel better and boost my self-esteem. 

I have always been an anxious person. And because of that, there have been numerous times where my thoughts run wild and I feel as though I have little to no control over them. I’m known to be an overthinker. Not a personality trait I want to have but it is part of who I am, so I wanted to be able to combat my overthinking. Therefore, I decided to begin telling myself some affirmations whenever I felt anxious or unable to take control of my mind. 

I started off simple and would only say affirmations when I found myself getting very anxious or panicking about something. Depending on what I was doing in that moment, whether it was walking and having a thought pop up in my head or studying for an exam, and began to feel uneasy. I would stop whatever I was going and say some simple phrases like: “you got this” or “you are strong”.

I immediately began to feel like I had the ability to calm myself down which is something I never was able to do before. I would always have to talk to someone and get reassurance that whatever I was stressing about was so irreverent in the grand spectrum of my life. 

The more I began to say affirmations to myself, the better I felt about myself. My self-esteem was growing and the feeling of being strong and confident was empowering. 

Not only do I view myself as an overthinker, but what drives me to be so controlling about my life is because I want it to be perfect. Although being a perfectionist can be good in moderation, a high amount can be slightly detrimental when people become obsessive about things. This is me. I do this and to be honest, I hate it. 

I like how I want things to go right (any person would). But the way my mind runs in circles and constantly tells me to do more or do better is overwhelming. In any moment like this, I take a deep breath and tell myself “I am doing my best.”

Nobody but me knows how much I am capable of doing. I know my limits and I know when to stop (sometimes…) so when I feel myself losing control, I need to check in on myself. 

I strongly believe the more affirmations you say to yourself, the better you will feel, and therefore, your self-esteem will increase. If you believe in yourself and are the most confident of who you are, then nobody is able to hurt you. 

The only person who can let someone’s negative words or influx of stress affect you is yourself. 

As I said before, I started off simple by saying the affirmation. I only said something positive to myself when I felt like I needed it and wanted to calm down. But, what if I said something positive to myself every morning? How would I feel the rest of the day? I was interested in seeing that if I started off my day complimenting myself then maybe I wouldn’t become as anxious about things as frequently as I did before. 

So, I tried this. Every morning for a few days I stood in front of the mirror in my dorm and said some affirmations. I picked four different sayings and those were: “I am proud of myself”, “I believe in myself”, “I am grateful for what I have” and “I can’t dwell on things I can’t control.” 

Just by saying these simple phrases, I felt like I was setting my day up to be good even before it began. Despite what happened the day before, I was boosting my self-esteem and believing in myself.

I woke up each day feeling better and better about myself and felt overall happier. From saying affirmations and telling myself that I am doing my best and I can’t control everything, I felt some weight being lifted off of my shoulder. 

The expectation that I had put on myself has caused some days to be very tiring and long. I have broken down so many times when I felt like I could have done more than I did, but in reality, I did as much as I could. I just didn’t want to believe it.

For the people who think affirmations may not be as helpful or a waste of time, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Say the simplest but empowering phrase you can and I hope you feel better about yourself. I wished I tried practicing this when I first heard about it because it truly has made my self-esteem skyrocket and made me more confident than I was before. I answered the question I first asked myself when I heard about affirmations: “do they really work?” and confidently I can say from my experience, yes they do.

To anyone reading this: “You got this! You are brave! You are beautiful! And You are amazing!”

With love, 



Edited by Rose Kaufmann

Hi! I'm Sierra Byrne and I am a sophomore studying Health Sciences in hopes of becoming a Physician Assistant! I have always had a passion for journalism and have been writing for Her Campus for over a year now. Have fun reading!
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