Over thirty years ago, I came across the book You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay. The book is about self-healing through the use of positive affirmations that correspond with different illnesses and ailments.
I was intrigued by the book at the time, but also skeptical about Ms. Hay’s claims that our thoughts and lack of self-love contribute to disease and that positive affirmations can help heal us. Although I understood how affirmations could support positive thinking, I didn’t believe they could change the cells and chemistry in my body.
Now I know that science supports the power of positive affirmations. Affirmations are basically a form of auto-suggestion, and when practiced deliberately and repeatedly, they reinforce chemical pathways in the brain, strengthening neural connections.
Says David J. Hellerstein, M.D., a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, “In brief, we have realized that ‘neuroplasticity,’ the ongoing remodeling of brain structure and function, occurs throughout life. It can be affected by life experiences, genes, biological agents, and by behavior, as well as by thought patterns.”
Neuroscience now proves that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains. (If you want to learn more about this fascinating science, check out the book The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge, M.D.)
By practicing positive thought patterns (affirmations) repetitively, we actually create neuroplasticity in the area of the brain that processes what we are thinking about. The key is repetition so you flood your brain with the positive thought.
When practicing affirmations, choose one or two to focus on for several weeks. Say the affirmation out loud in a confident voice several times a day and before you go to bed. To add more power to the affirmation, write it down as you speak it. Be sure your affirmations are in the present tense, as though they are a current reality.