Why Positive Affirmations Don't Work

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Did you ever watch Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live? Actor Al Franken portrayed the character Stuart Smalley, the insecure host of a self help show who often repeated the mantra "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it people like me". Shows like this poke fun at the extremely popular new age technique of using positive affirmations to help people feel better about themselves. Use of positive affirmations has been around for decades, dating back to Vincent Peale's 1952 book "The Power of Positive Thinking". More recently positive affirmations have been popularized by self-help gurus and talk show hosts like Louise Hay and Oprah. But do these techniques really work if they are taken seriously? There has been some controversy about the effectiveness of positive affirmations and this article from Light Workers World explains some of the reasons behind it.

A 2009 study took a close look at the use of affirmations and found some surprising results. The study found that people who had low self esteem ended up feeling worse after using positive affirmations that were actually designed to improve their self esteem. It is thought that the reason behind this may be because the affirmations were far out of line with the individuals' actual thoughts and feelings about themselves. This disparity meant that the affirmations only served to accentuate their deficiencies, rather than making them believe the words of the affirmations. Interestingly, the individuals participating in the study who had average or high self-esteem prior to using the affirmations experienced either no change or some improvements with the affirmations. This further demonstrates that affirmations are ineffective if the user does not already believe the content of the affirmation.

How unfortunate that the people who probably need the help of affirmations the most are actually the least likely to benefit from them. For more on this article, visit the link below to the 'Light Worker World' website.

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