Affirmations vs Meditation

“Words are by nature, connected to the thing they name” Plato

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Affirmations vs meditation

Affirmations instead of meditation is a blog about how I found affirmations to be more quietening to the mind than meditation.

I have practised meditation on-and-off with varying level of success, but as a beginner I quickly found affirmations to be more impactful.

This blog is not about trying to convince anyone to stop meditating or to never start meditating. It is however, aimed at presenting the possibility of using affirmations to increase and procure positive self-talk.

I will quickly introduce the subjects of both meditation and affirmation before I explain why affirmation has been more practicable for me in it’s utility.

What is meditation?

If you are seeking to find more focus, quiet and a clearer mind you may have heard of mediation. It is a practice where one tries and quiet the mind by staying still and focusing on ones breathing. Through meditation one must try and observe thoughts but not ‘cling onto them’ rather, let them come and go and pass. By focusing on your breathing, you are being more present in the moment, which can help simplify your thoughts and the calm the mind.

Observing our thoughts as separate from ourselves, helps people feel detached from their thoughts and emotions. This makes people feel less weighed down by their thoughts and emotions.

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation in the context of this blog is where one says words, sentences or phrases to themselves to instil a beneficial feeling of self. So rather than in meditation where one aims to be neutral of thought, an affirmation seeks to imbed a thought in the mind. The purpose of embedding this thought is to try and create a positive mindset.

For example: An affirmation may be to wake up every day, close your eyes and say “I am strong, I am a loving husband and a caring father” or “I am patient, kind and hard-working” repeating this phrase over and over again.

Fighters for example have a very positive mindset when thinking of themselves, they must. To doubt your capabilities before you go in the ring, places you at a grave disadvantage. So fighters will often ‘affirm’ in their mind their prowess; “Be fast, keep your footing, timing is everything”.

Why I like affirmations

I personally have a very active mind. I am constantly bombarded by new thoughts. If I sit still the thoughts start flowing; “Don’t forget to go to the gym, send that email, remember this new blog topic, finish that college assignment….”

This can be somewhat tiring, and because of this when I meditate I sometimes struggle to find quiet. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail.

For me, when doing affirmations, the constant repetition of the words drowns out other thoughts. I go through my day feeling more positive and I feel more inclined to apply the words I have been repeating. If you say yourself “Today I am kind and considerate” over and over again for weeks on end, the chances are you will start to act kinder and more considerate because you believe it to be more apart of who you are.

That is why I began to prefer affirmations as a morning practice.

I liked the idea that my words were affirmative and could steer me in the right direction. With an affirmation you are CHOOSING how to direct your mind and your focus.

I found affirmations to be more pro-active than meditation, which was more passive.

Seen in the quote at the beginning of this blog “Words are by nature connected to the things they name”. When you start referring to yourself positively through words, you bind yourself to their meaning.

How I practice affirmations

The way I practice affirmations is simple. I set a timer for 2 minutes and close my eyes, as if I was about to meditate.

I then repeat the same 4 words over and over in my head. I don’t use long sentences or phrases, just 4 words. 

Some examples you might try may be:

“Honour. Discipline. Freedom. Dedication”

“Compassion. Intellect. Truth. Direction”

“Family. Service. Country Strength”

It’s entirely up to you.

The reason I set a timer to 2 minutes is because a shorter time keeps me mentally engaged and more inclined not to ‘skip’ the affirmation session when I know it is so short.

There is no perfect or imperfect way to try an affirmation or meditation. But consistency is key.

I hope this blog helped just one person.

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You may also like these podcasts:

TreadWiser Podcast:

Huberman lab podcast

BBC Radio 4 Podcast with Brian Cox – Physicist

These blogs are aimed at helping readers through their personal development journey by expanding their comfort zones and positively improve quality of life through a growth mindset. Blog topics may include travel and adventure, mindset and mentality, or physical development.