Wellness | 3 May, 2021

The Science Behind Positive Affirmations

by Christina Almeida

At Pildora, we believe that every person has the power to change their reality for the better. Positive affirmations are a great way to do this, and such a huge part of creating new beginnings for ourselves. While many of us familiar with the term, have you ever wondered how they actually work? To offer a new perspective on the super trendy practice, we decided to take a deeper dive into the science behind positive affirmations. 

First things first, positive affirmations are not just intangible words, they make an impact on your brain waves in a way that you can see! In a study published in the journal, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, scientists used MRI to show that when you practice positive affirmations, the “reward center,” in your brain lights up. Neurologically, positive affirmations does the same thing to your brain that external compliments would, or anything else that makes you happy! 

But that’s just the tip of the scientific iceberg! To explain the rest, we need to first understand how much data is thrown at us every day in the modern world. Informational scientists have calculated that in 2011 Americans took in five times as much information as they did in 1986 – the equivalent of 174 newspapers! Not including work time, each one of us processes about 34 gigabytes, or 100,000 words a day. Imagine how much information we process AT work. 

We’ve evolved to be able to navigate an increasing amount of information, but it does come at a price. With so much information flying at us in all directions, our brains have a hard time sorting the more important data, like a directions from our boss, from the lesser important data, like the latest trending TikTok audio. Because all this processing is so tiring, the brain creates shortcuts to avoid extra thinking. These short cuts are called cognitive biases and positive affirmations actually work to disrupt them, but in a good way! Let’s get into it. Observational Selection Bias is the mind’s pattern of ignoring things until you can’t ignore them anymore. This bias is the reason why after you notice something for the first time, like a new pair of shoes you’re eyeing, suddenly you see them everywhere! When practicing positive affirmations, you’re essentially making positive beliefs unignorable to your brain. All the sudden, you will start to see reflections of these beliefs pop up everywhere! Our second cognitive bias is Confirmation Bias, and it’s the brain’s pattern of seeing things that confirm already held beliefs. When we have negative beliefs, our brain finds confirmation of these negative belief because, although it’s unhealthy, it’s easier than conscious thinking, or processing new information that might challenge your already held beliefs. When practicing positive affirmations, you’re giving your mind positive beliefs to reaffirm in world around you. If you tell yourself, “I’m going to make a new friend this year,” your mind will begin to find signals to confirm that belief. This trains your brain to parse through the endless data and focus on information that builds a positive reality.

To sum up, our brains are constantly overloaded with information, so sometimes we create shortcuts called cognitive biases, that can actually harm us. Positive affirmations disrupt these cognitive biases and enlist your subconscious thinking for good by giving it positive beliefs to start noticing and confirming in the world around it. It’s not that positive affirmations create a new reality out of thin air, it’s just making it easier for your brain to notice that what you want is already all around you.

A great addition to your affirmations are crystals. Crystals have been used for thousands of years by spiritual leaders and healers alike to cleanse, cultivate, and redirect energy. Crystals are commonly used in tandem with positive affirmations, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.  Our Raw Quartz Crystals are especially effective in conjunction with affirmations. Since we’re diving into the science, there’s a story behind the crystals as well! On a cellular level, both Raw Quartz and the human body are made up of silicon-dioxide—a mineral that fuels communication and attracts energy. Due to this, there is an interactive relationship between the quartz and your energy. Its programmability allows it to hold your specific, focused affirmation. For meditation or sleep aides, also try our Amethyst Clusters! 

Totally new to positive affirmations? Below are 10 to get you started!

Following my intuition and my heart keeps me safe and sound.

I forgive myself for all the mistakes I have made.

 I choose friends who approve of me and love me.

I ask for and do meaningful, wonderful and rewarding work.

I am a money magnet and attract wealth and abundance.

All that I need comes to me at the right time and place in this life.

I am deeply fulfilled with who I am.

I let go of worries that drain my energy.

I replace my anger with understanding and compassion.

I trust myself to make the best decision for me.