• Your mood in the morning sets the tone for your whole day
  • Affirmations can help to boost your morning mood and reprogram your brain
  • Good affirmations have specific traits that make them truly effective
  • Make morning affirmations automatic by pairing it with daily task
Getting out of the wrong side of the bed really does set a shitty tone for the day.

And for those of us who aren’t morning people - it’s pretty much a daily occurrence.

Your alarm goes off, you hit snooze, it goes off again, you hit snooze again, then on the final alarm, you check the time in horror and bolt out of bed because you’re running late.

You’re scrambling to get ready.

As you’re rushing out, you stub your toe on the door and leave the house forgetting a few things. It’s gonna be one of those days.

You drive like a maniac weaving through traffic to make up time.

As you go through your morning at work, you can’t help but notice how happy some people seem to be.

What’s wrong with them?!

This only serves to make your mood even worse. It kinda makes you feel like quitting your job.

If you’re nodding your head along to any of this, know that you’re not the only one.

You may have resigned yourself to the fact that some people are morning people and others - like you - are not. You’re more zoned out than energized in the mornings.

But, while that may be true to a certain extent, there are some tools that can help to get your morning off to a more positive start, and really set the tone for a good day.

One of those tools is affirmations. And, it’s not some hippie-dippie bullshit nonsense. When done right, affirmations have actually been proven to positively influence your mood and general wellbeing.

And, even if you’re still skeptical, it’s worth a try - it’ll be better for you than three cups of shitty office coffee before 10am, right?

The Importance Of A Good Start To The Day

Most of us have categorized ourselves as either a morning person or a night owl - and we’ve probably joked about it or poked fun at others for their preference.

But while this might seem like a light-hearted way to describe our different pre-dispositions, there may be more to it than you think.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard, whether we rise with the birds or burn the midnight oil is actually encoded in our DNA. Our circadian rhythms - or biological clocks - are, at least in part, genetically determined.

But unfortunately, our society doesn’t leave much room to accommodate these differences. Telling your boss that your genes make you late for work every morning isn’t gonna cut it.

And while this tidbit of scientific knowledge might help you to understand why you feel groggy in the mornings and alert in the evenings, it doesn’t change the facts.

Studies have shown that your mood in the morning sets the tone for your whole day. This study from the University of Pennsylvania showed higher productivity for those employees who reported a better mood in the morning.

There are many factors that affect our mood in the morning - but when it comes to work, a huge factor is, well, the fact that we have to go to work.

This study from Penn State University found that even just the anticipation of going to work had not only had a negative effect on people’s mood - but actually led to poorer working memory later in the working day.

All this is to say that - if you’re a morning person, lucky you! If you’re not, it’s important that you actively work to improve your morning mood to get your day off to a good start. Or, at the very least, not start it off in a shitty mood.

Affirmations are a simple - and free - way to do this.

How Affirmations Reprogram Your Brain

Our brains are learning machines. As we repeat thoughts, behaviors and actions, they become encoded in our brain. This is how we can go from nervously taking our first driving lesson as teens to commuting to work as adults on autopilot just a couple of years later.

Notice that this ‘autopilot’ mode isn’t just about behaviors but also of thoughts. That’s why our inner critic, aka the asshole in our head, ends up throwing the same crap at us over and over again.

In fact, what our inner critic does is a form of affirmation - negative affirmations.

“I’m never gonna be able to lose this weight.”

“I am never going to be successful.”

“I’m not good enough to do that.”

“No matter what I do, I never seem to get ahead.”

The more we repeat these negative beliefs to ourselves, the more we believe them, until they’re running on autopilot in the back of our minds. And oftentimes, what we believe becomes our reality and when that happens, it’s self-fulfilling validation that triggers a never-ending negative cycle.

The good news is that we don’t have to keep running the same negative playlist on repeat in our heads if we choose not to.

This is all thanks to neuroplasticity - our brain’s ability to adapt and form new synaptic connections.

In the same way that physiotherapy might help someone walk again with daily, repeated exercises over time, positive affirmations can help us improve our mood through daily, repeated statements.

Affirmations have been said to help people improve their self-esteem, build healthier habits and reduce stress.

This study from the Victoria University of Wellington even found that they help to make the powerless feel more powerful, while another study from the University of California Santa Cruz found that they can drive positive behavioral change.

But they have to be done in the right way.

The 5 Key Traits Of Mood-Boosting Affirmations

There are lots of “affirmations” flying around the internet that will not reprogram your brain and help you to boost your mood. A lot of them are just superficial bogus lies that you tell yourself to artificially boost your feelings for a short period of time.

If you remember the old 90’s Saturday Night Live sketch, “Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations”, that’s what we’re talking about here.

Though it might seem like a simple case of saying nice things to yourself, true affirmations are somewhat of an exact science. It’s all about your core values, not the superficial bullshit.

In this 5-minute video, Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy explains the reason why the shallow “happy lies” don’t do anything and how core values actually do.

VIDEO: The Last Thing You Should Do Is Lie to Yourself
YOUTUBE: Big Think
LENGTH: 5:10
Summary points:
  • Shallow “happy lie” affirmations don’t work
  • Identify your core values and think of examples where you have shown them
  • Self-affirmations help to remind us of our true selves and values
An affirmation that will affect real positive change must follow certain rules.

1. It Must Be A Core Value (Most Important)

Affirmations aren’t about turning you into the person others think you should be or even the person you wish you could be. They’re about supercharging the person you already are.

This means they have to be based upon your existing core values. If you’re a dishonest person, repeating “I am honest” over and over again ain’t gonna change that.

Many of us have core values that we would simply like to see expressed more in our life.

For example, you might value making a difference but feel that you could do more in this regard. An affirmation of “I am making a difference more and more each day” will help you to be more alert to opportunities to affect change.

Our values are embedded deep within our psyche, and they are not easily overridden. Therefore, whatever affirmations you create must be in line with your true core values.

2. It Must Be In The Present Tense 

Our minds only really respond to the present. Even when we’re thinking about the past or the future, our mind believes whatever we’re thinking about is happening in the now.

This is how simply thinking about something stressful that happened in the past can create such an intense physical reaction in the present, in the form of a panic or anxiety attack.

So, if your affirmation talks about what you will be in the future, your mind won’t pay much attention. It needs to be in the present tense - here and now.

3. It Must Be Positive

Our minds focus on the active words in a sentence. Have you ever noticed how telling yourself “don’t cry” or “don’t get angry” just makes you do more of the exact thing you’re trying to stop?

Yeah, our brains pretty much disregard the “don’t” and just focus the action words. So an affirmation saying “I am not mean” would be better flipped to “I am kind.”

Get it?

4. It Must Be True

This is where most people get affirmations wrong. You have to actually believe what you’re saying!

In other words, don’t bullshit yourself.

This doesn’t mean that your affirmation won’t be aspirational - just that you have to find where the statement is true right now, while also willing it to become even more true in future.

For example, perhaps you’re creating an affirmation for wealth. Saying “I am rich” when you’re as broke as a forgotten child TV star isn’t going to create much change.

Instead, this could be flipped to “I am abundant”. Sure, you might not be abundantly wealthy in monetary terms, but you’ll be able to identify other areas of your life where the statement is true.

Perhaps you have an abundance of loving friends and family, an abundance of talent, an abundance of joy or even an abundance of dirty laundry. 😉

5. It Must Evoke Feeling

Just saying some words on repeat, without tapping into the feeling and meaning of them, will not reprogram your brain.

In addition to finding the element of truth, as mentioned above, it’s important you feel the truth as well. What does it feel like to be abundant? How does the abundance of love, talent and joy make you feel?

This is the feeling you want to create more of by attracting an abundance of love to you. Focus on that feeling as you repeat the affirmation. This is where the saying “Where focus goes, energy flows” comes from after all.

Here Are 20 “I Am” Affirmations To Get Your Ideas Flowing

Using the above rules, you can make your own affirmations. And as long as they’re honest core values that you can truly connect with, you’ll be off to a great start.

But in case you need a jump start, here are twenty affirmations to get your thoughts rolling and creative juices flowing.

I AM successful in my own unique way.

I AM constantly attracting new opportunities.

I AM grateful for another day to make a positive contribution.

I AM allowing joy to guide me.

I AM worthy of everything good in life.

I AM a beautiful person inside and out.

I AM constantly growing.

I AM getting stronger and healthier every day.

I AM forgiving and letting go of my mistakes.

I AM grateful for my body and every amazing thing it can do.

I AM loving and I am loved.

I AM open to receiving blessings.

I AM making a difference in this world.

I AM powerful.

I AM the master of my own destiny.

I AM abundant.

I AM patient and kind.

I AM becoming the best version of myself.

I AM creative.

I AM making my dreams come true.

With affirmations like these, you can truly set yourself up for a day of peace, productivity and progress.

So, take a few minutes today and jot down just 1-3 affirmations as your “starters” for now. You can build upon these later on with more.

How To Make Affirmations Automatically Part of Your Morning Routine

Another reason that affirmations don’t work for some people is that they forget the key: consistency!

Just like learning to drive, it takes regular practice to change the way we think.

Repetition is key.

As busy humans, we need a little help to stay on track with new habits, so here are some ways you can help yourself really embed these affirmations into your everyday life.

Wake-Up Visualization

Visualization is an exercise whereby you see your future self living the life you want to create. This is a great exercise to do for a couple of minutes when you first wake up, before you get started on your day.

It’s a simple exercise.

Just see yourself in the future and visualize what it looks like. This could be right when you wake up, sitting on the edge of your bed kinda like a wake-up fantasy.

For example, if your affirmation is around abundance, you may see yourself living in a better house, driving a better car, wearing better clothes and spending your evening with friends at a fancy restaurant.

Be sure to connect with the feelings of this increased abundance. This gives you a taste of what your future life will feel like and helps to increase your motivation to make it happen.

Put Sticky Notes On Your Bathroom Mirror

Write your affirmations down on sticky notes and stick them up in places you’ll see them multiple times a day. Having them on your bathroom mirror is great, as you’ll see them every morning as you’re getting ready.

And don’t just glance at it. You need to say it out loud. When you hear yourself saying the words, your brain takes it in more seriously.

You could also stick them around your bed so you see them when you wake up and go to sleep. Stick them on your fridge so you see them every time you go to get food. Stick them on the back of your front door. The options are endless!

Make A Custom Phone Wallpaper

What’s the first thing we all look at when we get up in the morning?

Yup - the phone.

We all spend a crazy amount of each day looking at our phones. Kinda makes us wonder if smartphone nearsightedness is really a thing. But anyway, we can tweak this habit for positive purposes too.

Making a simple phone wallpaper that features your affirmation is a great way to make sure you see it first thing in the morning and throughout the day.

Just write out your affirmation in big letters on a sheet of paper with a bold colored marker, then take a photo of it with your phone - bam, there’s your personalized affirmation wallpaper.

Place A Note In Your Wallet / Purse

Another way to keep your affirmations popping up throughout the day is to keep them in a note in your wallet or purse. Every time you take it out to pay for something, you’ll be reminded of your affirmations.

You won’t even need to take out the note and read it - just seeing the piece of paper will jog your memory, acting as a reminder to repeat the affirmations to yourself.

Make 3x5 Affirmation Cards

Especially if you have a bunch of different affirmations, using 3x5 cards can be a fun way to work with them. Create some cards, each one with one affirmation.

Keep them in a pile on your bedside table. Each morning, give the cards a shuffle and pick one. That will be your affirmation for the day.

Embedding these affirmations into your life should be fun and exciting! It’s time to get creative - see if you can come up with any other ways to sneak these messages of positivity into your environment.

Make It A Pre-Commute Ritual

Most of us have to fight through morning rush hour traffic to get to work. It’s an unavoidable part of work life. And, instead of being pissed off about it first thing in the morning, turn the tables.

When you get in the car and before you start the engine, take 30 seconds and say one of your core affirmations out loud. In fact, keep a few of your 3x5 affirmation cards in the car and rotate through a bunch and swap them out every week for new ones.

This will definitely help turn your stressful commute into a more relaxing affair. You’ll feel more energized and positive than any drive-thru coffee could ever provide.

Hack Your Mornings For Happiness!

The working world is set up for morning people. There’s no escaping that fact.

And, if you’re not one of those people, you’re probably not going to be able to fully change your circadian rhythm to become one.

But you’re not going to let a pesky thing like your genetics get in the way of your happiness and success are you?!

We didn’t think so.

There seems to be a hack for everything these days and affirmations are definitely a fun way to hack your morning and set you up for success.

Saying your true core affirmations out loud every morning will kickstart your day like nothing else.

And when you do this consistently, you’ll start bounding into the office instead of dragging your ass. Plus, it’ll help you get in the zone at work and feel more confident, happy and grateful.

Using affirmations is cheaper than a mental therapist or gym membership, less time consuming than meditating and far healthier than the alcohol or meds. It really gets to the core, literally changing our brains for the better and helping us manage work stress and take on the day like superheroes.

Goodbye to bad attitude mornings, hello self-affirmations!

Feel Better,

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