Have you ever wondered if all the self-help gurus and authors proselytizing the power of positive affirmations are on to something? Or if they're, well, a little full of it and trying to profit off an awkward trend?
Well, I've got good news - affirmations are legit! Even beyond anecdotal tales and personal stories, there's actually research and science that supports the positive benefits of using affirmations, including affirmations about health!
Sure, affirmations can feel a bit hokey at first. But with practice, you'll become more comfortable and start to see the health changes that affirmations can affect, particularly when it comes to your mindset, habits, and lowering stress.
If you're looking for affirmations for self-love, self-esteem, and personal growth, I highly recommend checking out these 89 Self Love Affirmations!
What are affirmations?
Affirmations are positive statements that help you overcome negative, limiting, and self-sabotaging thoughts.
Positive health affirmations are meant to promote health and wellness, from general wellbeing to healing. They can help with changing and creating habits related to healthy eating and exercise.
How do health affirmations work?
Humans are wired for survival, and thus our brains want to take the easiest route to ensure that happens. Sometimes there are kind of "short cuts" the human brain will take, like:
- The Dunning-Kruger Effect: when someone with limited knowledge overestimates their own knowledge/ capabilities (whereas experts tend to underestimate)
- Observational Selection Bias: when we see/ hear/ focus on something in our minds, and then see that thing seemingly everywhere (like when you hear a song and then seem to hear that same song everywhere you go).
- Confirmation Bias: the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of your existing beliefs or thoughts.
The cool thing about affirmations is they kind of hack the system and the brain's penchant for the easiest way to survive, so affirmations play into the above effects and biases in a way that can help create change.
Are affirmations science-based?
Positive affirmations are in fact evidence-based! As a credentialed healthcare professional, I'll admit that I was skeptical - affirmations can sound a bit "woo."
But when you start to dig into some research, there is scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of using positive affirmations, particularly when your affirmations are aligned with your core values.
One study used fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to show how self affirmations led to increased activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (an area of the brain associated with self-related processing and positive valuation) (1). Not just that, but the individuals in the study practicing self-affirmations ended up increasing their activity levels more than the control group.
Additional studies also have confirmed that affirmations help:
- decrease health-deteriorating stress
- increase physical activity
- increase fruit and vegetable intake
- increase academic achievements
How to Use Affirmations for Health
One of the most important things to keep in mind when using affirmations is to frame the affirmation in a positive way (i.e. "I am strong and am having a great workout!" instead of "I hope I feel strong during my workout later,").
Additional tips for using affirmations include:
- Use the present tense (i.e. "I am...").
- Use positive energy words (i.e. energy, positivity, excited, great, strong).
- Keep the affirmation short, sweet, and simple.
- Say your statements as if you've already succeeded (i.e. instead of "I hope I can become a runner," say, "I am a runner").
- Create affirming reminders all around you, like on your phone lock screen, your desktop background, post-its on a mirror or laptop, a vision board, alerts and reminders on your phone or digital calendar, etc.
Finally, it's also a good idea to align your affirmations not just to your goals, but to your core values. For example, maybe you're trying to lose weight but if you think about what truly matters to you it's not about the scale, but about being able to take active vacations with your family. Set relevant goals, use related affirmations, and think about how achieving those goals aligned with your values will make you feel.
One Final Piece of Affirmations Advice
Affirmations can absolutely be helpful and effective, but they're just the first step. You need to keep practicing your affirmations daily, and practice taking action that follows through with the affirmation.
101 Health Affirmations PDF
You can see all 101 health affirmations below, but if you would prefer to have a downloadable PDF, just click the link below!
Affirmations for Healthy Body
- I am happy and healthy.
- I am grateful for my body.
- I love and respect my body.
- My body is strong and capable.
- I have everything I need to accomplish my goals.
- My body can find its happy weight.
- I feel good in my body.
- I have abundant energy.
- My body is my ally.
- My body is freaking awesome.
- I deserve to be happy and healthy.
- I give my body permission to change.
Affirmations for Healthy Eating
- I feel amazing when I eat well.
- I deserve to feel amazing when I nourish my body.
- It is easy for me to eat well.
- Healthy eating is about balance.
- I can eat well without eating perfectly.
- Planning healthy meals is fun.
- I love cooking.
- I love my kitchen.
- I can easily make a nourishing meal.
- Balanced meals can be simple.
- It’s fun to try new foods.
- I am willing to take the time to cook.
- I’m grateful to be able to cook.
- I’m grateful to nourish my body.
- I bless this food and this body with love.
- My body can trust me to nourish it.
- Food is a tool to nourish my body, not restrict.
- Healthy eating is more than a diet.
- All food is just food, not good or bad.
- I release food rules that do not serve me.
- I am more than a diet.
- I don’t need a diet.
- Nourishing foods are delicious.
Affirmations for Exercise
- I am strong.
- I am having a great workout.
- I can absolutely fit in a workout today.
- I am a runner.
- I am flexible.
- I am excited to exercise right now.
- Today I am stronger.
- I can do this.
- I am doing this.
- I am proud of myself for working out.
- I am giving my body what it needs to thrive.
- I feel my best when I’m active.
- Exercise helps my brain feel great!
- I am who I want to be when I work out.
- Exercise makes me a happier person.
- Exercise helps me sleep better.
- Exercise helps me breathe better.
- Being physically active helps me be the partner I want to be.
- Being active helps me be the best parent I can be.
- I take rest days because they help me be stronger and healthier.
- I am focused and aware.
- I am motivated.
- I choose to see good.
- I am present.
- Right now I have all that I need.
- I am exactly where I am meant to be.
- I feel peaceful and grounded.
- I feel secure.
- I am grateful for every breath I take.
- I am not my fears.
- Being present helps me care for my future.
- I release my worries.
- I am enough.
- I am in tune with my body.
- My body tells me what it needs.
Mental Health Affirmations
- I am happy and at peace.
- I am calm and capable.
- I am thriving.
- My mind is at peace.
- I can handle this.
- Just because I think it, doesn’t mean it’s true.
- I am enough.
- I am doing enough.
- I choose peace.
- I am confident in my goals.
- How I feel matters.
- I love myself for who I am.
- I choose to forgive.
- I choose to let go of anger.
- This is an opportunity to learn more about myself.
- I deserve happiness.
Affirmations for Healing
- It’s okay to not be okay.
- I am not my diagnosis.
- My diagnosis does not define me.
- Healing is possible for me.
- It’s okay to not know what my body needs right now, we’re figuring it out.
- My body is healed.
- My [specific body part] is healed.
- I am thriving.
- My health is restored.
- I am confident in my body.
- I am resilient.
- I am confident in my healing.
- I am getting healthier every day.
- I am getting the care I need.
- I am well.