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Mental Health

Reciting Daily Affirmations Can Improve Mental Health

— April 1, 2024

Study reveals simple affirmations can go a long way in improving health and well-being.

Any step – even if it is a small step – that can be taken toward better mental health is worth the time and effort. With so many people struggling in this part of their lives, finding ways to feel better about daily struggles is a valuable endeavor. And, as it turns out, it’s often the small things that can wind up making a big difference for millions of people.

It might not seem at first like something as simple as repeating daily affirmations would make much of a notable difference in mental health. That was the focus of a recent study that was performed by the University of California Berkeley, and as it turns out, those small steps might be more meaningful and impactful than most people would have guessed.

There were 135 college students who agreed to take part in the study, and the demands on their time were minimal. In fact, they were only asked to repeat affirmations for 20 seconds each day, and the study went on for a month. Included in what they were asked to do during those 20 seconds was placing their hands over their heart and belly as a show of compassion for themselves.

When the month was completed, it was seen that the participants had improved their self-compassion and emotional well-being more than the control group. As the frequency of these self-care practices increased, so too was the impact that it had on the participant’s lives.

Reciting Daily Affirmations Can Improve Mental Health
Photo by Antoni Shkraba from Pexels

These simple and fast daily affirmations are part of a movement that encourages people to perform “micropractices” that are easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules. Not only can users of this technique take ideas from others on how to encourage themselves, but they can also develop their own personalized affirmations to speak directly to what they are facing in life at the moment. This is particularly effective for young adults, but it can work nicely for everyone who is willing to dedicate even a short amount of time each day to such a routine.

“Research suggests that when practiced daily to the point of habit formation, self-compassionate touch paired with positive, self-affirming talk or reflection can improve self-compassion and reduce stress and other mental health challenges,” said Zachary Ginder, a psychological consultant and doctor of clinical psychology at Pine Siskin Consulting, LLC.

Like all studies, it is important for these findings to be replicated across more diverse populations. This was a group of only a little more than 100 participants who attended the same university. As such, there are limitations to how the lessons can be applied to the greater population as a whole, but it’s an encouraging finding that should lead to more investigation.

Taking big steps like going to therapy to get help with mental health issues is absolutely something many people should consider, given the specifics of their circumstances. But even while considering bigger steps, taking small steps like daily affirmations can go a long way, as well, in building up positive mental health. Simple habits might turn the tide and start to help many individuals look at life from an improved perspective.


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