The Best Affirmations to Try Right Now

Whether you repeat them aloud, write them in a journal, or say them to yourself internally, these affirmations have the power to better your mind and beyond.

These days, you're probably seeing more and more people sharing their go-to affirmations on social media. Everyone — from your favorite TikTok follows to Lizzo and Ashley Graham — is all about using these powerful, succinct mantras as part of their self-care routines. But how much of a game-changer can a string of words really be? When you hear why even doctors love affirmations, you'll take a closer look at the next one you come across on IG, and maybe even want to start using them in your life, too.

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What Is an Affirmation?

First things first, what exactly is an affirmation? Essentially, it's all about speaking some positivity into the universe and then harnessing that power. "An affirmation is a phrase, mantra, or statement that is verbalized — internally or externally," explains Carly Claney, Ph.D., a Seattle-based clinical psychologist. Typically, it's a positive statement that's intended to encourage, uplift, and empower the person saying or thinking it, she explains.

Affirmations can also help "counter" negative thoughts that might be running through your head, adds Navya Mysore, M.D., a family physician and medical director at One Medical in New York City. "By repeating these statements with enough frequency, you can override your brain's negative back talk, increasing your confidence and ability to make positive changes in your life." (

And while that might sound a little woo-woo, affirmations are actually backed by science.

The Benefits of Affirmations

Just repeating any old phrase isn't the point. In order to reap the potential rewards, research suggests that you need to find a specific affirmation (or two) that speaks to you and your unique goals or visions, according to the experts. In fact, a 2016 study found that self-affirmations ("I am" statements) are related to positive coping skills; they can "[activate] parts of the brain related to reward and positive reinforcement," shares Claney, who adds that affirmations can have "both a short term effect (by regulating the sympathetic nervous system)" — think: calming you down during an episode of high stress — and "could have longer-term effects with regular practice."

Those long-term effects can help "change your outlook and behavior to achieve your goals," notes Dr. Mysore. "In a way, this is similar to exercise — when you exercise routinely, you start to see benefits with your body and mind, such as increased strength and endurance. Similarly, when you continue to use positive affirmations on a regular basis, you start to believe them and your actions will exemplify this, which in turn will make it easier to achieve your goals."

Affirmations can also help boost your overall mood, which, in turn, can help with stress, anxiety, and even depression, adds Dr. Mysore. (

How to Pick an Affirmation

It's all pretty powerful stuff. But if you're struggling to pick out an affirmation that feels right, or even just find the concept of talking to yourself a bit unusual, the pros are here to help.

Dr. Mysore recommends starting with one focus area of concern. "I would suggest taking some time to think about an area of your life you would like to improve," she says. "It would start with something small like a work meeting that's coming up that you're nervous about. Your affirmation could be reminding yourself that you're good at your job and that you have confidence in your role."

The next step? Repeating this statement to yourself while you prepare for the meeting, as doing so can help lower stress and boost confidence for the actual meeting. "Over time, you can extend positive affirmations to larger parts of your life and bigger challenges you are facing," says Dr. Mysore.

Claney echoes those sentiments, adding, "I recommend choosing something simple that either resonates with you now or is something you wish to believe about yourself soon. You could think of someone you admire or are even jealous of and ask, 'what do they think about themselves? What characteristic am I most envious of that I want to emulate?' And translate it into an affirmation about yourself."

Remember: "There's no need to get too creative or feel like you need to be incredibly original when you're just getting started," adds Claney.

If you're not quite ready to start talking to your reflection in the mirror, you're not alone. In fact, Dr. Mysore says she feels similarly. "I find it hard to verbally say the affirmations to myself out loud," she shares. "But love thinking about it and writing it out." And that's exactly what Claney recommends people do if they too find repeating their affirmation aloud uncomfortable.

"At the beginning, just like starting any habit, it might feel awkward," adds Dr. Mysore. "But keeping up with consistency will help affirmations feel second nature after some time."

How to Craft an Affirmation Practice

Both pros agree that there's no wrong time to incorporate these powerful phrases into your day — after all, a mindful moment can happen pretty much anywhere, at any time. But you do have to be intentional about making it a part of your daily routine. And that's exactly why Dr. Mysore suggests you "schedule it."

"Thinking about it and saying it's a good idea is usually not enough. It needs to be intentionally planned out. When are you going to practice this? Block it off on your calendar or keep a habit tracker to keep yourself accountable," she says.

Also a good idea? Turning an individual practice into a group practice. "Join in with a few friends who are also trying to incorporate affirmations into their life so you can hold each other accountable at the beginning and so it can feel like a joint effort," says Dr. Mysore.

"If an affirmation practice is difficult to self-start, find a meditation app or yoga teacher that incorporates affirmations into their practice," adds Claney. "Having someone else create the space for you to practice affirmations is a great way to help validate them for yourself."

Reflecting on how you feel after is equally important. "Take a moment after the affirmation to feel the space around it," she suggests. "What do you feel about saying the words — can you take them in? Can you see your intention in believing it even if it doesn't resonate completely? Can you honor the value of pursuing something that feels just out of reach? Having the affirmation practice be meaningful to you will enforce it as something valuable rather than just another expectation or responsibility to uphold to yourself."

The Best Affirmations to Try

Ready to get started? Here are some great examples of affirmations that might speak to you or inspire you to craft your own positive phrase.

"It will be a good day."

Dr. Mysore loves to say this one when she's working out in the morning. "I'm learning to try to have a more consistent positive attitude in my life overall," she shares.

"What belongs to me will simply find me."

Confidence coach Ellie Lee shared this affirmation example on TikTok, adding, "I don't chase; I attract," which serves as a reminder that what's meant to be yours will show itself to you — that is, of course, if you let it.

"I am strong; I am capable."

When it comes to choosing affirmations in her own life, Claney prefers something simple, and this "I am" statement reminds her about all that inner strength she already has within.

"You are bold. You are brilliant, and you are beautiful."

Whether you follow her on Instagram or just read about her latest self-care crusades, odds are you're well aware that Ashley Graham knows a thing or two about self-care and love. The star shared the above self-loving affirmation in 2017, revealing that she relies on it when she's feeling down about her body. (

"You deserve all the space in the world to breathe, expand, and contract, and give me life. I love you."

Lizzo is also a fan of using self-love affirmations to help better her relationship with her body. The award-winning artist talks to her tummy in the mirror, massaging and blowing kisses to her middle, which she used to hate so much she "wanted to cut it off." Instead, she says, "I love you so much. Thank you so much for keeping me happy, for keeping me alive. Thank you. I'm gonna continue to listen to you."

"I am youthful and timeless."

None other than J.Lo herself relies on this powerful statement to remind herself that her powers only get greater the longer she's on this Earth. In 2018, she told Harper's Bazaar, "I tell myself that every day, a few times a day. It sounds like clichéd bullshit, but it's not: Age is all in your mind. Look at Jane Fonda." (BTW, this affirmation example isn't the only way Lopez practices self-care.)

"My life is full of loving and joyful people, and my workplace is filled with adventure."

Sometimes, you need a little reminder about the forces around you and the goodness they bring to your days, as evidenced by another one of Lopez's favorite affirmations.

"I've done this before."

Another favorite of Claney's, this one can help ease anxiety as you confront situations you know bring you stress, like a big work assignment or dealing with a co-worker or family member you just don't mesh well with. (Want more affirmation examples just for anxiety? This guide's got you covered.)

"I have done enough."

Ruminating over something that happened a day ago or even a year ago? Reminding yourself that you did all you could is a great way to focus on the present and what's ahead, notes Claney.

"Thank you. I have everything I need."

The first thing confidence-connoisseur Lee does when she wakes up in the morning? She expresses a hefty dose of gratitude for all the things she already has in her life.

"You are a special occasion."

Beauty guru Alana Black is all about wearing your favorite clothes no matter what, even if you're just running to Target or the drugstore. "Stop waiting for the perfect time. This is the perfect time. Do it now. Wear your baddie outfits and go," she says.

"It is my birthright to be happy."

Filmmaker and manifestation coach Vanessa McNeal starts her mornings with a serious "energy lift," telling herself, "I am worthy not because of what I do, but because of who I am."

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