Talking Hearts with positive self-affirmations for adolescents and young adults
What are Self-Affirmations?"My potential to succeed is limitless... I have the power to create change... and I am free to create the life I desire". As we go through life, these are words and feelings that are fundamental to be instilled within our belief systems. Throughout an individual’s growth, past experiences and conditioned responses result in the development of various self-talk or self-directed speech habits.
Unfortunately, the human mind tends to favour negative self-talk because its sharp emotions elicit a more considerable impact than its positive counterparts. Whether it arises from mistakes, judgements or other adverse life situations, our brain is hardwired to focus more on the bad than the good. This is what psychologists refer to as a negativity bias, meaning that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are more sensitive to negative forms of stimuli (1).
Broadly defined, positive affirmations are short and concise statements that individuals repeat to themselves to challenge negative thoughts and instill positive alternatives. Take, for example, our opening statement, these self-affirmed statements are positively weighted and foster a positive outlook in a person’s mind and belief system.
Trying to find ways to reignite your motivation?Are you trying to instil the much-needed discipline to weather the adversity of daily challenges? Or are you seeking to rediscover what it means to be confident and confront the day boldly with booming self-esteem?
If you are seeking answers to these questions, the typical responses you will find online will offer costly and time-consuming solutions such as therapy, exercise programs and even pharmaceutical alternatives. However, new psychological research has unearthed a deceptively simple yet profound method of imparting you with the answers to all of the questions mentioned above.
The Dangers of Negative Self-TalkBefore we get into the specifics, did you know that many issues surrounding mental health, lack of motivation and overall low mood are rooted in how a person undertakes inner self-talk and responds to experiences? (1). Yes, you heard it right – It is not something wrong with your brain or body but simply how you respond mentally to different experiences that affect how you feel.
Let’s look at it this way. Person A sleeps badly and goes through a rough morning resulting in a sour mood that follows them throughout the day. Because of this, they have clung to the belief that the day was ruined, which indicated to their mind to act accordingly in a negative way. According to research, negative attitudes and mismanagement of emotions can lead to chronic stress, which unbalances hormonal production leading to a depletion of dopamine and serotonin, chemicals which are vital for happiness, (2).
On the other hand, Person B goes through a similar rough morning, but they have primed their mind to remain optimistic and move through obstacles and not away from them. As a result, their mood is not influenced by adversity but merely tested by it – A test they have successfully passed.
Positive Self-AffirmationsWhat we are trying to get to is that you do not need therapy or pharmaceutical pills to achieve the mental state of Person B. Research from psychology and neuroscience has demonstrated that daily positive affirmations have immense potential for fostering states of motivation, compassion, and confidence for adolescents and young adults (reference).
It is common for people in these age groups to go through significant bouts of psychological adversity as they transition from their teenage to functioning adult years. During this period, we observe frequent reports of motivation loss, lack of self-esteem, and in some cases, feelings of powerlessness. Hence, a cost-effective and highly accessible technique for reducing these cases is vital for improving these individuals’ mental health and overall functioning.
Effectively, positive self-affirmations have been tested in many contexts, including high-school and professional settings, demonstrating profound effects that we will discuss presently.
In school, academic research shows that the primary mediator behind successful educational performance is how students approach challenging tasks such as learning and exams, (3). Ultimately, these challenges require specific attributes such as motivation, optimism, and belief to be successfully achieved. Moreover, if the endeavours they set out complete result in failure, negative consequences on self-worth and motivation may be observed.
In response to this, positive affirmations render this problem obsolete through two primary mechanisms. Research demonstrates that the use of daily positive affirmations in students successfully enhances their motivation to confront challenges while simultaneously dampening the psychological impact of failure. It does this by essentially rewiring the mind to produce positive self-talk and belief in the face of adversity instead of its negative counterpart, (3).
This phenomenon has also been extensively studied in the workplace, where positive self-affirmations were found to successfully remedy feelings of powerlessness and low self-esteem, (4).
Young adults starting their careers in these contexts frequently receive many threats to their psychological health through hierarchal, socio-economic, and even gender-related factors. Due to this, it is not uncommon for self-esteem to receive a pronounced dip leading to feelings of powerlessness and anxiety.
Research has found that using positive self-affirmations effectively neutralises the impact of workplace-related psychological threats, imparting the user with additional agency and confidence in how they function around their colleagues, (4).
With a positive mental state induced through affirmations, perceived threats and external negativity no longer influences one’s emotions, and individuals begin to develop increased cognitive control over their emotions and perceptions.
Talking Hearts with positive self-affirmations
There are different iterations of Talking Hearts that aim to provide science-backed positive affirmations to all age groups. In response to the challenges that adolescents and young adults face, we have specifically curated over 50 pre-recorded positive affirmations that can be used by individuals who need that extra boost to function with confidence and the self-esteem that they deserve. To be implemented in diverse contexts such as school, university and the workplace, we aim to provide the opportunity to develop healthy thinking patterns that will boost confidence, self-esteem and ultimately help you regain control over your life.
For more information, visit the Talking Hearts Web Page at www.TalkingProducts.com and browse the different ways in which Talking Hearts can elicit positive change.
Article written by Matthias Laroche, (B.Sc. – Psychology and M.Sc. – Neuropsychiatry)
We also wish to extend our special thanks to Tamara Bogan, LPC, (Ed.S. Argosy University, Atlanta, USA). Tamara Bogan is a licensed psychotherapist in Coastal Georgia. She works with individuals, couples and parents. Tamara is also trained in Brainspotting and Trauma-Informed M-CBT. Please visit her website for more information: www.seatofresilience.com
1.) Beck, A. T. (2008). The evolution of the cognitive model of depression and its neurobiological correlates. American journal of psychiatry, 165(8), 969-977.
2.) Fiksdal, A., Hanlin, L., Kuras, Y., Gianferante, D., Chen, X., Thoma, M. V., & Rohleder, N. (2019). Associations between symptoms of depression and anxiety and cortisol responses to and recovery from acute stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 102, 44-52.
3.) Liu, C. H., Huang, P. S., Yin, X. R., & Chiu, F. C. (2021). Effects of Attribute Affirmation and Achievement Goals on High School Students' Motivation. Frontiers in Psychology, 3391.
4.) Albalooshi, S., Moeini-Jazani, M., Fennis, B. M., & Warlop, L. (2020). Reinstating the resourceful self: when and how self-affirmations improve executive performance of the powerless. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 46(2), 189-203.