‘Why I believe in the power of positive affirmations’

Susan shares her advice on positive affirmations. Source: Getty

A long-standing friend told me in an email that she had been diagnosed with an illness that had no known cure. I was taken aback and didn’t know what to say in reply. Naturally I said how sorry I was and then, reflecting on the fact she said she was often bed-bound, recalled an article I had read in a medical study that reported that bed-bound patients should mentally picture themselves doing strengthening exercises and it seems their muscle strength actually improved; contrary to the deterioration of the muscle strength of the control group of patients who were being nursed in the usual way. I suggested she try it and also to suggested she repeat daily the affirmation: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” I told her that I am living proof that affirmations work.

I explained that when I closed my small hotel in France and went to live as carer for my parents in the UK from 1998 to 2000, I came across a book called The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches by Richard Gilly Nixon, based on the philosophy of Joe Karbo (now deceased). I asked my father about the book. He said: “Oh, I sent for that years ago but then on starting to read it I decided it was too much hard work for me!”

He had quite a sense of humour, my father. He told me I could have the book.

Thus began my transformation. The book explains that we can re-programme ourselves from thinking we aren’t achievers by saying affirmations out loud to ourselves first thing in the morning and last thing at night. He gave suggestions of what affirmations we should address to our sub-conscious “computer”. This was one of the affirmations: “I help others without telling anyone of my ‘good deeds’.” Another important one was: “I am good at science, understanding science is easy.” I had only done biology, not science, at school so always assumed I was science ignorant and never bothered to read up on scientific discoveries thinking I wouldn’t understand the jargon.

Another affirmation I put on my list was: “Doing accounts is easy, I can do my accounts in a week.” This was because I was putting off doing my end of year hotel and café-bar’s petty cash accounts ready for my accountant. It always seemed a giant task for me, all those bills and receipts to sift through! After only a few days of practicing those affirmations, one morning, I fetched the fat folder of bills and receipts and I made a start, and then again the next morning and by the end of the third morning, the accounts were done.

As for science, I started to follow newspaper reports of scientific discoveries, particularly medical ones which I filed. It had been a bit of a surprise to realise that medical discoveries came under the heading of ‘science’!

Another suggested affirmation was based on Karbo having needed a car and how he had pictured the type of car he wanted. His affirmation was based on him actually owning the car and he said a few weeks after that, the opportunity arrived for him to buy such a car cheaply. In my case it was a few years for me to get my dream car as I’d pictured a brand new estate car and so it was a while before I could buy one second hand.

After both my parents had died and I returned to France to run the hotel – this time simply as a guest house – I had time to pursue my writing hobby. I started to compile a booklet called A Pocket Full of Tips for lifelong well being. I based it on all the health reports I had been filing ever since I had started doing daily affirmations. A publisher of health books said he’d publish the booklet and he helped edit it but his financial situation changed and he couldn’t go ahead with the project. He suggested I self- publish but I didn’t have the money or an internet connection for my computer to do that so I concentrated on writing a memoir of the challenges I had faced as a female hotel and café-bar proprietor in France.

Now I’m looking for a publisher for that. Meanwhile I write blogs and find it most satisfying. My affirmation list had included the true statement that I was a published writer (I’d had articles published in the past) so the only progress I made on that score was having blogs published by Starts at 60. I think I’d better start redoing the affirmations stating I am a published book writer – just goes to show the effect of not including one important word!

So there you are, I have shown that we can re-programme our minds, so that should mean we are able to re-programme the parts of our bodies that have started to malfunction by using our sub-conscious ‘computer’. (Google epigenetics mind body). The key is that we don’t say anything negative in our affirmations, we have to word them realistically and positively as if it’s already happening, for example to stop smoking without suffering withdrawal symptoms you could say: “I reduce my intake of nicotine.” To improve on your health you could say: “My body is repairing itself, every day in every way, I am getting better and better.”

Do you recite affirmations?

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