9 Affirmations to Always Stay Positive
These simple phrases can change your life for the better, experts say.
Life is hard, and no one gets out unscathed. At some point or another, every one of us will confront a personal challenge, whether that's the loss of a loved one, disease or disability, financial insecurity, or something else. The key, experts say, is maintaining a healthy mindset as you navigate these challenges—not with toxic positivity that ignores the very real difficulties you face, but with a perspective that leaves the door open for positivity when possible and helps you avoid destructive coping mechanisms in your darkest moments. And one of the easiest ways to achieve this is through positive affirmations.
"Difficult times can often act as a trigger for unhelpful or unhealthy behaviors. Affirmations are a useful tool which can help to reduce this risk, interrupting negative thought cycles and disrupting detrimental patterns of behavior," explains Lea McMahon, EdD, LPC, the chief clinical officer at Symetria Recovery.
In fact, you don't have to wait until you're facing a serious struggle to start enjoying the benefits of positive self-affirmations—McMahon says she recommends affirmations for anyone "who wants to build a better relationship with themselves."
Looking for just the right mantras to stay positive through life's ups and downs? Read on for the nine best affirmations, according to mental health professionals.
9 Positive Affirmations
1. "I am resilient, and I can adapt to change."
You can't always face new problems with old coping tools—adaptability is essential. That's why focusing on your capacity for growth can help you stay more positive through difficult times, reminding you that although you may not currently have all the answers, you are resilient enough to push through and find the tools you'll need to succeed.
"This affirmation reminds us of our inner strength and our capacity to bend without breaking. It's a gentle nudge that fosters a growth mindset, allowing us to navigate life's inevitable twists and turns," says Dan Auerbach, a psychologist and clinical director at Associated Counsellors & Psychologists in Sydney, Australia.
2. "I am worthy of love, happiness, and respect."
Affirmations that remind you of your inherent self-worth can help boost your confidence and self-perception, ultimately helping you stay more positive and more sure of your place in the world.
"The key word here is 'worthy.' When we struggle to value ourselves, it can make it difficult to make decisions which serve us," says McMahon. "This impacts each person in a different way. Some people may actively make choices which are harmful to themselves, while others may not find the motivation to care for themselves. Reminding ourselves we are worthy helps us make choices which align with this and are in our best interests."
3. "I find joy and purpose in every day."
As the popular quote goes, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." Put another way, not every day is going to be easy, but every day can still present opportunities for joy and purpose—however big or small those may be.
"By focusing on the positive aspects of daily life, this affirmation encourages us to seek happiness in small moments. It's about embracing the present and finding joy in the now, regardless of external circumstances," says Auerbach.
4. "I am in control of my emotions and reactions."
When life throws you a curveball, realizing the limits of your control can feel destabilizing. By focusing on the control you still have over your reaction rather than the situation itself, you can regain a feeling of empowerment.
"This affirmation puts us in the driver's seat of our emotional state," explains Auerbach. "It's empowering and fosters self-awareness, helping us to respond rather than react, even in the face of adversity."
R.Y. Langham, PhD, a clinical psychologist working with Impulse Therapy, agrees that this is a powerful way to approach difficult moments.
"Amidst chaos, there's solace in knowing that while we might not always have control over external circumstances, our internal reactions remain within our domain. Embracing this affirmation empowers us, fostering a sense of agency even in turbulent times," she tells Best Life.
5. "I choose to let go of negativity and focus on positive aspects of my life."
Sometimes you have to tackle a problem head-on in order to resolve it. However, dwelling on negative things that can't be changed can leave you feeling helpless and hopeless.
Najamah Davis, MSW, LCSW, a licensed behavioral health therapist, recommends repeating this affirmation, which pushes you to spend more time reflecting on the positive aspects of your life than you do on the negative ones.
"This affirmation encourages us to shift our focus and energy towards the good in our lives. It reframes our thoughts, attitude, and teaches us gratitude," she says.
6. "I trust the journey and can embrace the unknown."
Approaching the unknown with openness and even curiosity can help ease some of the fear and tension associated with the unpredictability of life. Though this can admittedly be difficult to do, it can ultimately open you up to getting in touch with a wider range of emotions and a deeper connection with your sense of humanity.
"Life is filled with uncertainties, and this affirmation helps us make peace with that reality," says Auerbach. "It promotes trust in ourselves and the process, enabling us to move forward with courage and confidence."
7. "This too shall pass."
When you're viewing life from the vantage point of "rock bottom," it's hard to imagine how things can improve. Remembering that the feelings you experience during your most challenging moments are subject to change can be a powerful way to begin the healing process, allowing you to make room for positivity again.
"The beauty of this statement lies in its timeless wisdom," explains Langham. "It serves as a gentle nudge, reminding us that everything, including our struggles, has an expiry date. By leaning into this belief, we equip ourselves with a perspective that sees beyond the present moment and into the larger arc of our life journey."
8. "Life's challenges are an opportunity for growth."
Not every challenge in life leaves a person better or stronger—some can break you down and leave you feeling worse for the wear. Yet many life challenges present an opportunity for growth and development, and looking for those lessons rather than focusing on the losses can be deeply transformative.
"Instead of feeling defeated by hardships, this perspective encourages us to view them as stepping stones, each one taking us a step closer to our personal growth and evolution," says Langham.
The psychologist recommends reflecting on past difficulties from which you've emerged stronger, more informed, or more resilient.
"Drawing strength from our past triumphs can be incredibly empowering. This affirmation is a testament to our inherent resilience and serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us of our past victories and our capacity to overcome," she says.
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9. "I don't have to struggle alone."
It can be especially difficult to stay positive when you feel isolated in your pain. Langham says that many people shy away from tapping into their support systems during difficult times, not realizing how much even one meaningful connection can change the experience.
"Loneliness can amplify our struggles. It's vital to remember that, even in isolation, we're never truly alone," explains Langham. "Whether it's our friends, family, or even a broader community, support is often just an outreach away. Embracing this affirmation can be the first step in seeking the connections we yearn for."
If you genuinely feel that you don't have a support system in place, this affirmation can also be a helpful reminder to look for those networks. Finding a trusted therapist can be a good place to begin.