In the world of self-improvement, affirmations are incredibly popular and some teachers are now bringing them into their classroom too! The idea is nice: we’re meant to repeat phrases that we wish to be true over and over in the hope that it will go into our subconscious and we’ll believe it. So say we’re feeling really down one day. We can repeat the phrase “I am happy.” But does that really work? Does saying it make it true? Well, at best we might get a temporary high or feel motivated for a short time, but in the long term it’s less likely to have lasting effects. And there is a very important reason why…
The problem is that’s not enough and we’re missing an important step — that is to remove the doubt. If deep down, we don’t believe the affirmation we are making then no matter how much we say it, it will never make a difference if we’re blocking it with our disbelief. The same will happen for our students, too. If we give them affirmations to repeat such as “I am smart, I can succeed,” unless they remove the doubt lingering underneath in their subconscious, it’s all a waste of time. In order for us to make changes in our lives, we have to believe that we can first!
So how do we make ourselves believe something? Well the answer lies in the power of the brain! Our brains are amazing and complicated computers and there’s a lot we don’t know about them yet, but one thing I do know is that they are programmed to find answers and close loops. We hate being left without answers! Have you ever watched your favourite TV show and been left feeling anxious or frustrated when it ends on a cliff hanger and you know you can’t watch the next episode right away? Yeah, that feeling is no fun! It’s because our brains like to close the loops and find out answers to everything. So how do we use this information to help us with affirmations? Well, what about if we got our brains to find out information and prove it to ourselves instead?!
Want to be happy? Instead of repeating “I am happy” when you clearly don’t feel that way, ask yourself questions instead such as “What makes me happy in life?” “How do I know that makes me happy?” “When was the last time I felt really happy?” and your brain, being the awesome computer that it is, will go to work and look hard to find answers for those questions – really! Try it yourself! Ask yourself a question and watch your brain try and figure it out for you! It won’t let you down! If your brain tries to be stubborn and sassy with you by saying “Nothing makes me happy!” then try again and say something like “Yeah, but if you had to find something, what would it be?” And you’ll see — it will work!
What this is doing is helping your brain find evidence to back up the affirmation statement. The statement itself is not enough as there may be feelings of doubt underneath, but if you get your brain to find out reasons why this affirmation is true, then the doubt goes and you can start believing the statement to be true.
So if you want to start with affirmations yourself or if you want to bring them into your classroom for your students but are not sure where to start with statements and quality questions to help remove the doubt, then I have a freebie just for you!
I have created a set of five affirmation cards with quality questions on the back to help guide and prompt you or your students to remove doubt and really believe the statement.
These five affirmations all focus on resilience as that is something many of us and our students need help with – we all have tough times we need to go through.
The cards come in 2 sizes, postcard and business card – the postcard sizes are handy for putting on pinboards or lockers and the business card ones are great for keeping in a bag, wallet or pocket for quick references and reminders!
And there’s more! They are in a colouring page style too so they are designed to be coloured in and then can be laminated!
The great thing about spending time colouring them in, is one, it saves on ink and money, two it allows time for mindfulness where you or your students can sit and relax for a few minutes reflecting on the statement and questions, and three it personalises each card to help you connect with it more – seeing your doodles reminds you of how you were feeling when you were colouring it in and answering the questions in your mind!
By spending time colouring these in, you will give yourself time to be creative and then associate that feeling when you look at the cards again in the future. It’s all mind games and using the power of our brains to achieve our potential.
Katie has been teaching for over a decade and is still teaching full time in a school in London, England! She quickly learned that her students needed more support with their mindset and personal development in order to overcome difficulties and continue being their best, but found there was very limited support for teachers to help. She has since been on a mission to change this, and now her passion is to help you support students’ emotional well-being by integrating character and creativity into the classroom. She shares free teaching ideas for how to do this over at TeachersResourceForce.com, and she also has a podcast offering free personal development for teachers to help you be the best teacher you can be too. You can check it out at “Teach On, Teach Strong.”