Affirmations and visualizations are proven ways to affect thoughts and beliefs (which, in turn, affect actions and outcomes). These techniques aren’t just for “crunchy, new-age types”; athletes, executives, spiritual leaders, and many others have benefited from practicing positivity for ages. These are some useful tools to have in your kit, not just for pregnancy and birth, but in any life situation for which you desire confidence and positivity. And, best of all, there are no negative side effects! Here are some tips and points to remember for enacting these simple techniques.
*Is there a certain worry or concern which seems stuck in your head and is holding you back from feeling confident and free? Turn that negative thought on its head and make it into a positive affirmation. For example, if I am feeling very worried that I won’t know how to be a good parent, I might use the affirmation: “I am the perfect parent for my child.”
*Creating affirmations requires POSITIVE NOW LANGUAGE. Notice the affirmation above is in the present tense and framed in the positive, (rather than “I am not going to mess up as a parent.”) Our brains latch on to the negatives in a sentence, giving the opposite results we desire. And if we’re using a future tense, the desired outcome will always be ahead of us, just out of reach.
*Many of us react more intuitively to images than words. If you can add a picture or image to your affirmation (even a simple symbol, doodle, or stick figure), it can make it easier for your mind to connect with the positive thought.
*Sometimes we become discouraged when working with affirmations because we have a hard time truly believing in the positive statement. Start by sitting with your affirmation and envisioning the positive outcome. How does it feel in my physical body if this statement is absolutely true? Focus on that feeling and let it wash over you. Each time you read the affirmation, bring yourself back into that feeling and the good way your body reacts to it.
* Place your affirmations/images in places where you’ll see them often throughout the day: on your bathroom mirror, your car dashboard, or the refrigerator door, for example.
*Try writing each affirmation ten to twenty times a day. Repetition and writing are both powerful methods for auto-suggestion.
*It can also be helpful to make a recording of your own voice or of a loved one reading your affirmations and then listen to them when your mind is relaxed such as when you’re driving or falling asleep.
*Positive visualization is another form of affirmation. For this technique, spend time visualizing your dream labor and birth scenario in as much detail as possible. Add plenty of sensory input to your visualization. Feel warm water on your skin, the smell of lavender massage oil, the sound of your favorite relaxing music in each moment of your imagined story. You can add some of these details in “real life” as you visualize in order to strengthen the association, and then later use these same relaxing sensations in your real labor experience to increase pleasure sensations and to “cue” positivity. Your visualization story can also be written or recorded.
During pregnancy, heart and mind are often “open doors”. Take care that you only let in positive, empowering thoughts and feelings at this time. The choice of what you let through the door is yours.
Just like many other techniques that are useful to us in labor and birth, these tools can continue to serve you in other areas of life beyond this time. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn these skills for use on your continued parenting journey.
Check out my other posts on this blog to see specific affirmation ideas! Please contact me if you would like to purchase your own set of beautiful laminated affirmation cards for your own enjoyment or to give as a special gift to an expectant friend!