Imagine you’re in the Stone Age, predators abound, so our brains are hardwired to a bias towards negativity, which helps us survive by keeping us in a state of constant vigilance. It was an important evolutionary trait that we’ve developed that saved us from being eaten by predators.
Now, we’re in the 21st century with fewer predators lurking everywhere, but our brains are still hardwired to notice negative stimuli. Hence, we always tend to remember the negative things more than the positive ones.
Our brains evolved to help humans navigate the world, searching for food, shelter, security, and reproduction. These evolutions led to a cognitive bias, which is essentially convicted beliefs, but with no justification.
Default cognitive biases are listed below
This tends to see more of the things we staunchly believe in or anything that already confirms our predetermined set of beliefs.
The Dunning Krueger Effect
Underqualified people, tend to overestimate their abilities, and experts underestimate their skills.
The Availability Heuristic
This belief that it must somehow be significant if we can recall a piece of information.
The Bias Blind Spot
This one is quite ironic because a person believes that others are more vulnerable to flawed thinking than themself.
These biases are not rational and are shortcuts the brain takes to ensure survival. But, this does not mean that we have to be stuck in a caveman mindset?
No! Positive affirmations act as an alternative backed by science to enable new modes and pathways of thinking, which can help us set up a more positive approach towards life, taking evolution to another, more relevant step.
Affirmations are essentially a form of cognitive bias, but with one key difference, the bias works in our favour through positive reinforcement. So through Affirmations, we are effectively using the science involved in forming a cognitive bias but turning it into a positive development instead of the original, negative process.
A study conducted by the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience used MRI scans to analyse positive affirmations.
It stated that when we state affirmations to ourselves, such as “I will top my exams” or “I will secure that promotion”, it activates the reward centres in our brain and boosts our mindset, furthering positive impact and upliftment.
The lead researcher, Christopher Cascio, has stated, “Many studies have shown that these circuits can do things like dampen pain and help us maintain balance in the face of threats.”
Our mind plays an essential role in all that we do. Hence, a gentle and positive nudge in the right direction, through affirmations, helps us keep negativity and overthinking at bay, promoting self-esteem and boosting our morale, allowing us to undertake all our activities with a renewed sense of confidence and vigour.
Do Affirmations Works? Yes, But How?
x1In the realm of Neuroscience, neuroplasticity is our brain’s ability to alter itself and adapt to different circumstances throughout life, which is also the key to affirmations.
Sometimes, our brain mixes up the signals it receives and cannot distinguish between imagination and reality, which can be helpful for affirmations. Our brain cannot distinguish between thought and action by creating visual imagery and activating the same regions in our brain that would be activated when experiencing the same situation in reality.
Therefore, with regular repetition, we can encourage our brain and create new pathways or modes of thinking that deviate from the established negative bias to foster positive reinforcement and action.
Therefore, before a stressful interview or an exam, we can boost our morale and calm our nerves by using positive affirmations.
But, bear in mind! Faith without action is dead, and we can only ensure a positive outcome when we put in the time and effort by fostering the right mindset through affirmations.
Remember, affirmations are not an end in themselves but only serve as a means to an end. Additionally, belief is critical! If an affirmation is over the top, it is harder for our body and mind to have faith.
We might convince ourselves, but deep down, if doubt sows, consciously or subconsciously, affirmations will not work.
So before you personalise a set of affirmations, always choose statements that you can thoroughly get behind with your body, mind and soul.
Knowing that we can effectively manage our stress and mindset is essentially a superpower, no doubt! And affirmations light up the way to the end goal.
So get on board and positively evolve. Why? “Because it is in your power!”