Everyone falls prey to negative self-talk, and this is especially true for women. Think about it: When is the last time you spoke words of encouragement to yourself? If this concept is new to you — or you're not sure where to start — you might want some positive self-affirmation phrasesto keep in your back pocket.
And as it turns out, this simple trick can yield powerful results. "Positive affirmations work because when you create new neural pathways in your brain and repeat them over and over, it’s like blazing a trail through a forest, then repeatedly walking the trail so that it becomes more discernible and easy to maneuver," explains Avery Roth, a career change coach. "They are most effective when you have an ongoing practice of using them. For instance, if you want to cultivate a mindset to combat stress, a positive affirmation would reflect the opposite of stress, such as calm."
Farah Harris, a licensed clinical professional counselor, points out that a lot of the put-downs we tell ourselves on repeat are things we've heard from other people. "Often, the unhealthy self-dialogue originates from someone other than us. A parent, teacher, classmate or someone from our past can say something to us that impacts us in such a way that we actively need to combat the negativity with positive affirmations." And while this technique can help you muster the motivation you need to keep moving on (and up), she warns, "Self-affirming phrases cannot replace personal development. If you aren’t growing in self-awareness and owning up to areas in which you can improve, self-actualization will be difficult to attain."
So whether you're dealing with stress at work, self-esteem issues, or a toxic relationship is throwing you for a loop (whether with a partner or a friend), finding some confidence from within can help you stay optimistic, and can even bring you clarity. And while your personal mantra should ring true for you, there's no shame in borrowing others' words of wisdom or keeping them as simple as telling yourself "I love you." Read on for inspiration from CEOs, founders, and mental health professionals, who share their favorite phrases for relieving anxiety and promoting self-love.