The Science of Positive Affirmations.

There is now definitive science that supports the idea that reading and saying positive statements, or affirmations, can help us to be happier.

For years we believed that we couldn’t grow new brain cells. We were taught that brain cells grew and developed only when we were babies, and by the time we were about 2 years old, that was it. What we had would have to do us for the rest of our lives and every drink of alcohol and knock on the head would chip away at our supply.

Well, thank goodness that science now supports that our brains never stop growing and changing and that they are completely responsive. Not only can we continue to grow new brain cells but we can also rewire our brains to serve us better.

It’s all about neurogenesis & neuroplasticity.

Scientists have discovered that growing new brain cells, or neurogenesis, can occur throughout our lifetime. What is also exciting is the discovery that we can actually rewire our brains. This is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change throughout an individual’s life. This has amazing implications, especially in regard to healing from injury, continued learning and improving our mental health and happiness.

In the recent past, doctors realised that some stroke patients were regaining lost movement, cognition and speech with treatment and therapy. How were they doing this if that part of their brain was damaged? Well, the answer was neuroplasticity. The brain was rewiring other parts of itself to take over from the damaged cells and thus bring back function. This wasn’t happening for all patients. This phenomenon was most apparent in patients that didn’t give up and accept their diagnosis but continually worked towards improvement.

Their effort was working to forge new neural connections where before there were none. Neural connections are flows of electricity between our brain cells. We can picture our neural connections like well-worn paths or even busy freeways in our brains. As with all electricity, our brains will fire along the path of least resistance down well-established neural connections to create our thoughts, feelings and actions. Familiar actions and thought patterns will follow strong neural connections.

Our internal attitude and overall happiness can be undermined if we are constantly giving ourselves negative self-talk and seeing the worst in our situation. In doing this we are actually training our brain to develop unhealthy neurological pathways and these thoughts become habit.

Neuroplasticity is exciting because it gives us the power to change our thought patterns and subsequently improve our lives.

We can turn our negative self-talk and attitude into a more positive outlook and give ourselves the gift of happiness.

Doing so takes effort at first. We have to work to create new neurological connections. The more we repeat a new thought or action the neural pathway will become clearer, wider and more familiar just like a real path would. Like any new action or skill, the more we practice, the more it becomes familiar and eventually, it will become second nature.

Repeating positive affirmations and inspirational sayings will help us to create new positive neural connections.

In fact, positive affirmations have been used successfully in the treatment of depression and anxiety.

This whole idea is so exciting! This knowledge gives us the control to create our own happiness.

This is why I love positive sayings and affirmations and post these daily on the Happiness is a Decision Facebook page. To some, they might seem a bit cheesy or trite but reading them and thinking about them is working in my brain to create new positive thought paths and I hope that they are helping others to do the same thing.

Like our Facebook page to see these positive sayings in your daily feed and start rewiring your brain to see the positive side of life.

Megan Ruffino
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