How Do Affirmations Work for Managing Anger?

Cheese board with flowers and Rose crystal and an affirmation card.

Anger is an emotion that can overwhelm our nervous system, spilling over and disrupting our mental, physical, and relational health. While anger is a natural and important response to one’s environment, chronic unmanageable anger can have devastating consequences on your overall health and relationships. There fortunately are a multitude of tools for learning how to navigate and mitigate anger, however, one technique growing in recognition is affirmations. This blog post will address the scientific reasoning behind the utility of affirmations as a strategy for mitigating anger’s tight grip. 

What are Affirmations?

Affirmations are positive, intentional statements of support that are repeated with the purpose of creating new supportive pathways for your subconscious mind. These statements are developed with the intention of challenging stuck negative beliefs or thoughts. This practice is sometimes misunderstood as a ‘self-help gimmick,’ however, the benefits of consistently utilizing these positive affirmations to manage aggressive behavior are supported by current scientific research. 

The Scientific Support Behind Affirmations 

How do Affirmations Help with Aggressive Behavior?

Affirmations can be perceived as a way of working towards reinforcing the mind and body’s desired responses to anger through behavioral conditioning. By creating a consistent habit of reaffirming more empowering attitudes and beliefs, you can slowly shift your reactionary patterns. While affirmations and their impact have been indicated to take a few weeks to a few months before the consistency shows its influence the gradual and consistent practice works toward overwriting your ingrained anger responses, eventually replacing them with more balanced and constructive instinctual alternatives. 

How do Affirmations Help with  Negative Thinking? 

Anger is an emotion that often arises from irrational or distorted thinking. Affirmations can work towards readjusting one’s thought patterns creating a system of relating to oneself that is based on more rational and productive thinking. With continual practice and intention, affirmations can aid in the rewiring of negative thought patterns towards more empowering and supportive baseline beliefs. Over time, reducing the frequency and intensity of overwhelm by anger aids in the ability to self-regulate and navigate conflict. 

How do Affirmations help with Emotional Regulation?

Studies indicate that consistently using affirmations can have a calming impact on the nervous system. They work by aiding in the regulation of emotions such as anger as the conscious repetition can activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). When the PNS is engaged it induces relaxation and de-escalates the physiological arousal system that is associated with anger. The more often that these positive reframes and statements are repeated the more that the mind learns to associate with them and can more easily regulate counteracting against the demands of anger. 

 How do Affirmations Help with Stress Reduction?

Chronic stress has been seen to be a significant contributor to one’s navigation and vulnerability to anger. Meanwhile, affirmations have been associated with the lessening of negative impacts of stress through the implementation of a more positive frame of mind and the solidification of a healthy coping mechanism. The integration of affirmations into one’s day-to-day life can aid in one’s resilience to everyday stressors and reduction in the negative consequences of anger symptomatology, thus making affirmations a great tool for stress management

 Do Affirmations Help with Self Empowerment?

Lastly, an important aspect of affirmations is centered in the development of a self-empowering perspective. The practice of reinforcing self-affirmation positive qualities such as tuning into your compassion, patience, and resilience can work towards increasing your connection to your self-esteem. The sourcing of reaffirming your self-trust and capacity for achieving your goals can aid in a greater sense of connection to your emotions and a shift towards a more optimistic perspective. When you put the work into cultivating self-efficacy the rewards can often be found in the reduction of overwhelm by anger and its triggers.  

 What are the Five Tips for Effective Affirmations?

  1. Affirmations that are personalized work more directly to confront and challenge your unique anger triggers
  2. The benefits of affirmations come from regular and repetitive use, try to create a routine of utilizing them during relaxing periods of your day
  3. Visualization tools such as reminders or written notes can help to solidify the use of affirmations throughout the day strengthening your practice
  4. Affirmations work well in tandem with mediation practices or intentional deep breathing as they reinforce the benefits of engaging the parasympathetic nervous system
  5. Reminder to be patient and consistent with this tool as the benefits typically require time and continued intention

While beginning the practice of daily affirmations can be difficult, we hope that after reading this you start to consider it as a helpful addition to your self-care routine. The way one talks to oneself can have wide-reaching implications, slowing down to become more intentional with your words can help in the cultivation of your self-awareness, ability for self-control, and deepening the access to your resilient parts. Affirmations are not likely or intended to utterly rid you of anger, as it is an important emotion and messenger. However, affirmations are scientifically supported as a proactive skill for increasing your sense of well-being and cultivating more space for you to respond with intention. If you would like help with creating daily affirmations customized for your needs, contact our Center today to get started.

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