The Power in Repeating Positive Affirmations

Recently, we flew through a massive lightening storm when landing in Sardinia. 

For me, this is not my first storm mid-air, or extreme turbulence I have experienced. I’ve shared the emergency landing I experienced at age 16 and the extent of the trauma it left me with. But luckily, this time was different. 

A few years ago, I learnt about positive affirmations; the practise of repeating positive words or phrases. They date back thousands of years and are practiced in cultures and religions all over the world. 

I never truly understood the power of positive affirmations until I began using them to cope with panic attacks, stress and anxiety; particularly when flying. 

Our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is our internal protective mechanism; if we perceive a thread, it initiates a reaction commonly understood as the fight, flight, or freeze response.

A situation that is perceived to be life threatening (it may, or may not actually be) sets off internal signals. We then create a “trauma response” to that situation. For situations in the future that trigger this same feeling, a memory or similar situation from a traumatic experience, our body sends off those internal signals that “this situation is not safe”. As individuals, we would react to the same situation differently based on our other neurological pathways and trauma response. 

But what if we were able to understand the pathways we have created and re-wire them so when we’re in high stress, or perceived life threatening situations, it doesn’t trigger a trauma response, or the response is not as negative as previously 🤯

I have done a lot of inner-work to understand and release trauma held in the body. One of the most beneficial and easiest tools I use is positive affirmations. 

About 2 years ago, when I felt anxious before and during flights, I began repeating

I am safe, I am happy, I am calm
Not once but maybe 100 times… over and over again until I feel calm. At first it seems ridiculous, especially when my ego takes over and internally starts saying “you’re not safe, you’re not calm.. you’re going to die”. But trust me, keep pushing through, because if we keep telling ourselves something, our brain starts to believe it. 

When there is turbulence, I repeat the affirmation “I am safe, I am happy, I am calm”. At times, I’ve been so scared I’ve cried, but still internally repeated these words. 

Now, months on, I truly believe I have re-wired my brain and it’s trauma response. I have re-wired old neurological pathways to create new ones. Now, when there is turbulence, without thinking about it my brain starts to repeat “I am safe, I am happy, I am calm”. The response is automatic and is much more enjoyable than the old pattern of “I’m about to die”. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still have moments of sweaty palms and a fast beating heart but with my internal dialogue repeating positive affirmations, I am able to easily self-regulate. 

Who else here uses positive affirmations? More commonly, looking in the mirror and telling yourself positive affirmations helps to empower you, increase your self worth and confidence!

Any questions about positive affirmations, or fear of flying, feel free to ask them in the comments below 🙏