Why your affirmations are not working

You’ve probably heard of “affirmations” and “mantras”, maybe you’ve heard “manifesting” as well. But how the hell do you do it? Sure, it sounds easy… just think what you want and you’ll get it! But you’ve probably tried that with no success. Your affirmations are not working. I’m here to tell you what you really need to do to make it work.

First, let’s talk about a study. I don’t know exactly where it was done as I heard about it second-hand but just go with me here. Participants were asked to think a thought while being observed using several technologies, including MRI and pulse oximeters.

person getting and MRI scan
Person getting an MRI scan

It was observed that when a thought was held for 45 seconds or less it had NO EFFECT on the brain. None, nada. Now, I don’t know about you but when I’ve come up with affirmations they take maybe 5 seconds to say. And I usually repeat them 3 times at best, this study suggests that even if you say that affirmation 9 times it has no effect.

But it gets better, participants who held a thought between 1 and 2 minutes had a noticeable change in brain activity. The brain was physically changed at this point. Unfortunately, the change only lasted about 45 minutes. So, if you’re saying your mantra 12-24 times you are going to change your brain… for less than an hour. This may work for some affirmations like, “I have finally written that blog post on affirmations” but for anything long-term it just won’t.

So what do we do? Turns out, 5 minutes is the magic number. Any thoughts held this long or longer had a PERMANENT IMPACT on brain chemistry. Participants reacted to these thoughts identically to if the scenario was playing out before their eyes. They created a physical object out of nothing and it had permanence. That’s amazing, right?

Now 5 minutes is a long time, the equivalent of repeating a 5 second affirmation 60 times. I’m not going to do that and you probably won’t either. So, what’s the secret?


Maybe you can’t hold the same thought for 5 minutes, but you can certainly create a video in your head for that long. Take that mantra or affirmation and turn it into something real. See it, feel it, keep it in your mind as long as you can. Just make sure it’s at least 5 minutes and you will change. If your current affirmations are not working, try this method!

Need help coming up with affirmations or more advice on creating the right mental video? Click the link below to book a call with me and we can discuss what you’re doing now that isn’t working and what you can do to change it.

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