Experts estimate that we have about 60,000 thoughts a day and that 50,000 of those are negative. That’s 80 percent negative thoughts, which translates to me as 80 percent negative results. It’s so easy, especially with what’s happening in the world today, to let our thoughts turn to fear, worry and fatalism. It’s important to acknowledge our feelings and note that we do have fear and concern, but when these thoughts start to rule our minds and become repetitive and distorted as mentioned in the previous chapters, it can lead to illness and negative changes in our bodies.

Add to this that 60 to 80 percent of visits to the doctor are caused by stress. If we look at our life at this exact second, where is the stress? Seriously, look at this moment in time. What is wrong? Our thoughts, and thus our stress, are often in the future and usually about something that we’re not even sure is going to happen. We talk about it, think about it and dwell on it even if it’s not guaranteed. We can’t control our emotions, but we can control our thoughts. One of the simplest and most effective techniques to change our internal dialogue is through the use of affirmations. By using the positive language of affirmations, we can reprogram our lives.

Why affirmations work

Affirmations are especially useful when negative thoughts interfere with our ability to fall asleep. Try repeating the following phrase, “I fall asleep quickly and easily, I wake up feeling refreshed.” Short phrases like this do one of two things: they program me to fall asleep quickly and wake up feeling refreshed or, at the very least, they shut out the other thoughts that are running through my head. There is a physics axiom that states: “Two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.” The same principle applies with our thoughts. We can’t be thinking two things at once. That’s what counting sheep is all about; it distracts us from those repetitive thoughts that plague us at bedtime. I’m not saying changing our thoughts and words is easy. On the contrary, it can be quite hard at first. Especially if we’ve been programmed to think negatively since we were young or are surrounded by negativity in our lives. But it can be done with a little practice and the results are phenomenal.

Rules of thumb for working with affirmations

» Make them short

» Keep them in the present tense

» Make them positive

» Repeat often

So don’t say, “I’m not sick anymore.” Rephrase your wording to, “I am healthy and well.” Saying, “I want to be rich,” puts the emphasis on the future and focuses on a current state of lack. Saying, “I am wealthy and abundant,” or “Money flows easily to me from unexpected sources,” creates a positive present scenario.

So you can see that affirmations can do more than just attract good health. Here are some more examples:

» I am wealthy and prosperous

» I am healthy and well

» My body is strong and resilient

» The universe provides for me

» I am divinely protected

» I attract love and support

» Supportive, helpful friends surround me

The most important thing is to recognize situations where you tend towards negativity and decide to change your mind. Going into situations with a negative attitude doesn’t benefit anyone and just makes life more unpleasant.

It’s easy to incorporate affirmations into your massage practice. Take some time before or after the session to discuss affirmations with your client. This is especially important if you see they’re prone to negative thinking about their body or certain situations. You can gently urge them to reframe their language from: “My neck always hurts,” to “My neck is strong and healthy,” can start to induce physiological changes.

Setting intentions

Similar to affirmations is setting intentions. My Reiki Master, Diane Vaughn, always set intentions before the Reiki attunements that she provided. I didn’t really understand it back then, but now I’m a believer in their importance. Often, when we set an intention for something, it becomes easier to achieve. She used to phrase them this way: My intention is to co-create with the universe, true healing for my body, mind and spirit. (Or whatever it is you are trying to achieve.)

She always started intentions, no matter what it was, with “co-create with the universe.” Then she wrote them down for me and asked me to repeat them throughout the day.

It only takes a few moments to practice the intention process with your clients. Take note what areas they would like to change and create (co-create) and help them design phrases that are empowering rather than limiting. The more we can expand our beliefs and consciousness, the more our worlds will expand with them. Always make sure this is something they’re interested in doing, as forcing them won’t help.

Dr. Kathy Gruver, PhD, LMT, RM is a natural health speaker, author, educator, practitioner and host of the National TV Series The Alternative Medicine Cabinet on OTV.
Excerpt from Body/Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker by Kathy Gruver, PhD. If you liked this excerpt, buy the book!