16 Affirmations to Enhance Your Problem-Solving Abilities
New research, published in PLOS ONE, from Carnegie Mellon University reports that using affirmations may protect against the damaging effects of stress on problem-solving performance.
David Creswell, assistant professor of psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences says, "An emerging set of published studies suggest that a brief self-affirmation activity at the beginning of a school term can boost academic grade-point averages in underperforming kids at the end of the semester. This new work suggests a mechanism for these studies, showing self-affirmation effects on actual problem-solving performance under pressure."
The study showed that students with high levels of chronic stress had an impaired problem-solving performance. Stress actually lowered their academic results by 50 or more errors. A brief self-affirmation exercise was effective in eliminating the harmful effects of stress on their problem-solving abilities. The simple step of using self-affirmations changed the participants performance to be at the same level of those with low stress.
"People under high stress can foster better problem-solving simply by taking a moment beforehand to think about something that is important to them," Creswell said. "It's an easy-to-use and portable strategy you can roll out before you enter that high pressure performance situation."
Positive affirmations are also more beneficial when they are used with different forms of intervention including working with a coach who has expertise in the behavioral sciences. Also, using affirmations is a form of meditation—a way to become more aware of your thoughts and accept where you are at the moment.
If you are experiencing negative thoughts, notice them without judgement and follow that by practicing good deeds and aligning values with your behaviors. If stress is blocking your ability to problem solve and think 'straight', then try closing your eyes, taking a deep breath and reciting these affirmations.
- All the answers lie within me
- I am the calm in the eye of the storm
- I am successful in all my endeavors
- I am the master of my destiny
- I am creative
- I am connected to the divine
- I find joy in creating solutions
- When I put my attention on finding an answer, it will appear
- I create order in my life
- I move through life with effortless ease
- I am patient and persistent
- I am always in the right place at the right time
- My ideas are unique and brilliant
- I am an expert problem solver
- Thank you universe for showing me an answer to every problem
- I am one with the universe.