Author and publisher Louise Hay’s work was founded on the belief that any emotional problem or physical illness can be treated through positive thinking. One of the key elements of her work is the use of affirmations, repeating positive statements in order to challenge negative thinking habits. This practice is often helpful for those experiencing chronic pain, and I usually recommend affirmations in combination with other pain therapy strategies. The best-selling author of ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ and founder of Hay House Publishing died aged 90 last month, but her teachings continue to inspire and help people around the world.
What are Affirmations?
One of Louise Hay’s main strategies was using affirmations to change thought processes. Much of what we think and say is negative, and by repeating patterns of negative thinking we create negative experiences for ourselves. Affirmations encourage individuals to embrace a more positive way of thinking, and therefore bring about positive changes in their lives.
Every time we speak or think we are creating an affirmation. Becoming angry about something is an affirmation that you want more anger in your life, and so it is difficult to break the cycle of negativity. A positive affirmation is a statement written in the positive, in the present tense and with an emotional charge. Reciting positive statements is a way of telling the unconscious mind that you are taking responsibility for your emotions and you are aware that there is something you can do to change.
How Affirmations Can Help
In her ‘little blue book’, which later became the bestseller Heal Your Body, Louise noted a range of illnesses and their possible emotional causes, followed by a ‘healing affirmation’ to help patients improve their symptoms and treat their condition through changing the way they think. She linked various types of back pain to repressed emotions such as guilt, fear and feelings of lacking emotional support, and provided an affirmation to recite to improve symptoms by addressing the emotional cause.
Much of her writing is inspired by her experience of cancer. Louise turned down medical treatment when she was diagnosed with cancer in the late 1970s, choosing to follow an intensive programme of affirmations, forgiveness, visualisation, nutritional cleansing and psychotherapy instead. She believed the resentment associated with her experience of abuse in childhood led to the onset of the disease, and aimed to clear the pattern of emotional repression through positive affirmations. Within six months of her diagnosis, Louise reported her cancer was cured, and attributed this to overcoming resentment.
For affirmations to be effective, it is recommended to set aside time to repeat positive affirmations that are relevant to your own circumstances. Louise suggested reciting affirmations a minimum of once a day, but the more frequently they are repeated, the more likely they are to be effective. Repeating an affirmation such as ‘I release the past. I am free to move forward with love in my heart’ once a day can be helpful for sufferers of back pain, but if the rest of your thoughts are negative, the negative emotions will continue to dictate your experiences and you are unlikely to see an improvement in your symptoms.
Practicing affirmations and self-love are techniques which can be effective at taking control of repressed emotions and channelling them into something positive. Sufferers of chronic pain conditions can find these techniques help to alleviate their symptoms. As a pain therapist, I recommend specific affirmations to my clients among other techniques to help them become pain free for good. Get in touch to find out more or book a consultation.