It’s Mental Health Awareness Month all over the globe, making it the perfect time to shed some light on the mental health struggles faced by a community that is often marginalized. Black Americans have experienced and continue to experience a profound level of discrimination and systemic racism. The effects of the two can have a troubling impact on one’s mental health and overall well-being.
Unfortunately, the number of people facing mental health challenges continues to rise and many Black Americans are still not receiving the mental health treatment that they deserve and need. Making things even more difficult, is the fact that there’s a negative stigma surrounding men’s mental health, especially in the Black community.
There are several things that have contributed to the Black community’s higher incidence of mental health disorders and challenges. From frequent exposure to discrimination and the pandemic to institutional racism and the social constructs of masculinity, keeping a positive outlook has been incredibly hard for a vast majority of Black men.
In addition to seeking therapy, opening up to a close circle of friends, and staying active, the regular use of positive affirmations can be surprisingly beneficial.
The Benefits of using Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are powerful, short statements that can be said aloud or reflected upon to interrupt a negative thought pattern. These statements challenge the unhelpful thoughts that hold you back — at work, in your social life, or when it comes to your own self-confidence.
Instead of letting your brain go down a path of negative thinking, focussing on a positive affirmation creates a new route for your brain, a more productive route. Ideally, positive thought patterns will become your brain’s default and impact your actions.
Positive affirmations for beginners
- I am proud to be Black
- I can use my own voice to stand up for myself and others
- I am releasing any feelings of shame around my identity
- I am enough
- I am surrounded by respect, love, and support
- Asking for help is a sign of self-awareness and self-respect
- Healing is possible for me
- I am safe, I am calm, I am in control
- How I feel matters
- I am successful, I am strong, I am confident
- My past is not a reflection on my future
- I overcome obstacles with ease
How to incorporate positive affirmations into your daily routine
Like with any new habit, incorporating positive affirmations into your life may feel strange and uncomfortable at first. But with practice, it will start to feel more natural — we promise!
In the beginning, you might need some help remembering to go over the positive affirmations you choose. If this is the case, leave a sticky note on your desk, beside your bed, in your car, or even set your phone alarm to remind you. It’s best to try and spend 3 to 5 minutes per day, repeating the positive affirmations that best suit your life and your goals. Every affirmation should be repeated 8 to ten times in a row, with confidence.
Writing your positive affirmations out on a piece of paper can be a helpful visual, which can be taped up near your bathroom mirror. As you get ready for work or school in the morning, read through the affirmations. This is a great way to start your day on the right foot and attract positive energy.
But most importantly, be patient with yourself. If you have a bad day and don’t feel like going through your positive affirmations, that’s totally okay. Sometimes a short, brief pity party is exactly what some people need to get through a bad day. Just make sure you resume your positive affirmations the following day.