Many of us now realize that the kinds of thoughts we think throughout most of the day create our reality. We try to program ourselves with positive self-talk, such as: ‘I am going to have a great day. All good things will flow to me, and everything that’s supposed to happen will happen.’
This approach works (and there’s been a good deal of research into it, detailed in my book The Intention Experiment ) because our brains, clever as they are in most other regards, cannot tell the difference between an action and a thought.
Most of the research on self-talk and mental rehearsal has focused on internal pep talks by individuals about themselves, but Veronica Son and Deborah Feltz of the Department of Kinesiology at Michigan State University designed an ingenious study to test what happens to individual performance when participants concentrate their self-talk on the group’s performance as a whole.
They randomly assigned 80 participants in a dart-throwing contest to one of three groups. The first group used self-talk statements that focused on each individual’s own ability and performance; the second used internal conversation that emphasized the group’s capabilities and performance; and the third, the controls, simply thought neutral internal statements. When Son and Feltz tallied the results, both personal confidence and performance were highest in those focusing on group affirmations. In other words, those using group-oriented self-talk displayed more confidence in the team but also performed better as individuals.
This study has enormous implications not merely for sport but for every aspect of our lives because it shows that focusing on the group’s efforts naturally raises everyone’s game. Just thinking ‘we’ helps ‘me’ do better.
Use ‘We’ Affirmations
Instead of thinking or repeating positive affirmations about yourself, try to frame the same thoughts about your immediate group as well as yourself. Suppose you’d like to carry out an affirmation about doing well at work. Instead of focusing on ‘I’, think of the team you work with and say out loud or in your head, ‘We all do well in our job today.’ If you are using an affirmation about your own health, think of your entire family and say to yourself, ‘My family is always healthy.’
Here are some other common affirmations and how to change them to ‘we’:
I have all that I need.
– We have all that we need.
I am cherished and loved.
– We are cherished and loved.
Things are getting better and better.
– Things are getting better and better for our neighborhood / all of us / our group at work / our
I’m going to succeed.
– We are going to succeed.
I am healthy and well in every way.
– We are healthy and well in every way.
I trust that the universal mind will send me the answer.
– We trust that the universal mind will send us the answer.
In your journal, list your typical positive affirmations about your own future, then write the same forecast, but about all of the people involved in that event: your family, your friends, your neighborhood and your workmates.
Journalist and author Lynne McTaggart is one of the preeminent spokespersons on consciousness, the new physics, and the practices of conventional and alternative medicine. The author of The Intention Experiment and The Field, she lectures worldwide and is co-executive director of Conatus, which publishes well-respected health and spiritual newsletters. She lives with her family in London