Losing four family members in 2007 changed my thinking. I wondered if I would survive multiple losses. More worrisome, I wondered if I would ever be happy again. It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed an attitude adjustment. Somehow, I had to turn my negative thoughts to positive ones.

I began to write affirmations. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Affirmations came to me in the car, at the grocery store, and while I was fixing meals. At first, I wrote the affirmations in my mind. But I wrote so many affirmations I started a computer file of them. These affirmations became a book.

In the summer, while I was writing a book about grandparenting, I took a break from affirmation-writing. To be honest, I missed it. I missed searching for positives in my life and strong, action words. Instead of making resolutions, I decided to write affirmations for the New Year. What is an affirmation?

“Write Your Own Affirmations,” an article on the University of New Hampshire website, defines it as “a statement designed to bring about positive change in oneself or one’s environment.” As I have discovered, affirmation-writing is a proactive way to process grief. In fact, affirmation-writing may alter your grief journey.

These are the steps I follow to write affirmations.

1. Turn off all background noise and sit quietly for at least 10 minutes.

2. Think of something positive in your life.

3. Compose a sentence about it.

4. Use the present tense.

5. Check your word choices. (All of the words should be positive.)

6. Write one affirmation per sitting.

7. Continue to write affirmations and look for positive steps in your journey.

8. Apply these affirmations to your life.

According to the Affirmating website, you should write affirmations in cursive form to instill them in your sub-conscious. “You will also be visually taking this information through your eyes.” While I think this is a valid suggestion, I think you can also take in information you see on a computer monitor.

Write your affirmations as if they are true. “Always believe that what you are saying is happening,” notes the University of New Hampshire. “The more you believe, the stronger the affirmation.”

Choose positive words when you’re writing an affirmation, words such as believe, confident, value, grow, trust, make, care, give and honor. Here are some of the affirmations I wrote previously.

• When I am quiet I tap the wellspring of courage within me.

• With every breath I take I am thankful for the gift of life.

• Each morning I awaken with a sense of purpose.

Here are some of the affirmations I wrote last year.

• My grandchildren’s laughter fills me with love.

• I am finding new ways to give to others and this makes me feel good inside.

• Happy moments don’t mean I’ve forgotten my loved ones; rather, they are a sign of recovery.

Does life seem bleak? Are you stuck in grief? Do you feel like you’re going backwards on the recovery path? Try affirmation-writing. Creating affirmations will change your attitude and view of life. You may even write your way to happiness.

Harriet Hodgson 2011


Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 38 years, is the author of 36 books, and thousands of print/Internet articles. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. In 2007 four of her family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling), and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and recovery, and she is the author of eight grief resources. Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of blog talk radio programs, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website, and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, hospice, grief, and caregiving conferences. Hodgson’s work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy wife, grandmother, author and family caregiver, please visit www.harriethodgson.com.

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