How Fast Should Affirmations Be? Try the Speed of Thought

impressionist painting representing the speed of thought

Time for affirmations, here we go. 1, 2, 3, zip zip zip… and DONE! Wait, is that how affirmations are supposed to go? Perhaps taking it slow is the way to go.

How fast should affirmations be? Affirmations are best practiced at the speed of thought. You’ll find that useful for creating default thinking patterns that reflect the reality you want to experience in your world.

How Fast Should Affirm— Wait, Hold on a Sec

Okay, I know you’re asking how fast affirmations “should” be. And I get where you’re going with this, but let’s get one thing clear first.

There’s not a single thing that you should do in the world unless you first identify what outcomes you want.

Even still, I get what you’re going for here. You’re hoping to learn more about how to develop a useful practice of affirmations. Perhaps “How fast do I want my affirmations to be?” would be a different way you could phrase things.

But however, if you’d prefer to word this question, let’s dig into some possible answers.

How Fast Should Affirmations Be? Keeping Pace with Your Thoughts

As you’re wondering about affirmation speed, one question on your mind might be how speedily you should say the words. Is it better to rattle them off at shotgun speed or slow down and say them as calmly and deliberately as possible?

My advice on this topic is to go no faster than you can think about the meaning of the words. If your tongue is moving faster than your brain, then you’ll probably find it useful to slow down.

Letting your mind keep up with your mouth allows you to connect with the words in a more authentic way. You may get more juice out of them.

Part of what we’re doing with affirmations practice is creating default thinking patterns for ourselves. So maybe try to keep pace with your natural speed of thinking. If your goal isn’t to bring rushed words to mind, then try not to practice them at that pace.

How Fast Should Affirmations Be? Choosing a Useful Length

As you think about the pace of affirmations, you might also be curious about the length of your affirmation sentences. Is it more useful to keep them concise, or will you get more out of affirmations if you pack a whole lot of ideas into each phrase you say?

My general recommendation is to stick no more than three ideas into one affirmation. Maybe you’ll occasionally want to go up to five or so.

Limiting the number of things you mention in an affirmation allows you to fully focus on each one. You can immerse yourself in the idea that your words are conveying.

When one affirmation conveys multiple thoughts, you’ll be shifting your focus from one idea to another during your affirmations practice.

For instance, if your affirmation is “I am healthy, I am my own safe space, I release anxiety, and everyone in my life is protected,” you’re going to be covering a lot of ground every time you recite it. Not all of those ideas flow together super smoothly.

When using this affirmation:

  • You might first envision how it feels to have a strong, healthy body.
  • Your mind might next create a picture of you with armor that protects you from attacks.
  • After that, it could be time to let your body feel the relief of letting stress and worries flow away from you.
  • Finally, you might bring to mind the image of a bubble of safety that covers each of your loved ones.

That’s a lot to do in one session.

That’s not to say that these aren’t all useful affirmations. In fact, you can find each of them in our article “30 Affirmations for Protection You Need Today.”

It’s just that it may be more beneficial to focus on the statements one or two at a time. Or, you can pick a few interconnected ideas and group them together into one slightly longer affirmation.

How Fast Should Affirmations Be? Deciding How Many Reps

Next, you may be interested in knowing how much time affirmations typically take. Can you rush through saying your chosen phrase once or twice and then move on with your life until tomorrow? Do experts recommend saying each affirmation a certain number of times each day?

There’s no magic number to affirmations practice. One common idea, though, is to repeat your affirmation 108 times in a row. There are 108 beads on a string of mala beads, so you can say it once on every bead. This provides an easy goal with a built-in way to keep track of your count.

If you do 108 reps per day, within 93 days — about three months — you’ll have said it 10,000 times. That’s an arbitrary number, but it’s still a great one to shoot for. It gives you a goal to work toward.

How Fast Should Affirmations Be? Finding What Works for You

My Story

Let me tell you my story of getting started with affirmations practice. My first affirmation was “I’m calm, confident, funny, relaxed, energetic, entertaining, interesting, and able.”

Was it too long? Maybe some people would say so; I even said as much myself just a few paragraphs above. There are eight ideas packed into that one sentence!

I can tell you from experience, though, that this lengthy affirmation worked really, really well for me.

For a long time, I chose the “brute force” approach to practicing this affirmation. I said it again and again and again. Day in and day out, I repeated this same sentence to myself to the point that now, 10 years later, those words still roll fluidly off my tongue.

I can’t say that I slowed down and took my time with this phrase each time I recited it. No, it’s probably more accurate to say that I rattled the words off.

Maybe I would have gotten more out of this affirmation if I’d slowed down and really thought about the words each time. You know, by putting eight ideas into one affirmation, this sentence covered a whole lot of ground. Calmness and confidence aren’t exactly synonyms.

With more deliberate affirmation practice, I might picture the sea after a storm when thinking about calmness. I could envision myself sitting quietly. I might even play in my mind what it would be like to stay emotionally grounded while someone was yelling at me.

Then, for confidence, my thinking might shift. Perhaps I’d find it useful to picture myself standing up taller and projecting my voice louder. I could think about being seen.

Have I done these things every time I’ve recited “I’m calm, confident, funny, relaxed, energetic, entertaining, interesting, and able”? No, probably not. Even still, I’m living proof that this affirmation and the way I first practiced it worked for me.

Your Story

So if you’re asking yourself, “How fast should affirmations be?” I’d encourage you to find what works for you. Maybe it will follow each of my top guidelines for affirmations practice. Maybe your approach will break all the “rules.” But if it’s useful for you, then go for it.

You might get more out of the experience if you slow down and really dwell on each word you say.

But on the other hand, at any speed, you’ll still benefit from another aspect of saying positive affirmations: not filling your head with negative thoughts. It’s useful not to think negative thoughts about yourself.

(Ooh, that whole paragraph had a lot of negative words in it. I may be breaking my own recommendations. If you, like me, could use a refresher on negative words in affirmations, click here.)

Sometimes, I compare practicing affirmations to reading books. If you read just one book at a time, you might go really deep with its contents.

stack of books, punk art style

If you read seven books at the same time, you’ll get different benefits from each. You might not contemplate each as deeply as if you’d sat down with just one subject. On the other hand, you might see connections between the different ideas presented in the various books. 

Whether you read one or seven, there’s gonna be a trade-off involved. The same goes for affirmations.

If you stick with just one idea and fully immerse yourself in it — “I am calm,” for instance — you might get to calm quicker.

But if you practice a string of affirmation ideas — “I’m calm, confident, funny, relaxed, and energetic” — perhaps you’ll start to envision a fuller picture and build a meta image of the relationship between those words.

You can decide which approach is most useful for you right now. There’s always the option to shift to a new style later on.

I recommend everyone stay with affirmations practice throughout life, just like you build the habit of brushing your teeth or going to the gym. Becoming the kind of person who practices affirmations — at whatever speed you choose — can be useful and effective for your relationship with your mind.
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