What Are Subliminal Affirmations?

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  • Written By: Page Coleman
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Subliminal affirmations consist of obscured messages delivered to the subconscious mind that encourage positive changes in a person’s behavior or attitudes. These self-help products frequently use calming music to cover a voice or flash statements on video so quickly they aren’t consciously noticed. Someone who is interested in affirmations can choose among numerous commercial products or make his own. Although they are enjoyable to use, they may not be effective.

Various types of affirmations often focus on achieving personal goals. People who are interested in losing weight, quitting smoking, improving concentration or study skills, and increasing confidence can use affirmations to help them achieve these goals. Amateur and professional athletes also may use subliminal affirmations as an aid to excel in their chosen sports.

The statements used in the affirmations should be positive and in the present tense, as if the goal has already been achieved. For example, someone who wishes to lose weight will want an affirmation stating he is now at his ideal weight. The affirmation should not state that he will lose weight in the future, or that he is not fat.


Subliminal affirmations are often aural, but they may also be visual. Audio subliminal affirmations may use music or may play different affirmations in right and left channels so that the individual messages can’t be made out consciously. Videos may play on a computer and flash messages so quickly they are not consciously noticed. Whether audio or video, positive statements are believed to be delivered directly to the subconscious mind.

Someone who is interested in subliminal affirmations may wish to research different recordings to find the affirmations that support his goals. The user can experiment with both audio and video. He can also try making his own subliminal affirmations by using software designed for that purpose. This approach enables the user to develop affirmations that are tailored to his goals.

Many people prefer to use daily affirmations, often at bedtime. The recordings can help people relax before falling asleep, and the messages may work on the subconscious overnight. Although using subliminal affirmations can be easy and pleasant, research has not ascertained that they are effective.

Subliminal affirmations evolved from subliminal messages that were inserted into some movies or advertisements starting in the 1950s. This practice has been controversial because it is believed it bypasses people’s decision-making processes. The research on the effectiveness of subliminal messages in advertising is mixed, and some researchers have found that subliminal messages are effective while others have not.


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