By the end of a week of trying to stay on top of kids’ homework assignments, meal planning, commitments to friends, goings-on with in-laws, making sure all the library books make it back to the library on time, it can be difficult to string together a complete thought, let alone plan out the space-themed birthday party your little boy has been looking forward to for weeks.
But you can do it. You are smart, you are creative, you are fun. You can make a cake that looks like a shooting star. You can put together an activity for each of the planets in the solar system. You can do it.
Don’t be afraid to tell yourself that. Go ahead and write it down, chant it to yourself, make a song and sing it as you work.
And don’t be surprised if before too long, you’re in your groove, creating a stellar pinata out of that cardboard box the diapers came in and solving the problem of how to hang the inflatable planets from the ceiling.
That’s because self-affirmation has a real, measurable effect on problem-solving for people who are chronically stressed. Like, maybe, parents?
The study, published in PLOS One, tested whether chronically stressed individuals in this case, college undergrads could improve their performance on problem-solving activities in stressful circumstances by using self-affirmations. And they did. The self-affirmations improved their performance, reducing the effects stress had on their ability to think creatively and boosting their problem-solving skills.
How awesome is that? I am more than willing to think about all the great things I can do when I have the chance which is usually when I’m in the middle of a hilly run or a brutal speedwork session but if it can help me manage stress and solve problems and think creatively, well, then I really don’t have time not to.
Self-affirmations, I’m onto you.