Belief Changing Exercise, by Bob Mandel

Here’s a simple yet effective exercise for challenging or changing negative beliefs. In my experience, affirmations by themselves don’t work – my brain just goes “nup. nup. nup.” This is a different approach, where you kinda “weed out” the bits that are going “nup”. Give it a go. I find it extremely powerful!

Find a belief to change

Write down your negative thoughts about life, love, money, relationships, your self, your body, whatever.

Choose one you’d like to work with, and then phrase it as an some kind of opposite, eg “I hate my body” could become “My body is amazing”, or any variation that works for you.

Something that makes you feel a little squeamish is probably good.

The exercise

Grab a notebook or piece of paper, draw a line down the middle of the page

On the left side, write your chosen belief/affirmation (see below)

On the right hand side, write whatever automatically comes up, whether it’s a thought, body sensation, whatever, eg

  • No way!
  • Ugh, I feel sick
  • That’s bullshit because …
  • Hmm, maybe it’s possible?
  • But what about [something]?
  • (nothing)

Then write the belief again on the left, etc.

Do this at least 20 times in a row.

When you’re finished for the moment, write the belief on the left, and don’t fill in the right hand column.

Repeat the exercise daily until the only response you get back is a simple “Yes”.

This may happen in a single session, or may take many sessions spanning days, weeks or even months.


Do this longhand (handwriting), not by typing.

Make sure you write out the belief in full each time, on the left, not just quote marks to indicate copying from above.

It’s fine to change the belief/affirmation part-way through, if you realise this one isn’t quite right, and you can think of a better one. But if you find you KEEP changing it over and over, you might want to just choose one and stick to it.


Here’s some I came up with, related to loving your body – of course, feel free to come up with your own.

I am an incredible bio-machine
My body is amazing
I’m strong and healthy
I don’t have to lose weight to be OK
I am able to lose weight (if you truly want to, and can’t seem to)
I’m perfectly OK exactly as I am
I love my body exactly as it is
My body rocks!
My body is for MY satisfaction, not others
Food is not the enemy
I love my body as it is today.
My body deserves love and respect.
My body is perfect the way that it is
I honour my body as it is right now
I am comfortable in my own skin.
I am allowed to take up space
Others opinions of my body do not define me

I don’t have to do what others want
I forgive my mother/father
Money comes to me easily
Great relationships are easy to find
I am safe
The world is safe

It’s an amazing exercise for rooting out all the things you didn’t even know you thought about that thing.

Adapted from the 1980’s book Open Heart Therapy by Bob Mandel

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