Most people know what affirmations are, those little phrases that are like words of wisdom. They encourage us to be better people. Examples include "I am happy and grateful for all that I have, and all that is on the way," or "Everyday in every way, I'm getting better and better," or "I am one with Spirit, and in Spirit all things are possible."
It's knowing how to use them that can be tricky. You may have one you live by, but on some level may feel it's simply words, they have no real power. That is true, words you do not make use of have no power because they have no emotion attached to them. Think of how a person's angry words effect you when they shout them at you. You may even feel the fear from those words all the way to your gut. You can feel the emotion behind those words. Although that's a case of negative submission rather than positive affirmation, the emotion behind the words is what is emphasized. Another example of word power is when you tell someone you love them. Telling someone you see everyday you love them, such as a parent, usually doesn't have the same feeling power for you as telling someone you're romantically involved with that you love them for the first time. The latter may make you sweat with nervousness, and if that reciprocates a wave of excitement may come over you.
The reason we say affirmations is to encourage us, to make us feel good, but their real power comes from the absorption into our subconscious of the word's meaning, for when our subconscious takes in the meaning of them our lives will reflect them. If you are able to absorb the words "Everyday in every way, I'm getting better and better" into your subconscious, your life indeed will start to improve bit by bit because you have turned your focus to these words and your subconscious truly believes them. Now sometimes it's hard to attach emotion to such words, we can indeed bring up images of our life improving as we say the words, but that may or may not give us enough energy to bring the words into our psyche. There are two ways for our subconscious to take in things we pay attention to, either through intense emotion or repetition. Affirmations work best with the latter. Dr Emile Coue came up with the affirmation "Everyday in every way, I'm getting better and better" for his patients and believed these words could heal any physical or mental ailment they had. He prescribed them to take a chord with 21 knots in it, and three times a day while holding the chord and pulling it through their fingers, they were to say the affirmation each time they got to a knot while visualizing the circumstance improving. I can say from experience that this exercise does indeed work if you work it, but indeed it does take discipline remembering to both do it three times a day as well as stay connected to the words using visualization each time.
Coue's method might not work for everyone, but what will work is if you work your affirmations. Say them frequently, remind yourself of the words not only when clouds are gray, but when the sun is shining too. Say them when you wake up in the morning, before eating a meal, after coming home, or everytime you get into a car. Affirmations work if you work them. It may take a little practice, but so did a lot of things in your life, remember what it was like to learn how to walk ;).