Over the past few weeks, you’ve begun to explore the soothing power of yoga, and have also made some changes to your eating habits. With these lifestyle adjustments, you may also be feeling more confident and energetic (and are hopefully also seeing reductions in your stress levels!). Now it’s time to be good to yourself with words.
An easy way for you to create a more peaceful mindset is by using positive self-affirmations, or mantras—that is, kind, compassionate messages you’ll say to yourself. I’ve asked you not to judge yourself on the mat, and now I’m asking you to keep that same open mind off of it. Not only are you capable of doing this, but you are absolutely deserving of it.
Life is a roller coaster of emotions: excitement, resentment, anger, happiness, sadness—and the list goes on. We scold and punish ourselves from time to time, too, for things we think we are not good enough at doing or for the thoughts we have. All of this leads to immense stress and worry. But it doesn’t need to be this way!
If I stopped you right now and asked, What was the last positive thought you’ve had about yourself?, how would you respond?
When was the last time you celebrated yourself? It’s probably not something you even think about very often, but it’s so important to be kind to yourself. To say thank you to your body for carrying you through your day. To high-five yourself!
We already know that meditation helps us become conscious. Let’s use that consciousness and take action. Instead of being the victim of our own thoughts, we can become our own champions.
Mantra is a word that comes from Eastern philosophies (mantras were first found in the Vedic Sanskrit language by Hindus in India). They are sacred words or sounds used in concentration to embody psychological and spiritual power.
Now I want you to think of a story, song, or perhaps even a prayer that you learned long ago. As you replay the words or notes can you feel a shift? The familiarity of the song or story is soothing because it naturally distracts you from whatever you were doing or thinking of prior to reciting it.
By using affirmative words and phrases with yourself—a.k.a. creating personal mantras—you have the opportunity to instantly uplift your mood and mindset.
So, what should your mantra be?
No need to overthink it: Your mantra can be as simple as “I am.” Although this is short, it holds great power. This statement denotes that you are, and that is enough. Or maybe you’re drawn to growth-based or action-oriented mantras, like, “I constantly grow” or “I am powerful.” You pick. (See some options below.)
The more that you repeat your phrase, especially during stressful moments, the more you will begin to believe it yourself (and the sooner it becomes a reality for you).
You can default to your mantra whenever you’d like. When you feel yourself becoming discouraged, aggravated, hurried, or upset, bring it to mind. This is an act of self-compassion, and it allows you to return to the moment with strength and clarity. Plus, the act of repeating it is meditative, because it forces you to concentrate, and, like breathing, you keep coming back to it.
From today on, pick a mantra and return to it in moments of stress.