Stress is no joke—and its detrimental effects are on rise. According to the American Psychological Association (APA)’s annual Stress in America survey, 2017 has seen a significant increase in the percentage of Americans who have experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month, from 71 percent in 2016 to 75 percent this year. Of the symptoms reported by adults were nervousness or anxiety, irritability or anger, and fatigue due to their stress.
If you’ve ever experienced any of these symptoms (and let’s be honest—who hasn’t?), you may do well to explore new stress-management techniques. One of the simplest: speaking or meditating on a mantra. Research published in the British Medical Journal notes that mantras “may have evolved as a simple device to slow respiration, improve concentration, and induce calm.” Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Here, 10 wellness experts share their go-to mantras for feeling more centered, empowered, and successful. Feel free to make any one of these your screensaver!
“It’s basically representative of who we are without labels, without judgment, without right or wrong, good or bad, without opinions or beliefs. It’s a part of us that exists before all that thought about not being good enough. When we go back to the root of who we are, we’re not attached to all those labels that we’ve given ourselves and the world has given us. We’re coming back to the root of our true nature, the love that we are, the peace that we are. We often think about it, as ‘I am… blank.’ We identify as mother, anxious, sad, teacher. But ‘I am’ [translates to] I just exist, and there’s nothing else attached to me, and I’m standing at this point of creation where anything is possible. It’s my favorite mantra to use throughout the day. I actually have a tattoo of it.”
—Jamie Wozny, intuitive healer, spiritual life coach, certified Reiki Master, and meditation guide
“I am enough” and “Sat Nam Wahe Guru” (“My true identity brings me from darkness to the light”).
“The first one is great for beginners, as it is simple and true and very easy to either repeat or focus on in the mind’s eye. The second is a Kundalini Yoga mantra designed to help the chanter find balance, personal power, and grounding.”
—Natalie Feinblatt, Psy.D., licensed clinical psychologist
“You have the power” and “Whatever I do today is enough.”
“The first reminds me that I can make it happen. The power is in my hands to get it all done today, this week, whatever. This makes me feel empowered to push through when I’m feeling overwhelmed. The second: It can be hard when you feel like you have a million things on your plate or, at the end the day, there are still items unchecked on your to-do list. I have to remind myself, it’s okay if I don’t get it all done. I will figure it out, I will make it work, and whatever I did today is enough.”
—Jessica Thiefels, certified personal trainer
“Om namah Shivaya” (“I bow to Shiva”).
“It’s a Sanskrit mantra that helps evoke your inner light—that never-ending and radiant light that’s available beyond any situations and circumstances. This light is like an inner smile, coming from a place where all is well, no matter what!”
—Claudia Matles, certified wellness coach and yoga instructor
“I am grateful for the abundant flow of joy, health, love and wealth.”
“I encourage using gratitude. This mantra enhances the concept of the law of attraction, focusing on the positive aspects that you would like to bring into your life. I also tell patients to pick two or three strong words that they love for a specific reason, i.e. ‘I am healthy, safe and strong,’ ‘My immune system is always working for me,’ ‘I am loved and lovable,’ or ‘I am inspired to do my best.’ The important thing is that it is easy to say and repeat throughout the day. Many people feel silly at first saying a mantra, but they can be very empowering! They really help with self esteem and staying focused on a goal.”
—Jill Howell, ATR-BC, LPC, registered, board certified art therapist, licensed professional counselor and author of Color, Draw. Collage: Create Your Way to a Less Stressful Life
“Relax the body to calm the mind, calm the mind to open the heart.”
“This brings balance to our body, mind, and heart. When we can balance these three, we think more clearly and can speak from our truth. With a calm mind an open heart, there is no problem we can’t solve! I would also suggest that when someone repeats a mantra they connect it rhythmically to the breath. On the inhale, let the breath sink into the belly or bottom of the lungs as this has a positive physiological response on the parasympathetic nervous system.”
“I am loved. I am loving.”
“It helps me to remember that I’m always supported in the universe and the people around me are doing their best and do care about me—even in those moments when it doesn’t seem like it!—and that inflow of love facilitates the outflow of love. This keeps me grounded, centered, and peaceful. It’s an easy go-to and fills my heart within a few repetitions.”
—Jennifer Lyall, spiritual mentor, intuitive teacher, and authentic living guide
“I allow my mind to relax and be at ease, knowing that today will take care of itself.”
“It is powerful, because it allows us to let go of the illusion of control. We all live a hurried stressed out life, so this mantra allows us to breathe and realize that things really do get taken care of, and we can finally let go. It also helps people who have trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night with one simple change: ‘I allow my mind to relax and be at ease, knowing tomorrow will take care of itself.’”
—Miriam Amselem, holistic nutritionist, yoga instructor, and fitness trainer
“This one of one of my favorite mantras, because it’s simple and I can connect it to my inhale (here) and exhale (now). This mantra reminds me that everything is temporary, and that the now is all I really have. When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I tune into my breath and repeat it mentally to myself to quickly change my perspective. It’s also a great mantra to add to your meditation practice to help create a mental focal point to induce the relaxation response that counteracts stress and its effects as well as enhance cognitive function.”
—Tiffany Cruikshank, L.A.c., MAOM, RYT, founder of Yoga Medicine
“I move through the world with cool and calm confidence—one moment at a time.”
“It’s important to remind ourselves we already have the confidence we need to rise to just about anything life throws at us. Take a moment to remind yourself something you rose to the occasion or were able to learn how to do something that seemed difficult at first, whether it was learning to how to read when you were little or making it through a divorce. These are reminders that you can handle whatever life throws your way. The ‘one moment at a time’ part reminds us to be mindful which helps us to avoid the anxiety of focusing on too many tasks at once.”
—Mike Dow, Psy.D., Ph.D., author of the upcoming book, Heal Your Drained Brain (February 2018)
“I trust myself to let go of whatever doesn’t serve my highest good.”
“When you’re having a difficult time trusting that it’s okay to let go of something or someone that you’ve outgrown or are no longer in alignment with, and you feel guilt or fear about letting go, [try] this mantra. I’ve found it to be fairly magical in helping me calm down when feeling anxiety or stress over the letting go.”
—Kris Cahill, healer, teacher, coach, and writer
“I honor my needs” and “Everything is unfolding as it should”
“The first: You deserve to honor your needs in any moment. Taking responsibility for the self-care of your mind, body, and spirit isn’t selfish; it affects how you show up in the world. Getting to a place where you honor everything about yourself (from the foods that you eat, to the way that you speak to yourself, to your relationships with others) is essential for a healthy self-care practice. The second: You are right where you’re meant to be in this moment. Whether you know it or not, your relationships, your work, where you live, and the experiences that you have every day are contributing to your growth and journey in life. Just think back at all of the experiences that have brought you to where you are today. Trust that everything is happening for a reason and that beautiful things are waiting for you with every turn.”
—Naima Woodson, holistic health and fitness practitioner and instructor, writer, consultant, and speaker and certified yoga teacher