Contributing author: Jill Howell
Say it, and say it again.
A mantra – it’s a short, personal phrase you can repeat to help motivate and calm yourself.
Personal mantras can serve so many purposes, from broad overall goals such as relaxation to very specific health goals such as eating fewer sugar-laden goodies. Focus on the goals that matter most to you.
Your mantra can be anything from a simple “ohm” to a few words about what you’re grateful for, or it may be a reminder to breathe or to relax.
You can choose an overall mantra for gratitude like “I’m grateful for the abundance in my life,” while more specifically working on a goal like “I eat the foods that help and heal my body.”
The important thing about mantras is that you’ll use them over and over again, all throughout your day.
The ideal situation is to make your mantra part of your routine. Say it while you brush your teeth or every time that you wash your hands, or on the walk from your car to a store or into work.
A mantra must be a positive statement.
The wording of a mantra is also very personal, and you’ll use it quite often.
How to Write Your Mantra
You need to choose words that suit your personality and don’t feel awkward.
Some examples include:
“I am a loving and patient parent.”
“My career opportunities are open and endless.”
“I am peaceful and calm.”
Say your mantra repeatedly to be sure it resonates well with you.
It’s also very important not to use any negative words in your mantra.
Don't say, "I won’t worry”; say, "I am safe” or "I am calm.”
Don't say, "I won't think negative thoughts"; say, "I’m a positive person.”
Another fun idea: Use a favorite song lyric to create your mantra: "All you need is love," "Put on a happy face," "Imagine," "Take a look at yourself and make that change," "Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight” or "Don't worry, be happy.”
How to Kill Negative Self-Talk With a Positive Mantra
You can use mantras to combat negative, persistent self-talk.
To start, write down a list of negative thoughts that you notice most frequently.
Next to each thought, write how you can twist it to be a positive mantra.
For example, we often fill our minds with “I am not good enough” thoughts.
Mantras are great for reversing these and increasing self-esteem.
Create a mantra about what you’re struggling with most.
“I am a loving and patient parent” is one of mine.
Most parents doubt their abilities at times. We all say the wrong things and make bad choices throughout parenthood.
Having a mantra helps to create distance from the problem, and it gives you a moment to step back when your child is acting out.
How to Get in the Mantra Habit
At first, it helps to choose specific times during the day to practice your mantra, say every time that you go to the bathroom or before you start your car or check your email.
On a separate piece of paper write out your mantra, decorate it and tape it to your bathroom mirror or to your refrigerator.
To really start to believe your mantra, say it every time you look in the mirror. (This can be hard for some people!)
Tell yourself that you’re beautiful or caring or smart or have a nice smile. Repetition will help you to truly begin to believe it.
Oh, and smile when you say your mantra.
Conversely, only use a mantra that makes you want to smile.
And keep smiling.
Jill Howell, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, is a registered, board-certified art therapist, licensed professional counselor, speaker and author of Color, Draw. Collage: Create Your Way to a Less Stressful Life (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017). Howell has a private practice in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania and loves delivering keynotes and facilitating workshops on a wide variety of subjects relating to coping with stress.
Visit her online at www.artgirljill.com
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