The word mantra comes from the Hindu or Vedic tradition. Technically, a mantra can be anything from a full sentence to a single word to a sound -- like the chanting 'Om' sound used in yoga and meditation. The purpose of a mantra is to help you focus on a specific thought or feeling. So, for example, you could use a mantra to help you relax or to chase away negative thoughts or emotions.
The good news is that you don’t need to practice meditation or to study Buddhism or Hinduism in order to start using a mantra to your benefit. Why? Because you can simply create your own personal mantra to help you when you’re faltering in your fitness, weight loss, or personal improvement goals. It's about focusing on what has meaning to you.
What’s a Personal Mantra?
Think of your personal mantra as your own “tagline,” an affirmation you can use to help you refocus and become a better version of yourself. A personal mantra doesn’t need to be long or confusing. In fact, the ideal tagline is just a simple, short sentence that summarizes what you want in just a few words.
Your mantra is a powerful tool that can be used alone or in conjunction with more elaborate positive visualization techniques. Your mantra can be, "I am powerful," and your visualization imagery can have you crossing the finish line at a race.
Creating Your Own Mantra
In order for it to work, a mantra needs to be positive and affirming. What that means is that the mantra should have you already achieving your goal.
For example, “I want to be thin but strong” is not a good mantra because the words are conveying the message that you have yet to achieve what you want. Instead, start your mantra with the words “I am,” which helps you believe that the goal is achievable. For example, “I am strong and fit and confident” is a much more positive message because it helps you visualize yourself as somebody successful who has already achieved that goal. According to The Chopra Center, every time you repeat your mantra, you create a specific type of vibrations in your mind - so by using a mantra that already portrays you as successful, you’re more likely to become successful as a result.
Mantras should never be in the negative either. Saying “I’m not weak anymore” is not the right choice of words because it attracts negative energy. Instead, the correct mantra would be “I’m strong. I’m powerful.”
If you don’t know what your mantra should be, practice creating several ones on a sheet of paper. Simply write down whatever comes to mind. If you have a specific goal in mind, whether that is paying off debt, losing weight, or training for a specific event, create simple, short sentences related to your goal. Then pick the one that sounds the most convincing or combine several into one powerful, unique mantra.
How to Use Your Mantra
The power of the mantra is in repetition. If it helps you, print out your mantra several times and tape the sentence around the house, on your computer monitor, or even at the office. Or save it to your smartphone or tablet so it’s the first thing you see when you turn it on. Then, repeat the mantra to yourself several times a day. This is especially important when you’re feeling low or disillusioned because things aren’t going your way.
Here are some mantras to get you started:
The Bottom Line
Remember to repeat your mantra throughout the day, at different times, even if it’s just in passing. As with many things in life, repetition will eventually help create a habit - and this habit will have you believing in your mantra.
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