Mantras aren’t what you’d call an exact science. The calming, sometimes encouraging or positive words or phrases are a traditional part of yoga and many yogis believe them to have psychological or spiritual power.
And researchers have found proof that the act of repeating phrases to yourself does light up the parts of your brain responsible for calm and relaxation. There’s also proof that in general the thoughts you have can impact the body physically.
So regardless of why it can work, if you seek something to counteract your stress or anxiety, mantras might help. Most significantly, they’re one of the quickest, most effortless ways to focus your mind and hopefully find some calm.
How to do it
Find some phrases that ring true for you. Head to a quiet room or place outside. Sit quietly and comfortably, preferably in a room with no screens, and focus on that word or phrase. Repeat it to yourself for as long as you want. Try thinking of nothing else except calm and steady breathing.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Breathe in, breathe out.
- Be still. Be patient.
- I am grateful for _________. (Fill in the blank!)
- I overcome.
- I am enough.
- I can _______. (What are you capable of? Remind yourself.)
- I am a survivor.
- I deserve this time.
For more on mantras
If you want to dig deeper, one of these might interest you:
One final note: Mantras and their effectiveness are closely linked to meditation. If that’s more your style, check out our quick-start guide to meditation.