Find Your New Mantra: 4 Steps to Mindfulness Beyond your Meditation Practice
Mantras are most commonly known as words that help you focus and harness energy during meditation. Outside of mindfulness and yogic practices, people also continue to use mantras throughout the day and night. Sometimes this is a conscious choice. More often, these mantras are unconscious. Like most things, mantras can be used in productive and destructive ways. Depending on the words and emotions behind them, mantras can promote health and well-being, or perpetuate mental or physical illness.
Below, you'll find some common fear-based mantras that people use regularly:
It’s hard to be healthy and fit.
I’m always falling behind.
I’m not smart, attractive, successful, or good enough.
I’m always busy and overwhelmed.
Something bad always happens.
There’s something wrong with me.
I’ll never find love.
I always get sick.
I’ll never get over this.
I’m always broke.
I can’t trust myself.
You can’t trust anyone.
I'm never safe.
As you know, our thoughts are powerful and they can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. If you give them enough energy and focus, they can prove your suspicions to be true. Then, that reinforces the story you were telling yourself in the first place.
Sometimes we hold on to these stories because they’re familiar and this gives us a sense of certainty and control in the face of the unknown.
The good news is that you can uproot these disempowering stories and replace them with positive, generative mantras. Follow this 4-step process to reclaim your sense of empowerment with a new mantra to support and not sabotage your goals and dreams.
Step 1: Identify the Mantra
Grab a journal or open a new digital document and write down the answers to these questions:
What stories or phrases do you tell yourself throughout the day?
What words do you say to yourself as you fall asleep at night?
What generalizations do you make about yourself, your life, and the world?
Where did these mantras come from?
Are these stories in the service of something creative and generative? Or are they in the service of fear and self-sabotage?
Step 2: Compassion
As you uncover these stories, avoid the common roadblock of self-judgement. Take a few breaths of compassion to surround this awareness. Sometimes these stories are habitual and rooted in pain.
It might be tempting, but don’t judge what you discover. That will act like glue and keep those disempowering mantras in place.
Compassion opens space and creates an environment for healing.
Step 3: New, Empowering Mantra(s)
Once you’ve identified these old stories, you can begin to create a new mantra. Think of a simple phrase or word that you can cycle through your consciousness. You have complete creative freedom here.
Remember, a mantra isn’t just the word you use for 15 minutes each day when you close your eyes to meditate. It’s a moment to moment practice that you can take with you everywhere you go.
If you’re using mantras throughout the day anyway, why not make sure they’re the ones that will set you up for success? You can translate a mantra into any language you prefer. Here's a list of empowering mantras to spark your imagination:
I am healthy and strong.
I trust myself.
I have compassion for myself and others. I love myself.
I have healthy boundaries.
I am capable and resilient.
Good things happen in my life.
I am connected to my needs.
I take excellent care of myself.
I can relax and enjoy the sweetness of life.
I can get through this.
Moderation is the key to success.
There is plenty of (love, money, abundance) for me.
I welcome new opportunities every day.
I am worthy.
In this moment, I am safe.
I radiate love each time I breathe.
My (neck, back, immune system, digestion, etc.) is healthy and strong.
I make empowered choices about food/love/money.
I breathe in peace, I breathe out ease.
I breathe in gratitude, I breathe out appreciation.
Step 4: Implementation + Avoiding Spiritual Bypass
This isn’t about being in denial or ignoring an issue that needs to be addressed by covering it with positive thinking.
As you uncover these stories, avoid the common roadblock of self-judgment. Take a few breaths of compassion to surround this awareness. Sometimes these stories are habitual and rooted in pain.
Remember to go through all four steps of this process.
It might be tempting to just pick a positive word or phrase without uprooting the old ones. As you know, you can't just plant something new on top of an old, rooted plant. You'll have to create space and churn the soil before planting the new seed.
After you move through this process, let the seed take root. Give it time and attention. Water the seed with your breath, and the light of your awareness every day. Any time you notice yourself habitually wandering into negative mantra territory, pause. Take a breath of compassion and redirect yourself to the positive mantra.
Consistency is key. Over time, you'll create a new neural pathway and the positive mantras will become more habitual. Your efforts cultivate an empowering experience of healing and self-love.