“Inside of me there’s a mantra going on that reminds me of who I am. It’s that place inside – that niche in the wall where the candle flame never flickers. Always bringing me right to my heart where we dwell eternally.”
- Ram Dass
We all have those little voices inside our heads that tell us we’re not enough - not pretty enough, not successful enough, not smart enough, not wealthy enough…the list goes on and on. Maybe these insecurities come from a past trauma, deep rooted anxiety, or social pressures. No matter their origin, we do know one thing–they are always fictional. A made-up reality that can dampen our day-to-day lives. How do we shift these voices in our heads and replace them with inspiration, encouragement and hope?
One answer is mantra. Mantra is a sound or phrase that is repeated silently in your mind. It is a tool to calm the mind, move through insecurities, find inner stillness and ground into the present moment. Ram Dass, the beloved spiritual teacher and Harvard psychologist, says, “A mantra protects the mind by preventing it from going into its usual mechanics, which often are not our desired or optimal conscious perspective. When practiced daily, it has the ability to steady the mind and transform consciousness.” Mantras are often short phrases that are easily remembered, and they can and should be repeated as frequently as possible. Mantra is an internal practice, meaning that you can practice at any time, in any place - while walking, shopping, driving, washing the dishes, or taking a shower.
The difference between mantra and another common mental health practice, affirmations, is the focus on not only the meaning of the words, but the sound of the words. Hindu and Buddhist religions have used mantras as a sacred religious practice for over 3,000 years. Many mantras are in Sanskrit, but can be translated to any language. As with all rituals, it’s more about the how and why rather than the what, meaning that the intention behind the practice determines the level of transformation you can experience.
When we repeat an idea enough times, we believe it - that is the concept of mantra, and why it can be so successful.. Mantra can be used to replace strong emotions, such as anger, shame, or fear, and it allows these emotions to be transformed into growth.
Here are some of our favorites, but we invite you to try out many and find what feels most authentic and supportive to you in each moment. Try repeating them for a few minutes everyday, as you breathe slowly and practice presence.
I am worthy just as I am.
I am supported.
I let go of __________.
Everything that happens is helping me to grow and evolve.
I am in control of my body, and I choose to keep it calm and at peace.
For the morning:
Today is a new day, full of opportunities to learn, grow and find joy.
I will create beautiful things through small steps.
I choose to see the positive in whatever comes my way today.
For nighttime, before bed:
I am warm, calm and content.
I welcome sleep with every breath I take.