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What Is A Mantra?

A mantra is a creed, a sentiment, or a principle that is repeated, often during meditation, as a point of mindful focus. Mantras can be said aloud or within the mind, and you can use them anywhere at any time. They are a ready-made tool that you can use immediately when anxiety, stress, sadness, fear, or anger take over your thoughts as you find your way back to rationality and peace.

Typically mantras are quite short and if you do a quick search online you’ll find tonnes of common unattributed examples like:

what is a mantra“I am strong enough.”
“I surrender.”
“I am safe.”

Often these are edited versions of longer passages that someone has found inspiring. To those who aren’t familiar with mantras it may sound like a fake-it-‘til-you-make-it strategy, but the key to selecting effective mantras is to choose something that you aspire to, or have achieved at one point or another and know you can return to. You need to believe in your own capabilities, your own strength.

Why aren’t mantras things like “I will make lots of money” or “My dream job will fall into my lap”? Because mantras are feelings, not opportunities. Ideally by attuning your mantra to your goal – literally because mantras create vibrations that resonate within your body – you leave yourself open to recognizing opportunities when you see them and you’ve prepared your mind to accept or reject them as best benefits your situation. The same applies for problem solving negative aspects of your life. It’s all about calming the white noise in your environment that clouds judgement. It’s about focus.

You can find inspiration for, or pre-written mantras literally everywhere. You’ll know when you find ones that resonate with you, so take a picture or write them down immediately! With the way the internet plays telephone with quotations in this day in age it can be tricky finding attribution, but I do love “One breath at a time, one day at a time,” and “Inhale love; exhale gratitude.” Those have gotten me through some sticky times, I tell you! These are my mantra’s that I made up to help me.

Which brings me to the next point of mantras: forgiveness. This is such an important and skipped-over aspect of our busy lives. We need to find forgiveness in our hearts not only for those who have wronged us, but for ourselves. We are allowed to fail, it is human nature. But if we don’t give ourselves permission to fail, or to forgive ourselves when we fail, how are we expected to move forward and try something else or to make amends? Then we walk our daily paths with guilt and disappointment weighing us down. From her book Spirit Junkie I love Gabrielle’s “Dear Inner Guide” message that includes this powerful message, “…I am ready, willing, and able to smother my fears with the light of love.” I read that entire passage every day. The choice to be happy is ours, and it’s within our reach. Try mantras next time you’re in a traffic jam, heading into a stressful meeting, or late to pick up the kids. Try them out when you’re already feeling good, too!

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