Why you need a mantra.

Even if you dismiss the concept of mantras as new agey claptrap, I guarantee you’re using them. Probably right this minute.

Unfortunately, the kind you’ve mastered might be doing more harm than good when it comes to your happiness.

Yours might sound something like these:

I never have enough money.
I’m fat.
People suck.
Life is hard.
I hate my job.
Damn the man.
Forever alone.

Any of these sound familiar? Perhaps as thoughts you think over and over and over, on the regular?

Whelp, that’s the definition of a mantra.

Of course, mantras were originally dreamed up (by some wise dudes a few thousand years ago) as sacred rituals and spiritually significant utterances. “I wish I were dead” doesn’t exactly qualify.

But sadly, these negative mantras we’ve allowed to infect our collective consciousness have just as much power as the ones the masters originally intended. A thought we keep thinking becomes a belief — and beliefs shape our very lives. They are the basis for our reality.

Who wants a reality built around “I’m fat”? Ugh.

It might be overwhelming to think about dispelling the multitude of negative thoughts you have looping around in your mind. There are probably a lot. Most of us have a lot. But (good) mantras can help. They provide a point of focus; a bull’s eye to aim for.

Should you choose a mantra of your own — a special, meaningful phrase that’s always on the tip of your brain — you can use it to drown out the demons. (You could also call it an affirmation … no need to get too technical or nitpicky here. I’m no guru.)

When you notice the negative thoughts popping up, introduce the mantra or affirmation. Almost like putting your fingers in your ears and yelling “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” (but with a method that’s a tad more mature), you can use your mantra to drown out the insidious inclinations.

Whether or not you believe your mantra, initially, is irrelevant. For now, it’s just a placeholder. A disruptor. A positive distraction to keep your mind from finding its way into the ninth circle of hell.

While eastern wisdom suggests choosing a mantra based on specific spiritual qualities (and a unique vibrational signature), I say, choose one that resonates with you. Could be an ancient word or a song lyric. Whatever floats your mental boat. Here are a few suggestions:

Om. (old school, known as “the sound of the universe”)
I am love. (you ARE!)
I am enough. (you also are!)
I am (anything you really want to be/have/see made manifest in your life).
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” (Thank Gandhi for this one.)
“Every little thing is gonna be alright.” (Props to Marley.)
“Let it be.” (Beatles FTW.)

Personally, I’ve got a few, one of which (credit to Louise Hay) is taped into my bathroom mirror. “I am a divine expression of love.” Feel free to snag it, should it speak to you.

Best yet, make up your own; one that makes your soul breathe a sigh of relief when you think it. Even if you don’t buy into it 100%, no matter. Just start mentally shouting it at that nagging inner voice. Recite it before you go to sleep. Say it softly when you’re stressed at work.

Pretty soon, it’ll start to sound a lot more convincing. And that negative crap will be even less so.

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