Mantras! What are They?
Dictionay.com defines mantras simply as a word or sound that is repeated to aid in concentration. Merriam-Webster.com goes a little further to define mantras as a sound, word or phrase that is repeated often or expresses someone’s basic beliefs and is used when someone is praying or meditating. Mantras are said to have originated from Hinduism and Buddhism. However, some argue that it dates back to Biblical times but it was simply never called mantras in Christianity. Though mantras originated and are associated with Hinduism and Buddhism those of other faiths have no fear. Mantras are more widely used throughout various religions and among those with no religious affiliation. Mantras are not specific to any one system of thought or religion.
It should be noted that the use of mantras is in no way meant to replace prayer or religious practices. Instead, use mantras for the purpose of opening the mind to more positivity and reducing negativity. Therefore, mantras are intended to be an additive to and not a replacement for spiritual and religious activities (i.e., the Bible, prayer, etc.).
Well before there were psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists, and way before medication management of symptoms was ever a thing, mantras were used to calm the nervous system and stabilize depression, anxiety and all sorts of malaise. Mantras are said to have both psychological and spiritual power. The words, sounds or phrases are repeated over and over again. And they are particularly useful when a painful emotion or thought arises. They are also useful when stuck in tormenting ruminating thoughts as mantras aid in replacing negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones.
Benefits of Mantras
Focused repetition of soothing words and phrases, known as autogenic training, readies your body’s parasympathetic nervous system and promotes relaxation. Research shows autogenic training and other relaxation techniques reduce both anxiety and depression for many.
Mantras in various forms are a way to keep your mind clear of negative thoughts. They help with healing and improvement of the brain’s functioning and calms the mind for better focus. Mantras can also help you increase awareness, confidence, and self-esteem. Likewise, they help reduce self-deprecating and self-judgmental thoughts and reduce superficial brain clutter. The best way to learn and improve with anything is through practice. The more you practice replacing negative thoughts with mantras the more you will build your mind’s “muscle memory.”
How to Use Mantras
Use mantras by writing them down and putting them in a visible place where you will see them often. And/or by chanting, repeating them over and over. Mantras can be repeated aloud or in your head. It may also be helpful to start and end your day with mantra practice and use it throughout the day as needed. Don’t skip around using several mantras in a day, instead select one that is most needed at the time and use it throughout the day. The use of mantras may feel strange to you at first but stick with it. With more and more practice the easier and more helpful it becomes.
Practice a mantra by repeating it each day 108 times or for about 15 minutes total per day. It is recommended you do this for several straight days, 14 or more days. By repeating a new positive habit for consecutive days you will begin to break old, useless and often harmful thought patterns. The number 108 breaks down like this:
1 = God or a Higher Power 0 = Emptiness or Completeness 8 = Infinity or Eternity
Mantras are often non-religion specific but feel free to make mantras your own. For example: “I am fulfilled, I am fearless” can be made more personal by saying “God fulfills me and I am not created to fear.” The more personal mantras are, the more meaningful and beneficial they become. You can also try these suggested mantras to begin to positively transform your thinking.
Have you used mantras? Please leave a comment to tell us about your experience.
Healthy Brain. Healthy Body. Happy Life.