A mantra is something you keep coming back to. It has been around for over 3000 years, first practiced by the Buddhists and Hindus but is now seeing a mainstream revival, thanks to the yogis.
It is not to be patronized from when someone gives their motto a sophisticated name as “Mantra”, we all have taglines that are on repeat in our head, though we may not always know.
So what is a mantra?
It is hard to define what exactly a mantra is, after all, it has only been a centuries-long disagreement between different schools of thought.
The word in Sanskrit means “to think”, the Hindus believe for it to be” the uttering of a protected or sacred sound”, the Chinese term for it, Zhenyan, translates to “True words”, the Muslim Sufis have a term for it, Zhikr, which is the rhythmic repetition of God’s name.
The contemporary meaning of a mantra is much more materialistic than it is spiritual.
It is all the “Feeling Good Today”, “Own The Day, Own Your Life”, and “It’s such a bad day today!” phrases you find in songs, in meditation and yoga classes, or whenever feeling low.
Mantras To Live By
It is truly amazing to understand how the energies we give out, come back to us, whether positive or negative.
Generally, we have very negative thoughts about ourselves:
I need to be as good as this guy! I need that to be happy! Why always me? I have such bad luck! Why can’t I be better than I am?
Now for a change, why not adopt a different approach to these mantras so instead of self-pity, you can get to be who you want to be?
Here is my list of some of the simplest, yet effective mantras that will definitely have an impact on your daily routine as you go about doing things.
Fake it till you make it!
“Five, Four, Three, Two, One!”
There is no arguing the point that whether or not we know what we should be doing, we always do. You keep pushing a chore around all day procrastinating, and that too for nothing.
“I don’t feel like doing it right now” is how we explain something to ourselves that we should be doing. And trust me on this, this is the most convincing thing you can tell yourself, it justifies everything!
Now changing this phrase, or mantra, to a more productive one will not have you on the top of the food chain in a day, but at least you’ll know you’re on the right track and much satisfied with yourself.
Next time you don’t feel like doing something, quickly count downwards from 5, and when you reach one you get up and do it.
Having a 5 seconds rule to this helps, even more, tell yourself you’re going to do it for 5 seconds and if you still don’t feel like doing it, then you can leave it for later.
It is always just starting to do something that is difficult. But usually, things are much simpler and interesting to do than how we think of them.
Once you start doing something, even for 5 seconds, you’ll notice your flow building up and you’ll rather have it finished right away.
Start with the small things to engrave it in your thoughts, whenever you have to do the dishes, make the bed, set up your room, or even send an email. Count back from five and get your hands on it!
“What am I supposed to be doing?”
This one I picked up from a motivational video some years ago and it really gives me the insight I need in a moment.
An empty mind is the devil’s playground, you get all sorts of thoughts when you are doing nothing. They may not be seemingly negative, but daydreaming fantasies often leave you with an empty feeling since you imagine everything that you want to have but can’t.
When you find yourself aimlessly wandering in thoughts, or laying on the couch watching a show just for the sake of it, or even just scrolling through your feed on mobile, all you have to do is ask yourself this simple question.
What am I supposed to be doing?
The realization of procrastinating hits hard after you ask this question. Whether you should be completing an assignment, working out, studying for an exam, or simply having fun, you’ll know it.
There is no better accountability than to one’s own self, and this works even better if you have written down your upcoming milestones or goals.
You want a fit body, what are you supposed to be doing right now? Need to do better at your job, what are you supposed to be doing? You want to become an all-star athlete? You want to go on an adventure? You want to give more into your relationship? Or whatever it is that you have to do.
Forget the mistake. Remember the lesson
Coming out of battling procrastination to building confidence, self-esteem, and self-belief.
What makes the faith in ourselves shatter and deteriorate over the years in life?
Yes, we all make them, some big and some small, nobody is perfect. Let that sink in deep.
Mistakes are often the better part of our lives, it helps us learn and grow. And the way of the world is that unless you get your lesson out of your mistakes, it will keep on hitting you hard until you finally do.
Having regrets and drowning into self-pity after you “embarrassed” yourself and let other people down is only going to destroy your self-esteem.
You start having negative thoughts all the time, things like you can’t anything right, you had your time but didn’t take the shot, and how your life might be over after that one grave mistake.
Write this mantra down and tape on a wall where you can you, behind a door, or on the fridge. If you walk by it enough times, you’ll eventually start looking back and see where you went wrong.
Once you get your lesson out of your mistakes, it is even easier to let them go.
But always remember that life isn’t about not making mistakes, it’s about not making the same mistakes again.
“The truth is simple and I am willing to see it”
Have you ever thought about the lighting speed at which you come up with excuses to your boss? It’s fast and creative!
They work out at times and are so good that you go giggling back to your cabin commending yourself, but generally, have you caught in the trap that you set for yourself.
Why do we do that?
It is always the ego that is unwilling to see the truth.
Your ego can’t bear falling short of any expectation, being wrong, or getting embarrassed. So it throws everything it has got to cloud the truth and come up with a better story to prevent that from happening.
Again, write this mantra down where you can see it until it becomes an instinct.
It is for when you find yourself in a situation where you trying to tamper the truth, for any benefit at all, you choose the bittersweetness of truth.
You will see that it is bitter in the start as you get scolded for everything that you do wrong, but it becomes sweet when you rid yourself of those faults.
Once you get into the habit of seeing the truth, everything starts becoming as simple as black and white. It either is or isn’t.
Not only for your work, but this also gets you far in every aspect of life. You get to be more honest and sincere in your relationships, and it is then when you truly understand to work for happiness. Delayed gratitude.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
A timeless quote by Mahatma Gandhi, it is the one to live your life by.
You always notice when a colleague of yours is rather rude to the janitor, or when someone goes past a homeless with insulting remarks, or even when someone eyes down and catcalls girls on the street.
But what do you do about that other than thinking low of them? How does that help the world that you are in?
You can always change what you want to be changed in the world through simple and small acts of kindness and effort.
There is strength in being able to help others and the peace that comes with it is incomparable.
Getting a homeless person a meal instead of just tossing a coin, being polite to the janitors, keeping in your own lane even though when everyone is trespassing, or respecting other people will not cost you anything.
Yeah, the meal will cost but not more than your Netflix or Hulu subscription.
Learn to give and you will start receiving the same in return. Inspire others by your actions, it will bring you more peace than any other thing you can think of.
Hanging this mantra on the wall of your living room will call for a change every time you see it, and you’ll feel more complete knowing how much you’ve been acting on it.
To love better is simpler than it is to love more, which is the whole point of mantra, it has to be simple and yet effective.
But how do you love more?
No scale defines how much you love. You love everything and everyone differently than one another.
You love your parents differently than you love your spouse, you love a sport different than you love a book, you cannot choose one over the other.
Then perhaps it is easier to understand to love better. Whatever you do that you do in love, just try making it better.
Spending time with your spouse can be made better by doing the things you both enjoy more, going out, watching movies, etc.
Reminding yourself to love better every day will encourage you to give your best at everything, at work, in a relationship, or a passion.
The more you give and the more tempting you will be.
And that is all there is about love, it is eternal, it is timeless, it is unlimited.
Create a life you can be proud of
Coming back to the basic negative thoughts we have about our life. You are never happy with what you have and are in an endless pursuit of something that you don’t.
Tying the thread of your hope to material things for your happiness will always empower them and leave you helpless.
The best place to hang this mantra is above your mirror, this way every morning when you set out into the day, you will remember the power you have in your own life.
If there is something that you do not like about the state you are in, come up with ways on how you can change that, get creative.
Spend your energy on the constructive thoughts of what you can do and you’ll eventually come up with something sooner than later.
Always be in debt to your future self and work today so that you can be happy tomorrow because that is the only way happiness works.
Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you. Cut off ties with everything and everyone that keeps you from becoming the person you want to be.
You have to know that it is your life and you create it of whatever that you like, you do have that power!
Some commonly asked questions…
Are Mantras Dangerous?
Mantras work by bringing your focus on to the different things in life. Your mantra for life is whatever that you want it to be, repeat it enough times and it becomes a principle of your life. Nothing that you choose for yourself for betterment is dangerous.
How good or bad the change it brings depends on the mantra you have for yourself, or whether you are aware of it. Just like a good mantra can bring happiness and prosperity to your life, a bad one can ruin it. so it’s always good to be mindful of it and choose one for yourself rather than growing into one.
What Is A good Mantra?
A good mantra is what works for you. Mantras are like exercise, the best one is the one that you stick to. A good mantra makes you focus on the things that you want to change about yourself. Kind of like bring your attention back to breathing during meditation, a mantra brings your attention back to something that you want for yourself so that you don’t lose sight of it.
Are Mantras Religious?
Even though the basic origin of the word “Mantra” is in Hinduism and Buddhism, the idea can be applied in the general way of life.
A mantra is a sound, word, or phrase that directs your thoughts towards it. You don’t have to be a follower of a belief or religion to have a mantra.
Do Mantras really work?
The speaking of words and phrases impact your thoughts just like they impact your being. Like you make a sound, you make a thought.
Over repetition, it becomes a habit, and that is how you take control of what you want to think about. you start giving a direction to your thought in the way that you want, so they definitely do work.
Having a mantra in life gives you direction and makes you aware of the power that you have in your life.
The chanting of mantras is widely practiced in religions, meditations, yoga, and everyday life. Once you tell yourself something for long enough, you start believing its true, even if it is a lie, that’s how powerful a mantra is.
Fill your life up with positive mantras, the ones that catch your attention immediately. Because the one that you convince yourself to like is always going to be a hard one to remember, and a little less like you.