more peaceful levels of the mind."
~ Deepak Chopra ~
What are Mantras?
Mantras are words, syllables, or phrases that can aid you in focusing concentration and deepening meditation while also uniting you with a higher power. When you repeat the mantras, you connect and feel the energy within you and around you. They are associated with mysticism and spirituality and aim to liberate the mind from thought in order to facilitate inner peace. Mantras can provide you support when you need it most - comfort, inspiration, reassurance, motivation, a sense of calm, or a burst of energy - and they can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
The words in mantras are carefully formulated to offer you a way to be present and move through a particular situation. Incorporating mantras into your daily life will help you be more focused and centered, and better able to transform perceived obstacles into doorways of opportunity.
Examples of mantras include single words such as “Om,” “love,” or “peace,” or Sanskrit phrases such as “Om Namah Shivaya” which can be interpreted as bowing to our true highest selves.
The History of Mantras
Mantras are on the most ancient mind-body practices. They have been around for over 3,000 years but were not fully discovered until the last 150 years. This is because a good portion of the mantras were written in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit and kept private to preserve their quality. Although Sanskrit is not spoken today, it is very much kept alive through the practice of mantras.
Sanskrit mantras were designed as a tool for healing and spiritual growth. They were used to increase abundance, prosperity, strength, protection, fortitude, and love. Thousands of mantras have been recorded throughout history. You can think of Sanskrit mantras as being similar to an eternal flame. When you recite a Sanskrit mantra, you are not only tapping into the energy of the words but also the level of consciousness that was put into the words by those who repeated it before you.
Today, Sanskrit mantras are catching the attention of neuroscientists and mind-body researchers. Many of them are studying the effects of a positive mindset on overall health and well-being, and mantras can certainly help facilitate a positive outlook.
Difference between Mantras & Affirmations
A “positive affirmation” is a term often used interchangeably with mantras; however, the two have vastly different origins and applications. Positive affirmations were developed in the 1970’s by neuroscientists, incorporating a modern understanding of psychotherapy and linguistics in order to consciously rewire thought patterns towards more desired outcomes. Affirmations can be stated anytime and tend to be complete sentences addressing something we wish to have or be as if we already have it in the present moment.
Examples of positive affirmations include phrases such as “I am whole and perfect the way I am,” “I am overflowing with abundance,” or “I am radiating with love.”
Author Louise Hay is one the pioneers of affirmations. Although mantras and affirmations share a similar intention of transformation and empowerment, to effectively practice mantras it is helpful to know what distinguishes them apart.
|Are at least 3,000 years old
|Surfaced in the 1970s
|Founded in spirituality
|Founded in psychology
|Can be as short as a single syllable
|Are usually a full sentence
|Are repeated more frequently in chants
|Are repeated less often
How Mantras Work & Its Benefits
Mantras allow you to take charge of your energy. Direction your energy to positive, thoughtful place can help you reduce stress which we all know has negative effects on our bodies. In fact, the Mayo Clinic endorses positive thinking and self-talk because it may:
- Increase your life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Help you de-stress
- Give you greater resistance to the common cold
- Improve your overall psychological and physical well-being
- Reduce your risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Give you better coping skills during life's obstacles
When practiced regularly, mantras are like medicine for your energy. According to Healing Mantras, "mantras help prepare your energy centers (chakras) to receive and use large amounts of spiritual energy." Other additional benefits of reciting mantras include the following:
- Releasing subconscious emotions
- Increasing calm
- Changing your brain for the better
- Increasing health, awareness, and universal connection
How to Use a Mantra
Although mantras are simply words or phrases to repeat, there is an art to practicing them most effectively. Here are some tips for integrating mantras into your daily life.
- Create a sacred space
- Pronounce them properly
- Practice frequently
- Chant your mantras intentionally
- Believe in your words
- Incorporate mantras into your daily life
- Say thank you
*content by "Mantras Made Easy" by Sherianna Boyle, MED, CAGS & Integrative Nutrition Blog