Are Mantras Useful?

The idea of the personal mantra is relatively new but for those of us who spend time online taking part in discussions about empowerment and self-discovery, they’re nearly impossible to avoid.

For many of our readers, the concept of personal growth through mantras is compelling. You may have already written a few mantras of your own or you may be asking, “what is a mantra exactly? And do they REALLY work?”

If you inquired about a mantra just a few years ago, most people would have thought that you were asking about Buddhist meditation rituals. However, the concept of creating a personal mantra has evolved over the years. More recently, mantras have come to represent guiding principles that inspire people to take positive action in their lives.

A mantra is generally a statement of purpose that an individual designs to inspire themselves to take action in one or more areas of their lives. It could also be used to improve self-esteem and confidence. A mantra is usually short, a few sentences to a paragraph in length so that it is easy to recite and is powerful and particluarly meaningful for the person who created it.

Some people believe that mantras are ineffective– that they are a marketing tool endorsed by motivational speakers and life coaches as a means of manipulation. Other people believe that they do have a positive impact when used as a behavioral health tool. When you look at the way mantras work and how they are integrated into daily life, it’s hard to see how they’re harmful, and easy to see how they help promote positive self-talk. Self-talk is the stream of chatter that goes through your mind at any given moment. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative and in general the more negative the chatter, the more pessimistic one’s life outlook. Therefore, when used as a behavioral health tool, a mantra can help a person learn how to create more positive automatic thoughts and thus generate a more optimistic and healthier life perspective.

Let’s explore the benefits of positive self-talk. The Mayo Clinic identifies the following effects of positive thinking:

• Increased life span
• Lower rates of depression
• Lower levels of distress
• Greater resistance to the common cold
• Better psychological and physical well-being
• Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
• Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Given all of the benefits of positive self-talk, developing a mantra that helps improve the chatter in your mind seems to be a powerful and healthy behavioral health tool. When done well, it can really help improve one’s emotional and behavioral health. However, it is important to make sure that when you’re getting guidance from others about writing your own personal mantra, that you are getting information from a reliable source. There may be some people who are not very skilled and may inadvertently be a bit misleading when it comes to the power of personal mantras. Also, although mantras can be quite powerful behavioral health aids it is important that you do not rely on them exclusively. Taking action to change what may be frustrating you as well as working with a skilled professional is recommended in addition to writing your mantra.

Do you have a mantra that helps improve your self-talk?

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