Anyone who knows me understands that I love positive quotes (my 200+ inspirational quote board on Pinterest speaks for itself), but recently I have branched into the world of mantras and positive affirmations.
After making a pretty life changing career move, I retreated into myself, and began to question who I was and what I wanted from my life. I wondered what new direction I should take in my working life. So, I did what I always do in times of struggle: I picked up a book. Not just any book, one of my all time favorite quote books: All On The Board. But something about quotes wasn’t fulfilling my needs at the time. Cue my new hidden superpower: mantras and positive affirmations.
First off, I should clarify that mantras and affirmations are different. They both reinforce a focus on your inner peace and a positive mindset, but in different ways.
Mantras are repetitive sounds or phrases aimed at deepening your concentration during meditation and yoga. They connect back to Hindu and Buddhist faiths and spirituality at large. A mantra separates your mind from the whirlwind of thoughts consuming your mental energy, in order to re-establish your inner peace.
As my brain whirred with questions and worries, I relied upon a tried and true friend: mantras and meditation. In a busy world catapulting out of a global pandemic, it can be hard to find even five minutes to switch off those distracting thoughts.
Fortunately, there are many apps, playlists and videos for using mantras to focus your mind during meditation. My personal favorites are the Meditative Mind channel on youtube and the Asana Rebel app for guided meditation. (Bonus: You don't have to pay for a subscription to Meditative Mind OR Asana Rebel).
If meditating isn’t your thing, no worries! My next suggestion may encourage you to join the positive affirmation crew. Positive affirmations are sometimes confused with mantras, but they are certainly different. Where mantras are mainly used in meditation, affirmations can be used anywhere and at any time. They also aren’t words; they are normally sentences aimed at something we want to have or to become.
For example a personal favourite affirmation of mine is from the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
I use this on the days when I am tired, when I’ve lost the energy to be kind, or if I have read something negative that made me feel like giving up. Using this affirmation, I channel positive energy into my thoughts, allowing me to remain kind despite my inner turmoil.
This affirmation also reinforces another favorite of mine: “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted” (Aesop). Simply saying good morning to a stranger or brewing a cup of tea for a family member can make you (and them) feel so much better.
Affirmations provide that much-needed nudge to focus on the positive. In a world of social media influencers, perpetually traumatizing news stories, and climate change, it can be tricky to find that inner motivation.
The best thing about mantras and affirmations is that there is no rule book! You have ownership of them, and it is your choice to pursue a positive change in your life. Mantras and affirmations also don’t have to be used daily to be effective.
Personally, I believe mantras are useful to focus on being in the moment, especially during yoga and meditation. Conversely, affirmations support personal goals or intentions, and positively influence how we interact with the world around us. They help you create a positive headspace, take steps towards your goals, and focus on your dreams rather than your failures.
At the beginning of this year, I set an affirmation for myself: I am not what I have done; I am what I have overcome. Feel free to use this affirmation if it speaks to you, or you can come up with some of your own!
Anyway you choose to practice mantras and affirmations, remember that it is YOUR hidden superpower. Use it wisely, and a world of positivity will open up before you.
Written by: Sophie HiggsInstagram: @timeladysophz