A mantra is a phrase that can help you invite in mindfulness to your daily life. Mantras were traditionally used during meditation and are still used this way in many spiritual traditions.
I think of a mantra as an intention. This intention might come from a deep wish you have inside, or it might be a shift you’re hoping for in your life (or even for the world). Your mantra could be more like a prayer or guidance that you’re holding close. You might work with just one mantra for a long time, focusing on it during meditation or moments of quiet. Or there might be a handful of words or phrases you turn to depending on what you need in a certain moment.
I started making Soul Mantra jewelry because I wanted to wear the phrases that were guiding me to keep them close each day. I found that when I wore “I am enough” and “find your center” and “open up and live” on my body, I was reminded to believe these truths. And I felt less alone as the words themselves became companions in the beautiful and tough moments.
In our current culture, mantras are used in several ways to invite in mindfulness to our daily lives. Here are five ways to help you get started:
You can repeat your mantra silently to yourself as you breathe and let this repetition be a space for your mind to rest while you meditate. The mantra assists you in entering the silence meditation is helping you find by giving your mind something to focus on.
A mala is helpful when using a mantra in meditation because it gives you a set number of times to repeat the mantra. A mala, similar to a rosary, is helpful when used in meditation. You slide the beads between your fingers so you can focus on the words of your mantra instead of counting the number of times you’re saying the mantra. Most malas include a “guru” bead that is larger than the other beads so you know where to begin and end your meditation.
As a touchstone
You can use your mantra as a touchstone during your day. When I want to pause for a moment or two and reboot myself a bit using a mantra, I inhale and think the words, and then exhale and imagine all that I need from the mantra surrounds me. Then I breathe all that in and say it again to myself. Doing this a few times creates some space between whatever is happening in my life and where I want to be.
As a visual reminder
For me to use a mantra as a touchstone though, I usually have to see it or I won’t remember. So to keep this practice close, I have a handful of mantras and other reminders I need throughout my home. From artwork that includes affirmations to postcards on the fridge to sticky notes on the mirror in the bathroom to a talisman I keep in my pocket, I love to be surrounded by these reminders that help me refocus throughout the day. I’ve been known to even write mantras on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker.
As a journaling prompt
Using a mantra as a journaling prompt can help you peel back the layers of how you’re feeling about something. Let yourself freewrite with the mantra as a jumping off point. Freewriting means just putting your pen to paper and writing for several minutes without stopping.
For example, if you’re feeling drawn to a particular phrase, like, “I am enough,” you could use that phrase as a journaling prompt. It could be a question – “What if I believed that I am enough?” – that you then answer through journaling. Or it could be more of a statement like “I know I am enough because…”
And of course, you can wear your mantra
From writing a word or phrase you need to hold close onto your wrist with a sharpie to wearing a necklace or bracelet with your mantra to getting a tattoo, wearing your mantra is always an option. It keeps it close to you, sometimes feeling like a whispered prayer you carry with you daily. Customize jewelry with your mantra right here.
Photo credit: Top photo by Lauren Oliver Photography, mala photo by Bonnie Albers