No place like “ohm”: what having a mantra can do for you

If you’ve spent time scrolling through Instagram lately, you’ve probably seen mantras. Something like, “everything happens for a reason,” “comparison is the thief of joy,” or “breathe.”

These statements aren’t simply clichés or a bunch of words that look pretty on a graphic. Mantras are words or phrases you can use during a meditation session or simply during a challenging moment in your day to help you focus and calm yourself.

Mantras have been around much longer than Instagram. People have used them for centuries, particularly in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Christianity. There are many benefits to mantras, including serenity and improved focus. It may be worth it for you to find a mantra, whether you’re experiencing stress or having difficulties focusing or not.

a confident woman stretching after a workout

What are some benefits of mantras?

Meditation and mindfulness practices often utilize mantras to help practitioners reap the following benefits:

  • Lower anxiety
  • Enhanced well-being
  • A more positive perspective on life
  • Less difficultly focusing
  • Increased motivation
  • The ability to live in the moment

Is there any research behind how mantras help?

Over the last decade, a pair of studies have bolstered claims about the benefits of mantras. One 2012 study found that people who engaged in meditation involving mantras (Kirtan Kriya) for 12 minutes per day for eight weeks were less anxious and had improved memories. The meditation enhanced cerebral blood flow and cognitive functions. Another study from 2017 concluded mantras help people relax.

a woman looking out at the water at sunrise

How can I come up with my mantra?

No two people are alike. A mantra that works for your best friend may not benefit you, and that’s OK. It’s essential to find something that fits your wants and needs. Here are a few steps to take when developing yours.

Who do I strive to be?

Mantras improve motivation, so think about what your goals are. These don’t have to be career or fitness goals but an intention for who you’d like to become as a person. Perhaps you want to become more confident. “I have everything I need inside of me” may be a good mantra for you. Maybe you’d like to stress less. “I’m going to control the controllables” may be beneficial.

What brings out the best in you?

Think about the best boss or mentor you ever had. How did they inspire you and help you grow? Perhaps you best responded to their gentler touch because you are your biggest critic. On the other hand, you may have needed extra motivation to stay on task and benefited from their positive but firm instructions. Now, turn those strategies inward, use them on yourself, and develop a mantra that embodies these traits.

Experiment

If you’re struggling with a mantra, pick one or try out a few. Then, step back and evaluate which works best for you. It’s OK if you try something and it doesn’t work, or if a mantra benefited you for a year and suddenly becomes less effective. Consider mantras and meditation a journey. It’s better to re-assess and pivot than to stick with something that isn’t serving you.

Say it often

Consistency is key. Remember, in the 2012 study, people engaged in a mantra-style of meditation daily. Consider doing the same. You can also recite your mantra multiple times per day if you need.

Are mantras dangerous?

There really isn’t any harm in trying a mantra. The key is to find one that helps you instead of trying to force one that doesn’t. Doing so can feel deflating. Also, mantras are not a cure-all. If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or difficultly concentrating, it may help you to speak with a professional.

Mantras have been around for centuries and are common in many religions and mediation practices. You can still benefit from having one today, even if you don’t belong to an organized religion or struggle to meditate. Mantras may literally change your brain by bolstering cerebral blood flow and your cognitive functioning. They can also help you relax, boost focus and motivation, and allow you to live in the moment. Mantras are generally a safe form of self-help, but you may still wish to see a counselor or other mental health professional if anxiety, depression or other detrimental feelings persist.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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