Very basically, a mantra is something nice you can say to yourself. It’s purpose usually is to keep you motivated in a process of transformation, or to re-focus you in the face of distractions.
Mantras originated in the practice of meditation, where they meant to help monks concentrate through their repetition in meditation. The most well-known mantra is probably the sound “Om” or “Aum”, in Hinduism understood to be the first sound of the universe that resulted in all creation. If you’ve never heard a group chant it, you can listen to an hour of Om group chanting here or a solo male here. :)
You might be familiar with mala beads, a similar idea to the rosary, where you move a bead through your fingers for every mantra you speak.
Depending on personal preference, mantras can be words or sounds.
In my own recovery from depression ten years ago, for example, I liked to use the simple statement: “It will pass.”
I believe that mantras can be an excellent way to zoom in on what matters most in recovery, and I would encourage you to pick one from the list below, create your own (see how below) or surf the web to find one that speaks to you.
If you have five minutes, I would encourage you to pick a mantra, get comfortable, close your eyes, start breathing deeply and simply start repeating your mantra silently.
Recovery mantras that could be helpful are:
“Expect nothing, appreciate everything.”
“I am free from sadness.”
“Purpose over perfect.”
“I am enough.”
“I am the change.”
“Everything I need is within me.”
“I am free from anger.”
“Life is a gift.”
“Inhale the future, exhale the past.”
“Yesterday is not today.”
“May all beings be happy and free, and may my thoughts and actions contribute that happiness and freedom for all.”
“May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave.”
“I was born to be real.”
And if you’d rather make your own mantra, think of something that someone said to you or that you read somewhere that really hit home and think about how that could serve you as a mantra. For me, for example, one of those statements was: “Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”
At the end of the day, recovery certainly is about trying new things all the time. Why not give a mantra a go one of these days?
As always, I hope this was helpful to you, and if you have any questions, you know where to find me!