In today’s fast-paced world, we are all searching for ways to decrease our stress levels. A mantra may be just what you need to take your meditation to the next level. This ancient practice has survived for centuries because it works. If you are serious about destressing, try using a mantra when you meditate. The results might just surprise you!
What is a Mantra?
Just what exactly is a mantra? Although you have likely heard the word before, you may not have a clear understanding of what they really are. The Oxford Dictionary defines a mantra as “a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.” You then chant this word or sound out loud or silently in your mind while meditating.
In modern times, many people have come to believe that this word simply means “intention.” However, this is not the case. Two parts make up the word “mantra.” The first part, “man”, translates to “mind” while the second half, “tra” can be translated as “transport” or “vehicle.” So, in essence, a “mantra” is “a vehicle to transport the mind.”
The first use of mantras dates back to the Vedic scriptures found in ancient Hinduism. Because Buddhism developed out of Hinduism in ancient India, use of these powerful sound vibrations to aid meditation is found in both of these religions. Not surprisingly, many other religions have also embraced the use of sound to deepen the spiritual experience. Besides the new age movement, the mantras are also used by Sikhs, Jains, and Trantrikas. Yoga also uses mantra meditation.
How a Mantra Can Enhance Meditation
At this point, you are probably wondering why this practice is so useful when practicing meditation. Usually, when we meditate, we try to quiet our mind and think of nothing. However, this is actually more difficult to do in reality than in theory. Silencing the mind isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. But when we use a mantra, we do the opposite. We use the thinking part of our mind and make it work rather than trying to shut it down. Repeating a mantra gives our minds something to do instead.
Focusing your mind on a mantra actually allows your mind to calm down and become quiet, at which point you can stop repeating the sound and allow your mind to be quiet. If you find that thoughts begin to intrude, simply start chanting your mantra again.
Aldous Huxley stated that when we repeat a mantra, it transcends mental activity. By doing so, it allows us to be transcendental, and experience the “source of thought.”
There are distinct benefits of using a mantra when you meditate. Some of the benefits include relieving stress, increasing positive brainwaves, regulating the heart rate, stimulating the immune system, lowering blood pressure, and easing fear and anxiety.
10 Popular Mantras to Relieve Stress
We already know that meditation can reduce stress levels, but adding a mantra to your can help you destress even more. By repeating a phrase over and over, you can quiet your anxious mind and allow yourself to truly relax. The most famous is “Om,” pronounced Aum. But that is far from the only option. Here are a few of our favorites to help decrease the stress in your life and calm your mind.
- I am in charge of my stress.
- Be here now.
- I choose peace.
- Let it be.
- I forgive myself.
- All is well.
- I surrender.
- Peace is a choice.
- Stress is not my friend.
- Laughter lightens my load.
You can also create your own that has special meaning to you and your life. Often, the ones we create for ourselves are the most powerful. Thinking about what has contributed to your successes and what you could have done differently to avoid disappointment can help you craft a statement that speaks to you.
How to Use a Mantra
To meditate using a mantra, the first step is arguably the most important. Before you begin, find a quiet place to meditate and get your body into a comfortable position. Whether you are sitting cross-legged in the grass, are seated in a chair, or choose to lie in your bed, it doesn’t really make much difference as long as you are comfortable and can maintain the position. (And stay awake.) Don’t forget to set the mood by adjusting the lighting or maybe lighting some incense.
Next, close your eyes and focus on your breath. However, you don’t want to try to control your breath. Rather, just focus on how it feels when the air enters your body, fills your lungs, and then leaves you. Don’t attempt to control your breath. Just focus your attention on what it feels like when you inhale and exhale. Feel the air going in and out of your body.
Now, it is time to begin using your mantra. Some people find it easier to start off with the traditional Om and then transition into the specific mantra they have chosen. But not everyone feels this step is necessary.
At this point, you can either continue chanting your mantra or choose to sit in silent meditation once you are relaxed and have silenced your mind. Remember that when it comes to mediation, there is no rulebook. Find what works for you and go with it. There really is no right or wrong.
Using Mantra Meditation to Relieve Stress
Meditation has been used for centuries to help us destress. The use of a mantra can make your meditation even more effective. The repetition of words or sounds puts the thinking part of the mind to work and can actually help to quiet our thoughts. Stress is a common problem in today’s world. In fact, it is essentially unavoidable. However, meditation with a mantra may be just what you need to finally de-stress and relax. There is a reason this practice has survived for centuries. Try meditating with any of the mantras listed above or create your own. This ancient practice may be just what you need to finally reduce your stress levels!