A mantra is a word or phrase that is used to impart a state of well-being and happiness in a person. The word translates as mind (man) projection (tra) and is akin to the idea that what you think about is what you become. This is similar to an affirmation which is a sentence aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind.
The use of mantras originated in India centuries ago and is now used by people throughout the world. A recent study indicates that using mantras can prove beneficial in helping people handle a wide range of conditions, and is particularly helpful in reducing stress and anxiety.
Researchers studied 66 people who participated in a five-week program, during which the subjects chose a mantra and learned how to use it to manage stress. Participants chose their own mantra, and then were taught how to repeat it silently during the day or evening to interrupt unwanted thoughts or create a state of relaxation. Approximately three months after the program ended, 83 percent of veterans and hospital staff told researchers from the US Department of Veterans Affairs that they found the technique which involves silently and continuously repeating calming words or phrases throughout the day - useful on a number of occasions. These included better handling of traffic and work-related stress, less insomnia, and fewer unwanted thoughts.
Can what you think, your beliefs and attitudes, affect your health and happiness? After working with thousands of people both as a doctor and a Yoga instructor over the last 40 years I've realized that:
Your beliefs and attitudes can and do materialize in your body, based on what you think about all day long and how optimistic or pessimistic you are.
Here's a mantra to try. Every time your mind wants to take control and tell you how sick, depressed, and fragmented your life is, repeat to yourself over and over:
Healthy Am I, Happy Am I, Holy Am I
Remember that no two things can occupy the same space at the same time. Similarly, in your mind, no two thoughts can occupy the same space at once. So when your negative mind tells you you're awful, down, depressed, or going to catch a cold, displace the negative thought with the positive mantra (affirmation) above.
Other mantras you can try are as simple as:
I Am, I Am