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  • Christina Helms

Harnessing the Power of Mantras for Mental Well-being

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the importance of mental well-being and the tools available to support it. There’s one incredibly simple but effective ancient practice that stands out: mantras.

In moments of distress, our minds often spiral into a whirlwind of repetitive thoughts, amplifying feelings of anxiety, anger, or self-criticism. Unfortunately, our minds lack an off switch, replaying past mistakes, anticipating future troubles, or dwelling on present difficulties. Though we can’t shut the mind off, there are ways to turn down the volume on this noise.

Enter mantras, derived from the Sanskrit words "manas" (mind) and "tra" (tool), or “tools for the mind”. These simple words or sounds, when repeated, act as focal points, guiding our attention away from tumultuous thoughts and toward a place of calm.

I recall the mantra my mother imparted to me in moments of distress: "This too shall pass." Over time, I've abbreviated it to "this too," a reminder that emotions, like waves, rise and fall, but ultimately recede - a testament to the transient nature of all things.

Another mantra I've found solace in is "It's ok not to know." In a world that often demands certainty, this phrase embraces the beauty of uncertainty. Whether awaiting test results or grappling with imposter syndrome, this mantra is comforting, acknowledging that we don’t know everything, and that's perfectly acceptable.

"I am enough" is another powerful mantra that reaffirms our intrinsic worth, when self-doubt and criticism are showing up. You can couple this mantra with the practice of tapping thumb to fingertips with each syllable for a more embodied experience of the phrase.

And then there's the simplicity of "peace." Just uttering this word invokes a sense of tranquility, as if exhaling a sigh of relief. Whether stuck in traffic, overwhelmed by global events, or consumed by anger, this mantra serves as an anchor, grounding us in the present moment.

It's important to note that mantras aren't one-size-fits-all; they're deeply personal and can be tailored to suit individual needs. Whether it's a single word or a phrase, the key lies in finding what resonates with you.


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