How to use affirmations and mantras to “trick” your subconscious mind and support you in troubled times.

Words can be powerful. Whether loving or hurtful, words hold a place in our hearts and our minds, for better or for worse.
The good thing is, especially in times of stress, worry, loss, transition, restlessness or change, affirmations or mantras can offer us a powerful support.
In the past few years, there has almost been an affirmation hype as every motivation coach or personal development guru would encourage you to tell yourself how beautiful, powerful, strong, great, … you are. I think, if you overdo it, the positive effect of affirmations will wear off.

Mantras vs. affirmations

Mantras and affirmations often work as synonyms these days. However, there is a difference:

Mantras are words, sounds, or invocations either in Sanskrit or any other language, that aid the individual in focusing concentration and deepening meditation while also uniting him or her with a higher power. Mantras are associated with mysticism and spirituality and aim to liberate the mind from thought in order to facilitate inner peace. 
Examples of mantras include single words such as “Om,” “love,” or “peace,” or Sanskrit phrases such as “Om Namah Shivaya” which can be interpreted as bowing to our true highest selves.

On the other hand, affirmations are specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts, to create positive changes in your life.
Although the the term “positive affirmations” is often used interchangeably with mantras; there is a difference, especially energetically.
So you could say: Affirmations change beliefs, Mantras move energy.

Create an affirmation or work with a mantra that really means something to you.

When you decide to work with a mantra, make sure you find one that resonates with you. While the effectiveness of a mantra is not based on the understanding of the word(s) itself, its rather the vibration of the word and the ability to change frequencies in the body through sound waves, that makes them so powerful.
In the following, I will concentrate mainly on how to create your own affirmation.

Instead of repeating affirmations from someone else, make the effort and invest some time in creating your own. Think about customizing the intention behind your affirmation based on your current needs using words that make the most sense to you in that particular moment. For example, I always work with affirmations or mantras, when something is troubling me or there’s something I cannot get out of my mind.
But instead of focusing on what I need less of, I as myself what kind of support do I need to change the situation or to create calmness in my mind. When creating you own mantra, leave out the negative aspects and think about the positive attitudes, actions and thoughts that support you.

Creating your own affirmation

Your affirmation can be one word only or a whole phrase. Just try to follow the following tips:

  • It should be short enough for you to repeat it over and over again without having to think too hard.
  • Use clear, simple words.
  • It should be calming.
  • It should be affirming, positive and make you feel good.
  • Use present tense.
  • Begin the phrase with “I have”, “I am”, “I trust”, … etc.

Whether you chose your affirmation to be more general (e.g. “I am confident.” or “I am grounded.”) or to help you in a specific situation or with a specific matter (e.g. “I trust my intuition and heart to guide me find the right decision” or “I am at peace and ready to move on”), one thing is very important:

Make your affirmation accessible.

Make your affirmation accessible and access it often. Write it down, print it out, pin it on your mirror, hang it up, study it.
As I said, I usually work with affirmation when something is troubling me. Then I write it down and carry it with me in my purse or pocket, so I have to look at it several times a day. In the beginning, I’m reading it many times – aloud or quiet – a day, use it during meditation or just thinking about it and what it means to me. Then, after a while it becomes more and more normal to see and use it until one day I notice that it has served me well but I don’t need it any more. Then I look at the paper one last time and remove it from my pocket, feeling relieved, satisfied, happy…

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