From the websites of
Use these positive affirmations and traditional Sanskrit mantras for anxiety as a daily practice or when you are in a particularly stressful moment.
During a global pandemic – or really anytime – anxious thoughts seem to be playing on a racing loop in your head: Was I just too close to my neighbor? Is my mask too loose? Is my dog coughing? But what if you could relieve your anxiety simply by replacing your thoughts with other thoughts?
Mantras – repeated phrases designed to calm your mind – allow you to focus your mind on a single, focused point, says Raghu Markus, executive director of the Love Serve Remember Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes the teachings of Ram Dass (an American spiritual teacher, psychologist and author of Be Here Now.). If your mind tends to float in the past or future (a common thread in anxious thoughts and stress-related rethinking), using mantras for fear can help bring you into the present.
If all of this seems too wooed to you, consider science. Research shows that chanting mantras can calm the area of the brain that is responsible for self-assessment and wandering of thoughts. Similarly, a 2016 study found that singing “Om” for 10 minutes increased participants’ focus, improved their mood, and made them feel more connected. Mantras have also proven successful in the clinical setting. A 2018 study found that mantra therapy was effective in reducing PTSD symptoms in veterans and that 59 percent of participants no longer met criteria for PTSD after just two months of using the technique.
While the word “mantra” specifically refers to sacred utterances (usually in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language), other chants and positive affirmations can have power. Gurus and therapists say that you can get similar healing effects by chanting positive affirmations. (Think: Paul McCartney’s wise advice to “Let it be” or the late guru Ram Dass’s request to “be here now.”) For people with anxiety disorders, focusing on these positive feelings can decrease the intensity of the emotions and the physiological ones decrease symptoms of anxiety, says Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of 13 Things Sane People Don’t Do.
How exactly do you use an anxiety mantra? First, choose a set time to get involved in the practice each day, says Dr. Marlynn Wei, author of Harvard Medical School’s Guide to Yoga. Get into a comfortable sitting position and then close or lower your eyes a few feet in front of you. Start with five to ten minutes and work your way up to 20 or more, says Jack Kornfield, author of No Time Like the Present – and don’t be afraid to experiment a little with your practice and find out what works for you . Some people recite the mantras aloud while others recite the phrases softly in their heads. Likewise, some use mala beads, a string of pearls used to count mantras, while others simply count on their fingers, he says. In addition to using these anxiety mantras as a daily grounding practice, you can also turn to them during moments of high stress.
Regardless of how you use mantras, the most important thing is to find the right one for you. Here are some popular Sanskrit anti-anxiety mantras (with English translations) recommended by gurus for calming the mind and relieving stress. Also, learn how to find your own positive affirmation if this feels more accessible to you.
(Also Read: 12 Anxiety Symptoms That Could Indicate a Disorder)
See this post on Instagram
CULTIVATING THE PRACTICE OF ‘BEING HERE’ NOW “What has changed now is that when I am ‘here’ it is a lot more time, that is, I am here and when I am not here, it is I’m not here. It’s interesting how when you give another person, your family or your business the fullness of your being in every moment, a little is enough while you give them half because you give them time with your mind connect, there is never enough. You begin to hear the secret that the greatest gift you can give to any situation is when you are fully in the present moment “ – Ram Dass illustration by @ thesoulshineco 🌼
Considered the root of all mantras, om has no direct translation and many levels of meaning. it symbolizes the first moment of creation and contains everything that would come after that. There was nothing and then there was a vibration that was om, explains Aaron Fast, a yoga teacher in Brooklyn, New York. Since om is often referred to as the primordial vibration from which all life emerged, a report from 2009 explains that its rhythm resounds in every vital system (heartbeat, breathing, brain waves). So when you sing “Om” you can connect more deeply and calm your mind. Try to chant the mantra internally and let it flow with each breath. Or sing it out loud, hear your own voice and interrupt all thinking. Say it in three parts: execute with an “ah” sound, slide gently into “oh”, and end with a “mmm” hum. (Learn more about the history and meaning of Om here.)
Soham (that’s me)
Soham (soe-hum) means “I am that” or “I am the universe”. Chanting the mantra helps you move from your limited self-esteem to something wider and reminds you that you are part of something bigger, says Lily Cushman, author of A Little Piece of Mantras: An Introduction to Sacred Sounds. As you develop an expanded awareness, your daily worries and fears will subside. Listen carefully and you can hear the sounds of Soham on your breath, she says. The sound of “so” is associated with the inhalation and “ham” is associated with the exhalation. As you chant Soham, synchronize the rhythm of your breath with the mantra, inhale the sound of “so” and release “ham”. You can also recite the mantra softly while aligning the internal chant with your breath.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (May all beings be happy and free)
By chanting Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (Low-Kah Sah-Moos-Tah Soo-Kee-No Buh-Vahn-also) – which means “May all beings be happy and free” – you invoke peace in all things. It is often sung at the end of an exercise in order to draw out the delicate feelings of the exercise. You can also search this mantra for fear when you feel overwhelmed by the suffering in the world and don’t know what to do about it, says Cushman. Over time, this mantra will help you develop a deeper connection with others and encourage action. It can help you live on a place of connection and care rather than fear and anxiety, for example, she says. Instead of reflecting on your fearful thoughts, you can use this energy in your commitment to helping others.
Om Mani Padme Hum (Praise to the jewel of the lotus)
Strangely enough, the lotus flower – the national flower of India – blooms in muddy water. The chanting of Om Mani Padme Hum (ohm mah-nee pahd-may hum), which means “praise to the jewel in the lotus”, is a reminder of the good that can arise from your fear or difficult circumstances (the mud). Therefore, chanting this mantra can be especially helpful when it comes to challenging emotions, says Spring Washam, author of A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage, and Wisdom in Every Moment. You can call out for compassion (jewel) and it will help you through difficult moments, she says. Washam says that the mantra is most powerfully chanted during a seated, concentrated meditation, but it can also be chanted during a walking meditation. And indeed, in those weird, pandemic times when you take your nervous, face-masked walks around town suspicious of every passerby, you want to chant this mantra for fear.
Find your own positive affirmation
Don’t you feel this? As mentioned earlier, although non-Sanskrit phrases and chants are traditionally not considered mantras, you can absolutely find positive affirmation that works for you as a mantra for fear. Search popular song lyrics or slogans to find a phrase that matters to you. If you’re looking for a slogan that fits right in with these pandemic times, you might just find solace in the old adage, “This too will pass.” Kornfield suggests singing “Just Love” while Morin repeats “I’m fine,” “I’m enough,” or “I’ve been through tough times”. I can get through that too ”, everyone can help drown out negative thoughts. Or, consider these other mantra ideas from meditation professionals or motivational sayings from trainers if you’re looking for inspiration.
(Also Read: 7 Chill Yoga Poses That Help Relieve Anxiety)
SHAPE and the SHAPE logo are registered trademarks of TI Gotham Inc., used under license. © 2019 TI Gotham Inc., a subsidiary of Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Complete or partial reproduction without written permission is not permitted.