In the past ten years, the awareness of Eastern philosophies and ways of healing our minds and bodies has become part of our normal conversation. What used to be considered “hippie-ish” is now more mainstream. People are looking for ways to be more “zen” and less stressed.
It’s not unheard of for someone to learn yoga, practice meditation with the help of a phone app, burn candles or play spa-like music to help slow down their hurried lives.
One of the Eastern traditions that have become popular is using a mantra.
On the website for the Chopra Center, a mantra is described “Like a seed planted with the intention of blossoming into a beautiful perennial, a mantra can be thought of as a seed for energizing an intention. Much in the same way you plant a flower seed, you plant mantras in the fertile soil of practice. You nurture them and over time they bear the fruit of your intention.”
When used in meditation it helps the mind to concentrate on the one the word or set of words chosen rather than being distracted by the 60,000 other thoughts that are vying for our attention.
This week I’m going to share some working mom mantras, why you may want to start using one and how to create your own.
Working mom mantras
When I work with clients, one of the most important things I can show them is their thoughts. Most are shocked by what’s been going on behind the scene in their minds. It’s like a two year old with a knife has been running around unsupervised!
By showing them how to choose their thoughts consciously, they are able to plant seeds that bear incredible fruit in their lives. They are able to set intentions, take directive action and get the results they truly desire.
Since our thoughts drive our feelings, actions and eventually our results, the importance of managing our minds cannot be underestimated. By working with the Manage Your Mind Model I am able to help them learn how to eventually coach themselves to have the awareness they need to move forward towards their goals (for help with the Manage Your Mind Model get your free copy here of “5 Simple Steps To Reduce Overwhelm Today”).
Having managed my mind for years, I have experienced the power of choosing empowering thoughts that make me feel and act better at work and at home. Sometimes a mantra can just be a sentence in your native language that creates a positive emotion. Or sometimes a mantra could be words in a foreign language whose meaning doesn’t automatically make our brains try to make sense yet gives us a peaceful feeling.
Some of my favorite mantras in English are:
- All is well until I know differently
- “No” is a full sentence in any situation
- I am doing my best
- I am always open to learning
- I can choose peace instead of this
- I deserve time for myself
- I am valuable
- I am the best mom for my child
- My all-time favorite that is on the dashboard of my car – things are always working out for me
I took a Kundalini yoga class years ago that taught us many different mantras that were helpful but the mantra that has stayed with me to this day was “Sat Nam” (pronounced SUT NOM). It means “Truth is my essence”. Whenever I have trouble sleeping, I will repeat “Sat Nam” to quiet my mind. Also the word “Lagom” (pronounced LAH GOM) is Swedish and means enough, just right, just the right amount, simple, suitable, sufficient or in balance. I will sometimes sit in a quiet place and take a breath in thinking “LAH” and take a breath out thinking “GOM”.
Whether you choose a mantra in your native language or in a foreign language doesn’t matter; what matters is the feeling you get when you say the word(s) out loud or in your head. That feeling is what will drive your actions and as working moms, having a way to take peaceful, effective action is how life can become less overwhelming.
Why you may want to start using a mantra
Our brains are amazingly efficient. We have habits of thoughts that have created “connections” or neural pathways in our brain. It’s why we can drive to work without really thinking about it; it’s like we are on automatic pilot.
That’s great news because we would never get anything done if we had to constantly be telling our brains to stop at the red light, turn at the fourth block or take out the keys once the car is stopped.
It’s not great news when we’ve been thinking the same negative thoughts over and over again. When our neural pathways lead us to think the same, feel the same and react the same, we wonder why we can’t make the changes we’d like to make.
When we create a new neural pathway it’s like walking through an overgrown jungle. Initially there is no well- worn path for us to walk along and we need to keep hacking away at the brush in our way. But over time, we can clear a way where there was none. We can let the old negative thought pathway become overgrown with weeds from neglect.
This is why a mantra is a great tool to start using. It’s a simple sentence that, when used time and time again, can clear a way towards feeling how we’d like to feel.
When we feel better we do better at work, at home, in our relationships, with our self-esteem. When we think differently, we become different.
Create your own
Does it sound complicated? Well that’s just your old neural pathway telling you the same old negative stuff like “That won’t work”, “You don’t know how hectic my life is” or “But my thoughts are all over the place!”
My mind said all the same things when I started to use mantras but over time it lessened its grip and my mantras became automatic.
In order to create your own, do the following:
- What is the feeling you would like to create on a regular basis?
- When was the last time you truly felt that feeling?
- What was the situation?
- What were you thinking when you felt that feeling?
- Now take the thoughts you were thinking that created that feeling and make them into a short sentence
- Make sure it is believable
The feeling I wanted to create was peace and the last time I had felt it was sitting on the beach near my house. I was all alone with my beach chair, umbrella and a good book to read. As I sat listening to the waves and feeling the breeze I kept thinking “This is what peace feels like. I like this feeling. There is nothing I have to do right now. I can just do this.”
The funny thing was that on my drive home I was listening to something and the person said “You know you always have the option to choose peace instead of this”. That was it! I had my mantra!
“I can choose peace instead of this” became one of my favorites. No matter what was happening, when I silently repeated my mantra, I was back on that beach feeling peaceful.
A few months ago I was in a plane at 13,000 feet about to sky jump for my first time with my daughter and started to feel claustrophobic. Then I remembered my mantra “I can choose peace instead of this”. It gave me that warm comfortable feeling I was looking for and made the experience as peaceful as it could be (did I mention I was jumping out of a plan at 13,000 feet?!)
I hope you have fun creating your own mantra; something that helps you take charge of how you feel. Now it’s time to take the knife away from the two year old and show your mind who is boss! Namaste!
- Concentrating on one word or set of words helps our brains from being distracted by the 60,000 other thoughts that are vying for our attention.
- A mantra could be words in a foreign language whose meaning doesn’t automatically make our brains try to make sense yet gives us a peaceful feeling.
- When we create a new neural pathway it’s like walking through an overgrown jungle; it takes time to create a new well-worn path.
- Creating your own mantra can give you your own personal oasis whenever you need some peace
If you’d like some help replacing your old programming with some new and improved programming, please feel free to schedule a free mini session or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get to work together.