Tag Archives: clinical psychology

Mantras as Self-Statements

Many people are familiar with the classic psychotherapy strategies of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which include the use of self-statements to combat negative or intrusive thoughts and cognitive distortions (tricks the brain plays on you, particularly when depressed or anxious).

Personally and professionally, I like to integrate the ancient knowledge that comes from mantras as therapeutic work. A mantra is a repeated positive affirmation. It should reflect something positive you’re trying to invoke within you; anything that feels true when you speak it. I like mantras that begin with “I am” because they resonate deeply as truth. You end up speaking it into existence.

What is something you’re needing or wanting to create?
Your intention should come from your greatest place of self-compassion. Go into it without attachment. You may want your mantra to speak to a very specific desire that looks a certain way. But trust me when I say that when you arrive up on your mantra you will feel a sense of resonance.
It will just feel right.

When should we use mantras?
During meditation, walking, upon waking to set intention for the day, sitting in traffic, during a stressful day at work, to unwind at night, in the shower, and so many more possibilities. Verbalizing your mantra, speaking it aloud and repeating it, is powerful. Feel the vibration of the mantra on your lips pay attention as it reverberates through your body. Write it in your journal, on a post it, on an index card taped to your bathroom mirror.

I also use mantras with technology. Put it in your reminders, your Google calendar on repeat, Alexa, pop-ups, text it to yourself.

Some modern day mantras:
“I ignite the many aspects of the goddess within me.”

In Sanskrit: Om Shreem Maha Lakshmiyei Namaha, which translates to recognition of the potential for true abundance in all aspects of life.

Self-compassion and forgiveness
“I accept myself.”

“This too shall pass.”

“I am love.”

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”

Being present
“Be here, now.”

Allowing the universe to guide you
“I am open to the universe.”

“I choose joy.”

“Close your eyes, clear your heart, let it go.”

“I are capable of wonderful things”

The Case for Stubbornness

While calling someone a “mule” is usually considered to be a negative comment, psychological research shows that stubbornness is actually affiliated with a number of positive characteristics.

-Stubborn people know what they want and what they don’t want.
Just because a stubborn person isn’t easily swayed by opinions, or resists the path of pleasing others, does not mean they are self-centered. They may keep to their own path, and still be supportive of others.

-Stubborn people tend to be more decisive.
Stubborn people know what they want and tend to be more concise in decision making, and quick to the point.

-Stubborn people have fewer tendencies to give in or give up on their dreams.
They can use their stubbornness to persevere in all areas of life. If they go through a hard breakup, failed business plans, loss of a job, or bereavement, research shows that stubbornness may keep them going.

A study published in the clinical psychology journal International Psychogeriatrics showed that participants who were middle-aged and older, and were noted to be stubborn yet optimistic, across measures, had greater mental health. The results showed that the older, more stubborn individuals had a better mental outlook than even the younger people in the study, regardless of physical health status. The researchers concluded that a balance between acceptance of and grit to overcome adversities along with a positive attitude significantly contributes to mental health.

Obviously, what an individual is stubborn about is important. In the international study, participants who scored highest in both stubbornness and optimism endorsed the following statements:

  • The belief that their dreams are possible.
  • The belief that they have the power to make changes that benefit them.
  • The belief that their actions are guiding them somewhere better (self efficacy).
  • The belief that being their unique self is exactly who they are meant to be (self acceptance).
  • The belief that confidence comes from taking action.
  • The belief that they can grow and change from challenges.
  • The belief that challenges in all areas of life are teachers.
  • The belief that small steps in the right direction matter.
  • The belief that happiness comes from within, not from external sources.
  • The belief that even though they may experience fear, they will be okay.
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