It used to be the Buddhists, Hindus, and Taoists only use mantras for their spiritual practices, such as meditation.
But things have changed now.
Two years ago, I read about people using mantras to better their lives. The idea is to utter a word, or phrase, or sentence as a way to remind or empower ourselves. Some even use it is a motivational tool.
I’m curious, does it really work? I tried it myself (inconsistently). I’m not really good at it, but I’m trying my best.
1. Choose your thoughts.
Most mornings, I ask myself, “What thoughts should I dwell on today? Ah, this one and that one.”
In most cases (when life is good and smooth), the first few hours of my days are like divine — super focused and productive. At mid-day, my mind gets cloudy with different thoughts all over the place. Sometimes I remember the mantra, sometimes don’t.
At nights, I sometimes evaluate if I choose my thoughts for that day. The results almost always don’t make me proud. And that is when I’m reminded that we’re not really good at choosing what to think, and worse, even our thoughts can sabotage us.
I’m still practicing.
2. Focus on the things that matter.
I once wrote about focusing on the things that matter, but I admit there are days I’m dissuaded.
This mantra is my reminder to not give a f*ck on things I don’t have control over or things that don’t really matter to me.
Although sounds easy in theory hard to practice in real life, this mantra has really made a difference. Reminding myself that there are things that truly matter to me and there are things that don’t propels me to manage my time and energy.
If you want to try it, keep in mind that there are lots of factors at play — the place you live, the people you hang out every day, the kind of job you do, and on and on.
Read this post as your starting point.
3. Don’t live with regrets
Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives, penned a book called, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.”
Bronnie Ware said that the number one regret was, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Don’t do things you know you’ll regret in the future. Because life is not that long as you think. We may not have the chance to do the things we really love. Or we may not have the chance to say sorry or correct our mistakes.
An effective way to avoid doing things that we may regret is to always remember we’re just mortals and time is limited. This reminds us not to mess our lives (or other people’s).
If I can live with these mantras in action every day, much better. Because I’m no perfect — not even close. I can be an asshole sometimes, I’m the worst, and these mantras are great reminders that there are areas in my life I need to work on. That there are personal rules to abide to nurture my well-being and in general live a good life.
There are other mantras I’m trying to incorporate such as “Accept life as it is” and “Stop comparing”.
Hopefully I can find a way to keep them up front in my daily consciousness.
So what are your mantras?
PS: I don’t know if this is necessary, but I often use these mantras with my name on it. For example, “Don’t live with regrets Jade!”