Mantras? As in, chanting? Really? Actually, no. Most of us already have mantras that we repeat to ourselves, even if we’re unaware of them. Remember Lisa from Week 1? Her mantra was that good things in life weren’t going to happen for her, and she’d practiced it and was living by it. Lisa’s mantra was really a limiting belief that was holding her back. By deliberately creating a mantra, Lisa had something else to refer to that was equally as powerful and meaningful to her as that limiting belief. In weeks 1 and 2 of Eight Weeks to Possibility, we began with exercises designed to connect you to your core and to your thinking. This week, we’ll be adding some new tools that support your centering practice from Week 1 and the practice of looking through the lens of opportunity from Week 2.
Creating a Mantra. What if you consciously created a mantra that gave you a connection to the best you in the here and now and also to the possibility of your future? What if it delivered comfort and hope? Mantras need not be fancy. You can make them up and have one or several. They might even feel awkward at first. No doubt, some of my clients have been a reluctant to create a mantra for themselves, but I’ve watched as they’ve found phrases that ground them to their very core of power and possibility. Some have made up their own, some have pulled quotes from authors, and others have used lyrics from songs. You’ll know it when you find it – your mantra will feel comforting and hopeful.
So how do you use a mantra? Whenever and wherever you want to, silently or out loud. It goes nicely with whatever centering practices you’ve brought into your life from Week 1. We get good at what we practice, so the more often you refer to your mantra, the more likely you are to reap its benefits of comfort and peace. Finishing a journal entry with your phrase can be centering and uplifting. Reciting it before drifting off to sleep can feel like the completion of a day. One of my very favorites is “thank you.” Those words remind me to recognize what’s good, even when life is challenging.
And speaking of thank you… This next tool is about creating a conscious practice of gratitude. Researchers in positive psychology report that gratitude is an underpinning of well-being and a fundamental building block of positive thinking. What’s the big deal? Gratitude creates an upward spiral in our thinking and our lives, as opposed to the downward spiral that limiting beliefs send us into. From that upward spiral, we can bring the best of who we are – our creativity, brains, humor, innovation, etc – to whatever we’re facing. What are you grateful for today? In general? It doesn’t have to be Nobel-peace-prize-worthy. It can be the good time you had at lunch with your friend, the cup of hot cocoa that tasted just divine, the new pair of skinny jeans that you’re wearing, or the sun on your face. Just try living in a space that recognizes the good stuff that you enjoy. Write it down if you want, or take a moment to recognize “Ah, this moment is good.” Savor it. Change it up now and then and look for new things to be grateful for, maybe a past experience, or something that you’re anticipating in the future. And ask yourself what role you had in bringing those things into your life and what you can do to create more of them.
The thing about gratitude is that once you start cultivating it, you’ll likely find that you’re experiencing many good things, and that awareness becomes fuel for bringing even more bright possibilities your way.
Next Week: Becoming a watcher.
Sarah Levitt is a coach and speaker who uses the best tools and techniques available to create positive change in individuals and organizations. Emphasizing strategic thinking, inspiration, and practical application, Sarah combines information and motivation to help clients cultivate possibility and create more satisfying professional and personal lives.
Described as enthusiastic, sincere, and compassionately straight talking, Sarah assists clients to shift toward change and implement their own best ideas. She uses processes designed to tap the intellectual and emotional capital of her clients to create forward motion.
Find Sarah here.