A Word on Wellness: The power of a mantra.
Most of us have internal thoughts that can, at times, be negative (if you can't relate to this, who are you??). These thoughts can be our own worst enemy, they can tell us that we aren't good enough, that we'll never achieve our goals, that no one will like us, etc. They are not helpful and can get in the way of happiness. But how do we control them? We have much more control over our thoughts than we may think. Today I will quickly explain ONE tool that I use, and have clients use, to help redirect negative thoughts toward thoughts that are more helpful. That tool is using a mantra.
A mantra is traditionally a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation, originating with Hinduism and Buddhism. While I'm suggesting a non-traditional use of a mantra, the purpose is still to aid in concentration (on positive intentions) and to distract from negative thoughts.
So here's how it works...
Step One: Get real acquainted with your most recurring negative thoughts. What is the general theme here? Start to be aware of when these thoughts come up and what they are telling you. For example, these thoughts might say, "You're not good enough."
Step Two: Now that you know the recurring thought, find an encouraging word or phrase that you can repeat in your mind whenever the negative thought comes up. For our example the mantra might be "I am worthy of love" or "I am enough." Can you think of others?
Step Three: Whenever the negative thoughts creep in, immediately cut them off and repeat the mantra to yourself for as long as you need to, until the negative thought passes or until you start to finally believe what you're saying to yourself.
Give it a try!
Something to Read:
A friend sent me this comic strip the other week. It illustrates a lot of the stress that my clients come into therapy trying to manage. Many women feel the effects of this, sometimes invisible, workload. They may not be able to name what it is, or understand why they can't quite feel on top of things. Instead they internalize it. Most often this internalizing looks like guilt over not being able to juggle work and home life sufficiently - a feeling of failure on all fronts. Thankfully more and more men are stepping up to make this comic strip less of a reality, we need a lot more of that!
Mend is an app meant to serve as a personal trainer for heartbreak. Users receive daily "trainings" which are about 3 minutes long and curated to help them heal from a break-up. Mend has a team of content creators, including yours truly, working to ensure that the trainings will provide the most benefit. The training of the day might teach the user something, ask them to reflect, or instruct them to take concrete actions. The feedback from users - or Menders, as we call them - is overwhelmingly positive! Stick this resource in your back pocket if you or someone you know is recently going through a break up.