An effective practice that can help you connect to your spiritual self and rewire your brain is saying mantras or affirmations. A mantra can be a single word or sound repeated over and over to aid in concentration for meditation, such as in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. They are sacred and practiced in a devotional, spiritual way. Affirmations are statements or slogans repeated frequently. They are motivational, helping you to overcome negative thoughts limiting you. Some people use the terms mantra and affirmation interchangeably.
When you are creating your own affirmation, there are some important elements that you will want to include for them to be effective. Your affirmation must be in the present tense, such as “I am . . .,” “I have . . .,” “I trust . . .” and so on. By writing or saying the affirmation in the present tense, you are creating the energy of those words for you now. The brain responds to present tense statements. Your affirmation must only include positive words to work effectively. You do not want to use words like “don’t” and “can’t” because you may actually create more of what you don’t want by doing so. Your affirmation needs to be written or spoken as the truth of the situation, rather than using wishy washy words like “might” and “could.”
“I am at peace in my life. All things flow to me with grace and ease.”
Once you have one or more affirmations, it is imperative to make it a daily practice to repeat the affirmation to yourself throughout the day. You might want to write it on a piece of paper that you put in a place that you see frequently such as in your car, on your bathroom mirror or at your office. To strengthen the affirmation, you can put a physical touch with it, such as done in the EFT tapping technique. This creates muscle memory with the affirmation, so it is fully incorporated into your body and mind. Say it out loud with energy and intention multiple times a day. Meditate on it with or without a mala. You can also write it out multiple times in a row, sort of like writing lines on a chalkboard in school.
For those of you that want to turn this into a spiritual practice, I recommend using a mala in your meditation with your mantra or affirmation. Malas help you focus the mind when you are reciting the words. Traditional malas are necklace-like strands of beads that have 108 smaller beads plus one additional larger “guru” bead. Shorter malas have either 54 beads or 27 beads plus one “guru” bead.
When you are working with your mala, use only one mantra or affirmation for each session. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and get yourself aligned with your intention. Hold the mala in your right hand with the beads in between your index and middle fingers. Starting at the guru bead, you use your thumb to pull each bead toward you as you recite the mantra/affirmation, for a total of 108 (54 or 27) times, until you reach the guru bead again.
Malas can be made out of a variety of different types of beads. I personally love my malas to be made from natural crystals and stones, so I also get the benefits of those stones. They can help to amplify your intentions when reciting your affirmations and mantras. Every stone has different energy and meaning, so you can combine stones to incorporate a few meanings into the mala, or you may want to keep it simpler with one stone type.