Mantra is an ancient sound that some believe can shift our vibration and frequency on a cellular level. It’s also known to offer a deep, meditative state.
Visualisation is where you use your imagination to turn illness into wellness. Ten people with the same condition might visualise differently, but they’re all correct so long as their end point represents wellness.
Whether or not you consider yourself spiritual, you can benefit from the focus of meditation. It helps to quiet the mind and slow the heart rate, which in turn calms emotions. It can also help to relieve stress and anxiety. There are a variety of meditative practices to choose from, such as body scans, progressive relaxations, and mantras. Experiment with different styles to find one that suits you best. There are many apps and videos to help guide you in the process.
Mantras are repeated sounds that steady the mind. They can be chanted silently or spoken out loud. They can have a specific meaning, such as om (pronounced oh-mah) for calming or shamane (pronounced shaw-mahn) for healing, or they can be positive affirmations like Paul McCartney’s sage advice to “let it be” or the late guru Ram Dass’ suggestion to simply “be here now.”
During meditation, focus on the mantra as you breathe. It may help to match the rhythm of the mantra with your breathing, so that they synchronize with each other. Over time, your breathing and mantra will automatically become a natural rhythm. Eventually, you will be able to lose consciousness and be fully present with your mantra.
Whether you agree with the spiritual beliefs behind yoga or not, there are many health benefits to practicing physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation techniques. In addition to improving flexibility, strength and balance, yoga also helps relieve stress, improve sleep, reduce chronic pain (including back and neck pain) and manage anxiety and depression.
Mantras are sounds or phrases with a deep meaning that help to focus the mind. They can be chanted or repeated silently, and their power depends on the meaning, syllable length and speed of repetition. Some mantras are a single sound like “om” or “aum,” while others are phrases of several words.
For example, a simple success mantra such as “I can” or “I will” can be repeated to encourage positive self-talk and increase your sense of empowerment. While a longer mantra of the “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” (“May all beings be happy and free”) can help cultivate compassion and fuel action for good, says Cushman. “Over time, it shifts your mindset away from fear and worry to one of connection and care.”
Many people are good at being compassionate toward others, but when they’re faced with a challenging situation or a setback, self-compassion can feel harder to summon. Kristin Neff, the first psychologist to define and measure self-compassion nearly twenty years ago, describes it as “unconditional self-love for difficult times.” Self-compassion means being kind and understanding when you’re in trouble or make a mistake, instead of beating yourself up with negative thoughts. It also involves a sense of worth that isn’t tied to external, fickle barometers like appearance or performance.
A popular exercise for developing self-compassion is to write a letter to yourself, from the point of view of a caring friend. This can be done daily or every other day, and it helps to increase mindfulness and change the way we speak to ourselves. It may take an extended period of time to develop this skill, but it can be helpful in the long run. BetterTools has other tips and techniques you can learn to develop self-compassion.
Another effective meditation is to visualize suffering in the world, and focus on those who are most in need of compassion—people in our community or even the entire planet. For example, you might think about a person on your block who is struggling or visualize the people in impoverished nations who are fighting for their lives.
People have been using visualization as part of meditations, prayers, and self-help techniques for centuries. It gets a bad rep as being “woo-woo” or something that isn’t grounded in reality, but studies show that it is effective at helping to create desired outcomes in life.
In simple terms, visualization involves imagining the things that you want in your life. Whether you’re an elite athlete training for your next big game or someone trying to overcome anxiety, visualizing can help create neural patterns in the brain that help bring those desires into fruition.
Generally, when you practice visualization, you’ll begin by sitting in a quiet place and focusing on your breath. Once you’ve settled in, you can start to think about what you’d like to experience, picturing it as detailed as possible.
Try to imagine the feeling of that experience through all of your senses – see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, and feel the emotions. This is similar to the process of a guided meditation and can be used for stress relief, mood improvement, or affirming goals and values. It’s also a great tool for overcoming anxiety and building confidence.
Gratitude can help individuals focus on what they have, rather than on what they lack. As a result, individuals who regularly practice gratitude are more satisfied with their lives and more likely to express prosocial behaviors such as expressing appreciation for others and making donations to charitable causes.
Practicing gratitude can take many forms, from writing down things you’re grateful for on a daily basis to incorporating it into meditation and mindful eating. A simple way to get started is by putting together a “gratitude jar,” a small jar or box with a lid that you decorate in whatever way you like (e.g., ribbon, stickers, clear glue and glitter). Add a piece of paper and a pen or pencil to write down things for which you’re thankful on a daily basis.
Another way to practice gratitude is to engage in a gratitude visualization. To do this, imagine someone in your life that you care deeply for, such as a parent, spouse or friend. Then, think about a memorable moment that you shared with this person where you felt a strong sense of connection. Try to picture as much detail as possible, including the feeling of this sacred connection in your body and mind.
Meditation is another form of self-care that’s effective for reducing anxiety and improving overall mood. The idea behind meditation is to clear the mind of all thought and focus on the present moment, which can help manage stress.
Many meditators use a mantra during practice, which helps them stay focused. A common one is om, which has a calming effect and promotes inner peace and well-being. It’s important to pick a mantra that resonates with you, and to stick with it for the duration of your meditation practice. Changing mantras can distract you and disrupt your flow.
Those who don’t like the idea of repeating a word may try visualization instead. This technique involves assigning a color to a positive feeling or emotion, and then visualizing that color in your mind’s eye as you relax and breathe deeply. According to Holistic Online, visualization can be a powerful tool for enhancing mental and physical health by creating an emotional connection between the mind and body.
The mantra om can also be used for healing, as it’s said to release all negativity and restore balance within the body. The more you repeat the mantra, the more it can positively influence your thoughts and actions.
Music can be a powerful mantra. Any musician will tell you that the sounds and rhythms of a song can influence your mood, thoughts and emotions. And the power of music can even help heal.
From the mega-meditation app Calm (which recently hit $1 billion unicorn status) morphing into a “wellness music” platform, to new apps that use biometric data and our own personal meditations to create personalized sonic wellness compositions—music is undergoing a huge wellness transformation.
A good place to start is with the universal Ohm mantra, which is believed to be the sound of the universe. Chanting this mantra is believed to enlighten your consciousness and connect you with the universe. The vibration of Ohm also matches the natural frequency of your brain, which calms you down.
Another popular mantra is So Hum, which means “I am.” This meditation mantra is linked to breathing and can be used as a way to regulate your inhalation and exhalation. Practicing this mantra is believed to reduce stress and anxiety. It also helps you become more self-confident. So Hum is a great mantra to repeat during stressful days at work or when you’re feeling overwhelmed. The repetition of this mantra also reaffirms that it’s okay to take time for yourself.