Please review this example of a mantra prior to reading the below blog entry in order to gain a comprehensive perspective on the peaceful and therapeutic qualities of Positive Affirmations and Mantras.
Historically speaking, the word Mantra is Sanskrit for "a group of words believed to have psychological and spiritual powers." Often used in religious-based chants, the name of spiritual deities are applied to imbue peace, regulation, safety, and enlightenment. In my own clinical practice, I have assisted clients in personalizing these grounding tools for emotional regulation, self-empowerment, clarifying their intent and choices prior to acting and use as a personal cue to redirect a maladaptive thought.
Positive Affirmation: "I do care about myself and my safety"
Both of the above examples are focused on conscious narrative reframe and absorption. The repetition of these two grounding tools are just as important to their efficacy as the meaning behind them.
SCIENCE TALK: The repetitive nature feeds your "Reptilian Brain" (brain stem - I.e. our survival instincts and limited cognition). Once the Reptilian Brain is fed and settled, it allows us access to our higher brain power, such as the PreFrontal Cortex. Think of it as a dam to the part of our brain that allows us to consider all available options and allows our behavior to be premeditated instead of reactionary. Once we empty the dam (Our Reptilian Brain) via coping mechanisms and grounding tools, we are able to walk through it to the Newer Brain.
I bet your asking yourself, "Do I really have to chant aloud?!" The answer is No...however, I do find that Mantra and Positive Affirmation tools are more effective with verbalization. With the vibrational stimulation that is created with the repetition of your chosen word/ phrase assists in de-escalation and relaxation = The physical stimuli strengthens your internal dialogue. See, there is a reason for those extreme Yogi's who chant loudly, while rocking back and forth repetitively.
I invite you to create your own personal Mantra or Positive Affirmation. Give it a try and trust the process. Good luck!
A helpful reference for the description and use of Mantra and Positive Affirmations can be viewed at http://www.lifecoachexpert.co.uk/exploring-mantra-positive-affirmations.html, which contains an article authored by LifeCoach Anna Martin.
Stephanie P. Bathurst, MA, LCMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist