You get a gold star for positive self-talk!
Perhaps you’ve practiced mindfulness today, even for just a few seconds. Maybe you’ve reminded yourself to treat others, or yourself, with compassion and kindness in the midst of a struggle. It could be that you were really starting to stress out, and instead you took a deep breath and refocused your thoughts to a happy memory. Perhaps you even simply took the time to notice that you’re feeling stressed out, which even just a few months ago you weren’t able to do yet.
These are all versions of positive self-talk.
And if you haven’t practiced positive self-talk today, not to worry. Let’s get you turned around, quickly and easily, so that you can practice it tomorrow.
Try Simple Plain-English Mantra
Positive self-talk can make all the difference between a tough day and a good day, or a good day and a great day. And who doesn’t want more great days?
When you feel yourself slipping into negative thought patterns, you might try having a set of phrases at the ready to keep yourself from sliding far into the vortex. You can think of these as plain-English mantras.
Bear in mind that while Westerners tend to think of mantras as prayers or wishes – from the sublime mysticism of divine communion to the earthly desire for material things – the Sanskrit word mantra means “mind instrument”.
You might think of this as a musical instrument, something through which the mind expresses itself. Or, you might think of a “mind instrument” as something like the dials and needs and digital lights in the cockpit of an airplane – devices that allow you to understand where you are in space and time. You might even think of a “mind instrument” as something that tunes the mind to undertake certain tasks, such as perspectives or perceptions or understandings.
However the idea of “mind instrument” makes sense to you, the power of a well-crafted mantra can be a strong ally in your journey of positive self-talk.
Here are 4 suggestions for simple, plain-English mantras that might work for you.
Plain-English Mantra #1: “I Can Do This”
It seems that every day brings new challenges. Some are fun, some not so much. Examples of tough challenges can include being given a new assignment at work or a family member not cooperating in a group undertaking. Often, your first thought might be, “Oh no, I can’t do this!” But then, after working your way through a challenge, you look back and think, “Wow, I got through that pretty well.”
Next time your inner voice reacts negatively to a new situation, remember to grab your “I can do this” mantra. Saying it just a few times can help stop you from spinning down the drain. This kind of positive self-talk reminds you that you’ve accomplished really tough tasks in the past. As a result, you can feel the boost you need to meet the new challenge calmly and mindfully. Maybe even with a smile.
Plain-English Mantra #2: “I’m Having A Thought”
It sounds almost too simple, right? But reminding yourself that you’re having a thought helps you remember that, indeed, you might have thoughts, but you are not your thoughts. Becoming aware of your thoughts as being separate from you is powerful medicine in not being overrun by them.
Next time you feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed out, take a moment to say to yourself, “I’m having a thought, I am not my thought.” You can take this a step further by moving “I’m having a thought” into the passive voice of “a thought is occurring”. This increases disengagement from the thought. It’s just something that’s happening.
You can say it aloud or to yourself, whichever works for you. And remember, thoughts include not just things we think as intellectual thoughts, but also vague and hard-to-describe feelings. Just as not all positive self-talk forms as full sentences, negative self-talk can sometimes be comprised of feelings and recurring images. Reminding yourself that these negative ideas do not define you can be very helpful.
This isn’t just a reframing of the situation of thoughts and feelings. The reality is, you are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings. You experience thoughts, and you experience feelings. But you are so much more than these thoughts and feelings. You are the consciousness that has and experiences these things.
Plain-English Mantra #3: “I Have Everything I Need”
This can be a tough one for some folks. But it’s a powerful, life-changing mantra. Perhaps you’ve heard your yoga teacher say it as you’re on the mat, allowing the mind and body to become still. Years ago I had a yoga teacher who used to say it every class. “Right here, right now, in this moment of breathing in and breathing out, I have everything I need.”
When you’re quiet, and you focus on only breathing in and breathing out, you do indeed have everything you need. It could be that you remember a time when you didn’t have everything you needed. And you might imagine a future time when you won’t have everything you’ll need. But right here, right now, breathing in and breathing out, you have everything you need.
Silently, inside yourself, try saying “I have everything I need.” Repeat it a few times as you take a handful of inhalations and exhalations. Then, notice how much better you feel.
Physically, emotionally, and mentally. Even spiritually.
And the fun part is, you can use this mantra anywhere, anytime. You don’t have to be in a yoga class! You can be at your work desk. Sitting on the sofa. Shopping at the market. With other people or alone. Right here, right now, breathing in and breathing out, you have everything you need.
Plain-English Mantra #4: “I Deserve the Joy of Loving Everyone I Meet”
There is no other joy in life quite as profound as love. Receiving it, giving it, refining it, amplifying it…love is the quintessential phenomenon that is its own reward.
Seen through the lens of love, one might say that life is a series of “love events”, and this is how we can identify our unique, as well as our unified, purpose in living a human life. It’s the ultimate barometer of the value of any experience. And without a doubt, you deserve to feel love flowing through you every day.
If you start your day by saying to yourself – or aloud to the world – “I deserve the joy of loving everyone I meet today”, you will be amazed at how much love you encounter throughout the day. Try it and see.
To further this, here’s a little visualization you can try to accompany the “I deserve the joy of loving everyone I meet” mantra:
- Picture the sun as you experience in the sky or as the concept of the solar energy of the planet.
- Next, picture your heart, as an organ pumping blood or as a focal point for the central heart chakra.
- Finally, picture the heart opening and the sun moving into that opening to fill it with the brilliant golden light of its energetic presence.
- Repeat your mantra a few times as you visualize the pulsing of this energy.
Throughout the day, you might see yourself acting as the sun in the solar system of those around you. If you radiate love, you will feel it reflect back to you. Not because you “get” something in return for emanating love. Rather, because the love that flows from you lifts you into the eternal expression of happiness and joy that you emanate.
Such is your power – the power of love. Talk about deserving a gold star for positive self-talk, wow!
Bonus Plain English Mantra #5 – the simplest phrase, “I Am”
The shortest sentence in the English language is simply, “I am”. It’s so simple that we often lose sight of its power and significance.
Try exploring this simple phrase for just one minute. Literally, just 60 seconds. Repeat this phrase with thought and focus, as if each repetition is a new thought, a new statement, a new commitment to reality.
Try this every day for a week. Feel the massive shift in your life as positive self talk becomes increasingly organic and natural.
If you’d like a little help staying with the phrase for longer, you could always sign up for a Free Membership to QuietSelf. The Free Membership includes a 20-minute music track built specifically to support meditation and introspection.
For all the hard work you undertake joyfully, or even not so joyfully some days…
For every moment you stop and notice that you are alive…
For every gesture of kindness and compassion you bring to yourself and to the world…
For every utterance, inside yourself or aloud, of positive self-talk you undertake…
Give yourself a gold star.
You’re doing great. Really.