There is a common practice in many ancient traditions to use sound to help train the mind and body. Yogis use mantras to focus their attention. Soldiers use war cries to prepare themselves for battle. Martial arts masters perfect their kiai or spirit yell to focus their energy for maximum effect.
You may not need to meditate for hours, go to war, or execute a perfect spinning back kick, but we all have times when we need to have a little extra boost of energy and motivation.
Whether you want to call it a mantra, war cry or spirit yell, having a phrase that you can call upon during trying times is a great idea. Just make sure the phrase you choose is short and meaningful for you.
A good place to start is with your long-term vision for yourself. What do you want to accomplish with your life? Why is that important to you? You can spend a few minutes thinking about this or even journaling about it. Describe how you want to feel. What you want to contribute to the world. How you want others to see you. Be as specific as possible.
Once you have spent some time on this, go over it again. Really think through what it means. You will likely find some words that you use over and over again. Pay attention to these.
You may also find certain phrases that are difficult to read or make you slightly uncomfortable. This may be a sign that you are digging into the soft spots of your psyche so pay attention here too.
Now, start writing out some possible phrases. Don’t edit. Set a timer for 2-5 minutes and write the whole time.
When you’re done you will likely have a good idea of what words are most meaningful for you. That’s your mantra.
I like two word phrases that can have dual meanings. Powerful presence is one. I want to have true power to help people and be able to present that to the world, but I also recognize that being present is the most powerful thing you can do so that phrase takes on even more meaning for me.
Once you have your mantra write it somewhere. Not because you need to look it up to remember it, it should be short and powerful enough that you don’t need to, but seeing it over and over can be as powerful as saying it.
Speaking of, when should you use it? That really is up to you! First thing in the morning can be the perfect way to set your intention for the day and help you focus on the important things. Right before bed it can help you let go of the stress of the day and reconnect you to your grander visions setting the stage for some amazing dreams.
When you’re in the middle of a stressful situation it can be the thing that talks you off the ledge. It will bring you back to the reality that the problem you’re concerned with isn’t worth your time or worry. You have bigger and better things to do and you can conquer the day with the help of your increased focus.
Whether a quiet prayer, your verbal meditation beads, or a warrior shout, a mantra is an easy way to settle yourself, remember the important things or set your heart and mind to the new task.