Or maybe it isn’t. But I’m saying it is. I’m waking up today and the first thought in my mind that I’m deliberately thinking is, “Today is a good day”. How can I say that when I haven’t even gone through the day? What do I mean when I say that?
First, before we get into the meat and potatoes, let’s talk a little bit about mantras.
I like to think of mantras as the last little golden rays of sunshine trapped in a bottle. At any time you need, you can crack open that bottle or jar and bask in the happy light of a great day. A perfect moment. When that little light hits you, (keeping with the metaphor) it gives you just enough oomph to really make your day better.
I use mantras with running, Aikido, and my daily life. I managed to run three extra miles with the phrase, “One more step”. As it turned out, it was quite a lot more steps.
Mantras encourage positive thinking and self-confidence so says I (and science). Having a little motto (Hi, Lion King) or mantra can really make a dent in your ability to perform, live a happy life, and accomplish your goals, dreams, and obligations. I never used to use mantras until I noticed I kept giving up before I really needed to. So I thought I’d give it a try.
And it worked.
My productivity increased. I enjoyed what I was doing more. I saw better results. And the best part? I was waking up early, not snoozing, and I felt excited when I woke up. That was amazing to me.
Back to what mantras do, though before we talk about the end results and struggles.
Having a short little phrase that is positive encourages a positive healthy self talk. It’s extremely easy to get in the habit of negative self talk. The whole, I can’t deal. Or the I’m not good enough to… deal. We are used to being hard on ourselves and that’s a general truth across a lot of different individuals. It’s okay to push yourself, to want to better yourself but it isn’t okay to beat yourself down to get there. Because you won’t get there.
And plus, it feels good to think good. Is that a mantra? Maybe. But it really does feel good to think good. At first, it might feel wrong and backwards but that’s often because we just aren’t used to being kind to ourselves.
Aside from positive talk, mantras are perfect for getting things done, getting through a rough patch, and proving yourself wrong. Let’s break it down.
Mantras, short and sweet, are a good thing to get stuck in your head. A silly little mantra I use it “Do the thing”. I have it on a post-it on my bathroom mirror. It’s vague, purposefully, because I look at it and always remember what I need to do. I’ve found that I can remind myself to “do the thing” more than I can to do the dishes, put away clothes, go on a run, etc.
Do yourself a favor and help yourself out.
Finally, the last part I’m discussing is that mantras can help you get through a rough patch. Whether it’s depression or your long run, having a little mantra to repeat to yourself can make a world of a difference.
Repeating a short phrase to yourself when you want to give up keeps you going. It keeps your mind focused on the goal. It also helps keep you positive instead of repeating thoughts like “I can’t”.
Okay, but how do you make a mantra? What kinds of mantras work?
Well, it’ll take some trial and error before you find what actually works for you and what inspires you. It also may take some time to think up or discover something.
To aid the process, remember a few things.
You don’t have to think up your mantra on your own. Google some! Read some books, find some quotes, and be open to hearing a good mantra anywhere. You might hear your perfect mantra while in the midst of a boring conversation.
Also remember that it doesn’t have to be complex. When you’re thinking up or looking for a few words to keep you inspired remember that part of the point is that it’s simple. It doesn’t have to be long or complex.In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. You won’t remember something long and it won’t get you as excited. Keep it to a few words.
All right. That’s a little bit about mantras. But back to this: what do I mean when I say, “Today’s a good day”?
Well, I don’t mean that today is a good day. I might be having a very bad day, actually. I might be really upset. I might have slept terribly. I might have just lost a loved one. Me saying those words doesn’t mean that I’m actually having a good day. It just means that I’m not giving in to the negativity. It means that I’m looking at the positives.
And, if at the end of the day the day is bad, I’ll say “Today was hard”.
But for the duration of the day, I’ll say that it’s a good day. I’ll remind myself that though the day might be hard, it’s still a good day. Having a positive attitude like that helps a lot. It keeps my mind in the right place. It encourages me to keep working, keep pushing through, and keep looking for small pieces of happiness.
Because that’s what I want. I don’t want to be unhappy. I don’t want to be stressed. I don’t want to hold anger inside me. That means that I’m going to have to work for it. I need to expect that it’ll be hard to be happy and positive. I can’t just sit back and start thinking the day is ruined right from the get go. I have to encourage myself to think in a positive fashion.
So that’s what I do. I tell myself that today’s a good day.
And guess what? The best part is that you can do this too!
You can tell yourself that today is a good day even if something bad has happened today. You can still say, “today is a good day” and teach yourself to see the good. Reserve your “today was hard” for the end of the day, when all is said and done. Instead of giving into those negative thoughts, take a breath and say:
Today is a good day.