Even though this column is about a "mantra," there's nothing mystical about it. I'm talking science here, specifically neuroscience.
Words have power over your brain. Research proves the words you use to characterize events and experiences determines your emotional reaction to them.
Repetition makes words more powerful. Each repeated use of a phrase, either spoken aloud or by internal dialog, multiplies the effect of that phrase.
That's how a "mantra" works. The repetition of a phrase, with all its emotional baggage (good or bad) influences how you see the world and react to it.
Losers have mantras. Here are some examples of real-life mantras that I've encountered among coworkers and acquaintances:
- "I'm a born loser."
- "I hate working here."
- "Nobody will ever love me."
- "Whoever dies with the most toys wins."
- "Life's a bitch, and then you die."
All too many people repeat crap like that to themselves and others, creating unhappiness and failure for themselves and those they profess to love. Sad.
Just as there are plenty of loser mantras, there are plenty of winner mantras: phrases that create a positive mood and pre-position you for success. Here are few:
- "If I can imagine it, I can accomplish it."
- "Life is beautiful."
- "I can make a difference."
- "I was born lucky."
However, the most powerful, winning mantra of all is only two words, yet it carries a world of good feelings. That mantra is: "Thank you!"
That mantra expresses gratitude, with is the most powerful success emotion of all time. A long-term research study at University of California, Davis found that:
- Participants who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events."
- "Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
- A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison.
- Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
- In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one's life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality.
The mantra "Thank You!" is the easiest way to create and maintain this success-creating "attitude of gratitude."
The beautiful thing about this mantra is that the "You" can be somebody else, the wide world, a higher power, or even yourself. Gratitude is universal.
The more often you repeat this mantra, the more you'll appreciated everything in your life. You'll value wherever you are in your journey.
Thank you for reading this.