Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential
(#7 of 7) from the series: Does Positive Thinking Really Work?
Affirmations or Wishful Thinking?
In the movie “Bowfinger,” seeking relief from a pervasive sense of doom, Eddie Murphy’s character falls under the influence of a cult-like group called Mind Head. He’s told to counter his paranoid anxiety with the mantra: “Keep-it-together. Keep-it-together. Keep-it-together,” which he nervously repeats (usually right before losing it).
In one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, Kramer dedicates himself to the slogan “Serenity Now” only to have it produce “Insanity Later.”
Despite all the poking fun, feeding your mind with positive thoughts, affirmations, or mantras can be very effective.
Your mantra might be as simple as a word (e.g., Calm) or it could express an intention or attitude: I am willing to listen. I am flexible. Choose a word or phrase that is short and easy to remember. Going places. Think like a leader.
Your mantra might be a stretch, something you are growing into or trying on. Or you may prefer to make a bridge by using phrases such as, I’m learning to… I’m open to the possibility that… I’m committed to...
The mantra that is most effective is the one that holds specific meaning for you. It is your personal theme, meant to inspire and remind you.
Feed Your Mind
How can you use your mantra? Here are a few ideas:
When you wake up, silently say your mantra as you get out of bed. Think of it in the shower, on the way to work, walking from your car to a building, while moving from meeting to meeting, activity to activity, while standing in line waiting, or while exercising.
At the point of a decision during the day, your mantra can guide you to the best action.
Write your mantra on an index card and carry it in your wallet. Write it when you’re doodling. Write what it means to you in a journal.
To center yourself, take a deep breath and think of your mantra as you inhale and exhale. Used throughout the day, this is a simple yet effective stress reduction technique. Taken to a deeper level, your mantra can be incorporated into meditation and prayer.
Let your mantra remind you of the direction you are taking, attitude you are assuming, or dream you are growing.
“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.”
© 2005, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to www.inthecurrent.com.
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