In times of stress, change, turmoil or negative self-talk, wouldn’t it be great if you could flick a little switch in your head, to enable you to relieve stress, be confident and focus on those things that truly inspire you and make you happy?
Well, you might be happy if I tell you that there are two tools that do exactly that: healing mantras and affirmations. If you are reading this article, you’ve probably came across these terms as they are becoming more popular due to the spread of practices like mindfulness, yoga and meditation.
You might have also heard self-help and personal development gurus talking about how your thoughts can create your reality.
If you spend most of your time on a negative state of mind or low vibration, you’re more likely to attract negative events to your life.
However, if you are vibrating joy and love, you will see it everywhere. Everything you seek is within! If you feel that you are not experiencing or manifesting something, it is because you are not tuned into its vibration. In order to achieve something, you need to be tuned into it.
Most people are so busy dealing with their daily stress of going to work, taking care of the kids and paying their bills without even realising unconscious negative patterns that they repeat every day and keep them stuck in a cycle.
It’s then essential to be aware of your thoughts, pay attention to the decisions you make in your everyday life, and recognise when something isn’t working so you can take control of it and change it.
So how can you change your thoughts, increase your level of awareness and raise your vibration?
That’s when healing mantras and affirmations become powerful tools.
They are often used interchangeably, yet they are different practices which have their roots in very different cultures.
Keep reading to find out the difference between the two and when and why should you choose one.
Difference between mantras and affirmations
What are mantras?
Etymologically, “mantra” is a Sanskrit word derived from the verb “man,’ which means “mind”/ “to think,” and the suffix “tra,” which means “vehicle” or “instrument”.
A mantra then is literally an “instrument of the mind”, a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of meditation and grow in consciousness.
Mantras aim to liberate the mind from thought in order to facilitate inner peace.
Mantras can consist of a single letter, a syllable or string of syllables, a word, or a whole sentence. They come in many forms, including verses or musical chants and are typically very melodic.
Examples of mantras include single words such as “Om,” which in Hinduism is known as the “pranava mantra,” the source of all mantras, or Sanskrit phrases such as “Om Namah Shivaya” which can be translated as bowing to our true highest selves.
The earliest mantras were composed in Vedic Sanskrit in India and are at least 3000 years old. They now exist also in various schools such as Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism. Their use, structure and types vary according to the school. Some mantras have actual spiritual interpretations such as a human longing for truth, love and knowledge while others don’t have a literal meaning but are musically uplifting.
Mantras are vibrated through chanting aloud, mental practice, or by listening to them. They penetrate the depths of the unconscious mind and adjust your vibration, aligning your awareness with aspects of the self and the infinite.
The effectiveness of the mantra is based not on the understanding of the word, but on the vibration of the word which has the ability to change frequencies in the body through sound waves.
Repeating mantras can help quiet the usual fluctuations of your mind and liberate you from unconscious negative patterns.
Mantras are powerful instruments for self-transformation which should be done on a regular basis for several months for its desired effects to take place.
What are affirmations?
The main difference between an affirmation and a mantra is their origin. Mantras are considered to have a “sacred” origin. They have evolved over 1000’s of years, into a sacred wisdom practice that is quite remarkable.
On the other hand, healing affirmations are a modern invention, created by neuroscientists, in the 1970’s to rewire thought patterns towards more desired outcomes.
Affirmations are positive statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts and beliefs by addressing what you wish to achieve as if you already have it.
There is MRI evidence suggesting that certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation talk. Self-affirmations have also been shown to decrease health-deteriorating stress.
An affirmation might be a cute little note that you see each day as a reminder to help you visualize and create positive changes in your life. It will counteract old or negative beliefs that may keep your mind in a perpetual state of negativity and allow you to create a new way of thinking.
Positive affirmations can be stated anytime and repeated throughout the day, either in thought, whispers or out loud.
Examples of positive affirmations include phrases such as “I am whole and perfect the way I am”; My body is amazing just the way it is, and I accept myself this way; “Whenever I fall down, I get back up again”; or “I am overflowing with abundance”.
While the purpose of affirmation is self-improvement, it should be noted that an affirmation should always be a suggestion, and never a lie.
If you had a broken leg and repeated to yourself “my leg is not broken” – this is not true and can make the situation worse. We should always recognize truth for what it is, whether we like it or not.
The most important thing is that your affirmations reflect your core personal values. There is little point in repeating something arbitrary to yourself if you don’t believe it to be good or worthwhile.
Mantras vs Affirmations
So now that you know the difference between mantras and positive affirmations you might be wondering which one is more effective.
Well, first of all these methods work better for some than others, reinforcing our core concept of bio-individuality which states that we are all unique.
When they are effective, both mantras and positive affirmations can be a part of your spiritual development and healing practices. It will depend on what feels most nourishing at your individual level.
I personally encourage you to give both mantras and affirmations a try and see if they impact how you feel or approach your daily life. If they help you feel better in some way then keep practicing!
Both mantras and positive affirmations can provide you comfort, inspiration, calm, confidence, inner clarity or motivation when you need it most – and they can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
Incorporating them into your daily life will help you be more focused and centered, and better able to transform perceived obstacles into doorways of opportunity.
How to use Mantras or Affirmations
How to use Mantras
Although mantras are simply words or phrases to repeat, here are some tips to practicing them most effectively.
- Start by choosing a mantra that connects to your heart and soul. You can either use Sanskrit, English or other languages according to what feels good and comfortable to you.
- Create your “sacred” space. Make sure your surroundings make you feel comfortable and calm and that you will not be interrupted. It might be a good idea to switch off your phone.
- Then take your mantra and sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Allow your whole body to relax, palms facing up. Focus on your breathing. Breathe steadily and gently.
- Begin to speak, whisper or mentally repeat the mantra slowly over and over again while deepening and expanding your breath. Let it fill your heart and soul with a blissful feeling which spreads throughout your body.
- Chant your mantras intentionally. Believe in your words. Connect and feel the mantra in your heart and/or my third eye and impress it deeply within your mind. Try to become that mantra by feeling it deeply and completely.
- In a traditional mantra practice one uses mala beads to count the number of mantra repetitions. The malas contain 108 beads – the same number of lotus petals and energy channels on all five chakra mandalas in the trunk of the body. However, you can do what feels right to you and simply practice. You can start for instance with 3-5 minutes of meditating and then gradually build to two 20-minute meditations daily.
- When you want to come out of it just top speaking, count to five and open your eyes. Say thank you. Being grateful is very powerful.
How to use Affirmations
- A quick internet search will reveal an abundance of positive affirmations. However, one of the advantages about using affirmations is that you can use your own words to create an intention. You can customize your affirmations and the energy and intention behind them based on your needs. Start by using words that make the most sense to you in the moment.
- You can write your affirmations down, print them out, hang them up, make your own cards and carry them in your pocket throughout your day. They can be useful little reminders when you’re on the move.
- Just like mantras you can also use a mala to repeat the affirmations over and over and meditate on their meaning in your life.
- You can try positive morning affirmations before going to work. The morning is a great opportunity to practice mirror work, in which you recite affirmations while looking at yourself in the mirror. This can help you determine how you want the rest of the day to go.
- Use mobile apps. There are some great apps for positive affirmations that you can also find and can work as a great source of inspiration.
Whether you decide to try mantras, positive healing affirmations or both, just remember that you have the power to create your own reality. As soon as you realise how powerful your own thoughts are, you will become the master of your life.
Love and light x