A mantra is a short phrase that you repeat to yourself, that takes the place of anxious or stressful thoughts. It can be particularly helpful if your thoughts keep circling round and round in the same repetitive loop that you can’t seem to get away from. It can also be useful during periods of acute stress, such as during radiotherapy or in the MRI scanner.
Mantra is traditionally used within religious traditions, using a line of scripture of a short prayer. An example of this would be saying the rosary, or using prayer beads. Mantra is often sung or chanted, which helps keep the breath longer and smoother and reinforces the calming effect. If you’re part of a faith tradition you probably already know a few potential mantras you might like to use. If not, you could use a line from a favourite song or poem, or make up a short phrase and maybe put it to a simple tune. You could also use an affirmation in this way as well. You can even use nonsense words, although these are less likely to stick in your mind.
In the video below, Janey, core therapist at Penny Brohn demonstrates Mantra and breathing techniques to help you relax.