The Complete Guide To Mantras and Personal Mantras

In this article: Set your mind, set your intentions and alter the vibration of all aspects of your being!

Mantras seem to have burst onto the scene somewhat suddenly with the rise in popularity in the practice of meditation and yoga, among other activities. Yet, mantras have been in existence for thousands of years. 

Despite their long history of existence, there still seems to be some lack of clarity regarding what exactly mantras are, how they came to be, and how they can be used in daily life. This report seeks to outline the rich history of mantras, clearly define mantras, and outline how mantras can be created and used to facilitate personal growth and development. 

The term mantra is a Sanskrit term from the root “manas” (the linear thinking mind) whereby “man” means mind and “tra” means to cross over. In today’s society mantras are seen as spiritual aphorisms or affirmations in the form of words, phrases, or even sounds used to facilitate mental release. 

Traditionally, mantras are defined as “sonic formula that take us beyond or through the discursive faculties of the mind and connect our awareness directly and immediately to deep states of energy and consciousness,” as outlined by Russel Paul in the book The Yoga of Sound: Tapping the Hidden Power of Music and Chant

Simply put, ancient mantras have been and continue to be used to aid the mind in crossing over to a state of enlightenment. According to Sharon Gannon, yoga teacher and co-founder of the Jivamukti method, “A mantra provides a way to go beyond negative thoughts.”

The use of mantras is thought to offer many benefits, some of which include higher levels of self-awareness, reduced stress levels, increased self-compassion, an enhanced sense of calm, and a more positive perspective overall. Mantras are also known to be beneficial in other ways. One such way is improved focus. 

As a person shifts their attention to meditating on or saying a mantra, their awareness is occupied and wandering thoughts are limited. Mantras can also be beneficial by reinforcing meditation goals. It is believed that the vibrations and harmony of chanting syllables facilitates a deeper meditative state. 

This then works to release blocked energy and promote well-being. The use of mantras also guides awareness to inner intentions in a way that reflects your vision for yourself and increases the chances of it becoming reality. Improved brain health is another way that mantras can also offer a benefit. 

Studies on this connection have shown mantras can improve brain health, increase cerebral blood flow, and enhance cognitive function. Additionally, chanting of certain mantras, according to a 2017 study demonstrated synchronization of the left and right sides of the brain which promoted relaxing brain waves. 

Such changes then seemed to lead to other positives such as decreased fatigue, reduced anxiety, improved verbal and visuospatial memory, and improvements in overall mood and well-being. 

Traditional Mantras

A traditional mantra practice tends to be completed via the following steps:  

  1. Find a Comfortable Position: It’s important to sit or even lie in a position that can be held for a prolonged period of time; essentially the entire length of the given meditation practice. It’s also important that the location selected is quiet and free from distractions so as not to take away from the practice. It’s often common to use relaxing sounds such as ocean waves, rainfall, or nature sounds to facilitate a peaceful state. 
  2. Set a Timer: A period of time should be selected for the meditation practice and a timer set for that length of time. Such a period can be as brief as 3 minutes, but traditionally lasts between 30 minutes to 1 hour once a person has become more proficient in the practice. 
  3. Deep Breathing: Intentional focus on breathing is then used to establish deep focus and calm. Taking deep breaths that stem from the belly and focusing on the sensation of that breath without doing anything to alter the breathing pattern is necessary. 
  4. Implement the Mantra: As steady breathing continues, one then begins to chant the chosen mantra. The mantra is either repeated out loud or said silently to oneself. Pairing the pattern of the mantra chant to the pattern of breathing is often very helpful. 
  5. Redirect Thoughts: It is typical, especially if you are new to the practice, for thoughts to wander. When this occurs, one should avoid trying to force the unwanted thoughts away. Instead, acknowledging the thoughts and releasing them is a more effective means of handling this. Once the thoughts have been released, returning back to the recitation of mantras can take place. 
  6. End Meditation: When the timer goes off, one does not jump right up and move on. Instead, a gentle transition is recommended. Taking a few moments to sit with a quiet mind, check in with yourself, and assess progress facilitates a more peaceful close to the meditation and mantra practice.

Mantras: A Brief History

Mantras are not new. They have their origin in the primordial sound OM which is known as the sound of creation. The premise of mantras as uncovered by sages and seers is that when put into practice mantras work to remove barriers to growth, eliminate misery, raise a practitioner in wisdom (sadhaka), and catalyze the process of realizing and accomplishing the goals set for and by each spiritual being in a human form. 

Common mantras one may hear in traditional yoga or meditation practice include the following:

  • Om Namah Shivaya: This is a salutation to Shiva, known as lord of destruction and transformation and one of the primary gods of the Hindu Trinity. This mantra is often thought of as the most common mantra in the Hindu and yogic traditions. Referred to as the “five-syllable-mantra,” Om Namah Shivaya is said to evoke the five elements of existence- earth, water, fire, air, and space. 

A key part of this Vedic mantra is coming to terms with your own mortality and the impermanence of existence. It is known to bring the chanter closer to the divine in which one finds rest in the unknown and unimaginable path of destruction.

  • Om Mani Padme Hum: This mantra is rooted in India and Tibet and is also a highly common mantra. As translated by the Dalai Lama this mantra means “The jewel is in the lotus,” or “Praise to the jewel in the lotus.” In the yogic tradition the lotus represents the ability of transformation and is a symbol of the spiritual path.

Alison Cramer, yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner states, “The use of this mantra signifies trusting that ‘jewels’ or wisdom can be found by doing the work to come out of the mud, darkness, and ignorance, thereby entering into beauty and grace.” 

  • Lokah Samastah Sukinoh Bhavantu: This is a Hindu and Buddhist chant which comes from the Vedas meaning “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to the happiness and to that freedom for all.” 

This chant is meant to signify not a quest for personal enlightenment, but so that individuals can contribute to the global transformation that will alleviate suffering and bring about equality. It is through working towards the well-being of others that one can find benefit for themselves and through self-fulfillment one becomes more capable of sharing or bringing about wellbeing. 

  • So, Hum: This mantra dates back to the Isha Upanishads in the 1st millennium BCE. Both Buddhist and Hindu traditions translate this as a breath mantra and philosophical aphorism that means “I am that.”

When the sound “so hum” is chanted and paired with inhaling and exhaling, consciousness is believed to expand from constriction to freedom. 

Personal Mantras

Mantras are not limited to the traditional non-English sounds/words/phrases used in meditations and yoga, nor the common English words and phrases used in mainstream society. 

Mantras can be specifically created and tailored in order to help you reprogram your mind towards a specific goal, set your intentions towards a specific goal, or alter aspects of your being. This actively demonstrates that you can create your own highly specific and highly personalized mantras to cater to your specific needs, goals, and desires. 

When creating a personal mantra there is no such thing as a right or wrong mantra. Instead, mantras are based on personal experience, personal goals, and are linked to the power you possess as an individual as well as the unique expression of what you desire most. 

Personal mantras can be created to help you address insecurity, foster deep connection, promote self-confidence, or release suffering among other personal goals. 

The key to creating a strong and effective personal mantra is ensuring the mantra is authentic. This actively demonstrates that the mantra needs to hold personal meaning to you and aid you in creating your optimal reality. 

Steps To Creating A Personal Mantra

While there is no set way to go about creating a personal mantra, there are a series of steps you can take that will maximize the effectiveness of the mantra you create. 

These steps include: 

  1. Write out your most pressing desire. This means taking some time to do some reflection and introspection. The goal is to shut out external noise and input and look within to that which will lead you to your optimal reality. It’s important to choose a concept that adequately and clearly communicates exactly what you want. 
  2. Turn your desire into a declarative statement. Once the concept has been identified it must be formed into a declarative statement. That requires you to think about what you desire to have as though you already have it, and forming the statement based on this mindset. 
  3. Use first person. A mantra has to be extremely personal. This mantra is for no one other than yourself and using “I” statements allows you to connect with your goals and desires in a deeper way.
  4. Avoid the use of negative words. It’s important that the personal mantra is also positive and does not use negative words such as not, never, etc. An optimistic expression of the desired goal versus what you are not good at helps bring about positive thinking. 
  5. Write, cite, repeat. Engaging in the process of writing, citing, and repeating the created mantra helps you test your resolve and commitment to the mantra, revealing to you if it’s strong enough to motivate and encourage you , particularly in key moments when your desire is challenged. 
  6. One at a time. This process can be used to create mantras for multiple desires. However, it is important to only focus on one desire at a time when writing and implementing personal mantras into your life. This allows the entirety of your focus and attention to be devoted to the pursuit and development of that particular goal which enhances the chances of your success. 

Examples Of Personal Mantras

Some examples of personal mantras that are commonly used and can be implemented include:

  • I am healthy
  • I am capable
  • I am strong
  • Peace begins with me

A prime example of a scenario in which a personal mantra can be used to help reprogram the mind, set intentions, and alter aspects of one’s being is among someone who is struggling with self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is the act of understanding and recognizing one’s own abilities and limitations and embracing them fully. 

A failure to accept oneself is either a failure to understand and recognize one’s own abilities and limitations or a failure to embrace those abilities and limitations completely. A person struggling in this area can then create mantras that tailor to their specific desire to accept themselves. 

Then via consistent implementation of those mantras a person can begin to see changes in their thinking/mindset and a removal of the limitations that would prevent them from being able to accept themselves fully.

Planning A Personal Mantra

Using the process outlined above, creating a personal mantra for this aim would look like what is outlined below:

  1. Desire: To grow in my ability to accept myself
  2. Declarative Statement: The desire is to become more self-accepting
  3. First Person: I will avoid that which impedes my self-acceptance
  4. Avoid Negative Words: I accept myself as I am
  5. Write, Cite, Repeat: Write out the statement from #4, recite it, and repeat it
  6. Focus on this mantra until you see the change you desire 

There is no one way to develop a personal mantra. Another means of creating a personal mantra might center around continuing to foster positive traits or achievements you already possess. 

Goals Of Personal Mantras Step By Step Plan

The goal is not to change from one thing to another, or gain something that is absent, but rather to grow in an area that already exists. 

This method of forming a personal mantra may involve less steps and can result in a more simplified mantra. 

  1. Reflect on your biggest achievements. This requires writing down somewhere between five to eight personal achievements that you’re the most proud of. 
  2. Rate the achievements. Each personal achievement on your list should then be rated on a scale of 1-10, with 1 meaning the achievement gives you no pleasure and 10 meaning it brings you extreme pride and joy when you reflect on it. 
  3. Choose the highest rated item. Look at the ratings you gave each achievement and choose the highest rated achievement. If two or more achievements are tied, reflect on the one that was the most rewarding, exciting, and generated the most pride. 
  4. Condense to one word. While this step might be difficult, it is good to help you synthesize your focus to simply one word. Not only does that make it easier to maintain your concentration, but it makes it easier to say and implement consistently. 
  5. Use this word daily. The ease of your personal mantra being just one word makes it simple to use each day, and ideally multiple times throughout the day. Starting and ending your day with the personal mantra helps you begin and end each day with this goal on your mind. Additionally, calling on the personal mantra when you feel any doubts, have free time, or you find yourself participating in activities that support those efforts. This works to reinforce the mantra and maximize its effectiveness. 

Morning Mantras

The way we start our day has a huge impact on what happens throughout the day. The attitude cultivated when we first awake can either make or break our day. Our attitude affects our actions and behaviors in a significant manner, so it’s important that we take measures to begin our day off right. 

While there are a host of morning mantras a person can begin using to start their day, the following mantras often resonate with many people and can lead to a host of positive benefits.

Benefits Of Morning Mantras

Increased Motivation

Saying a mantra each morning can help adjust your mindset in a way that connects you to your goals and energizes you to work towards them. When you start your day thinking about the desire you are trying to achieve, your efforts and energy throughout the day will be mobilized towards accomplishing that thing. 

Enhanced Wellness

A morning mantra puts your mind in a positive mindset, which can lead to enhanced wellness. Research has shown a link between mantras and mental health. Evidence showed that people who silently repeated a word or phrase lowered their levels of anger, stress, and anxiety. 

More Effectiveness

When you have a morning mantra your mind is redirected towards something more positive and energizing. This shift then allows your efforts to be more intentional throughout the day. 

When you have something on your mind that you are actively thinking about in the morning, as you go about your day you will constantly direct and redirect your efforts in a way that helps you accomplish more and accomplish it more effectively. 

Boosted Self-Confidence

When you have a morning mantra it can aid in boosting self-confidence. Starting the day with a positive phrase or statement can increase your belief in yourself and your abilities over time. 

As you repeat the mantra each morning you begin to see what qualities and traits you possess that lead you closer to the desire you have outlined. Thinking on your goals can make you feel more competent and capable, helping you tackle them confidently and effectively.  

Increased Connection

Morning mantras can connect you with self as well as help you connect with other people. As you pause in the morning to reflect on your mantra you connect with your inner most desires and aspirations. 

By reflecting on those things that matter to you and how you can achieve your desires, you can also connect more deeply with others. Understanding what you want out of life and how you intend to get there can help you develop empathy and understanding for others who may be on a similar journey. 

Not only that, but you can also reflect on how your desires and efforts impact others around you by understanding that what you do has the ability to either help or harm others. 

Greater Focus

As previously mentioned, when you start your morning with a statement related to your desires or goals, your focus shifts towards that thing. The more you reflect and meditate on something, the more your thoughts and intentions will move towards that thing. 

Thus, a morning mantra will aid you in aligning your desires and aspirations with your actions and improve the likelihood of your efforts throughout the day being a meaningful pursuit of those things. 

More Energy

Finally, another way that morning mantras can add value is by giving individuals more energy. It can be difficult to get up in the morning but starting the day with a mantra can bring life to the day and through motivation and encouragement, help you feel more energized and excited to go about the day. 

Examples Of Morning Mantras

  • I Choose Happy: This morning mantra serves as a reminder to take control over your emotions and attitude by making the choice to implement happiness in your life. This removes the control other people or circumstances might have over your feelings or actions and emphasizes the fact that a positive mindset is in your hands and you can make this choice for yourself whenever you desire. 
  • I Expect Good Things to Happen: This mantra sets a positive tone for your day and again helps to change your mindset for the positive. Many people, often without realizing it, have negative expectations for things that will happen directly to them or in their lives. This morning mantra sets your expectations in a way that allows you to be hopeful which will make you more likely to see and appreciate the good things that happen in your life throughout the day. 
  • I Am Capable: This morning mantra empowers you to take life by the horns. Frequently we avoid taking risks and pursuing opportunities because we doubt our abilities. However, starting the day with this mantra reshapes your ideas about your abilities to be more optimistic, therefore encouraging you to engage in life because you can in fact achieve. Simple belief in oneself is shown to enhance one’s own accomplishments, so this mantra can be a powerful one. 
  • I matter: We can also be paralyzed by feelings of insignificance in our lives. This morning mantra serves as a reminder that we have significance and value in our lives and the world. Thus, we become more willing to engage, take chances, and pursue opportunities because we have the inner belief in our intrinsic value.

Night Mantras

Just as the way we begin our days holds much significance, the way we end our days is also important. Our ability to sleep and find much needed rest can be drastically impacted by our minds, thoughts, bodies and even environments. The use of a night mantra can help remedy these issues by putting us in an optimal state to rest and relax so that we are able to start our day off on a good foot the next morning. 

Benefits Of Night Mantras


As night mantras are implemented at the end of your day, you can experience greater levels of relaxation. A lot occurs throughout our day, and at times those things can be stress inducing. A night mantra can help us to let go of those things so that our body and mind can find peace, leading us to deeper states of relaxation. 

Decreased Anxiety

As we find deeper levels of relaxation a byproduct of that is also decreased anxiety. The more at ease we are, the less our thoughts can get the best of us and cause us to feel stress and anxiety. When we are in a relaxed state we are more likely to release anxious thoughts and embrace a state of calm in our lives. 

Better Sleep

The less stress and anxiety we have, the better sleep we are able to obtain. As our minds and bodies are at ease, it puts us in a better position to get restful sleep. Our minds are able to release stress and tension which promotes the release of chemicals that tell our body it’s time to sleep. 

We can then rest and experience the benefits of restful sleep such as physical rejuvenation, cell repair, healing from ailments, and other benefits that help us thrive during our waking hours. 

Improved Wellness

With decreased anxiety, enhanced relaxation, and better sleep overall health and wellness naturally improved. Research has shown that when we are able to reduce our stress and anxiety levels it leads to positive health outcomes such as improved heart health, better gastrointestinal health, and improved mental health among other benefits. 

Examples of Night Mantras 

  • I Am At Peace: This night mantra calms the mind and promotes relaxation. By stating and meditating on the fact that you are at peace, you mentally embrace peace and promote the release of any thought that may detract from that. Then, when at peace you are able to go off into restful sleep without anxieties, worries, or doubts that might result in insomnia or disturbed sleep. 
  • Relax, Release, Rest: This mantra is another means of promoting mental release and clarity that would then lead to restful sleep. The statement ‘relax’ induces the state of calm needed to reflect, meditate, and initiate the resting process. The word ‘release’ promotes the letting go of words, events, or people that may have negatively influenced or impacted you in a way that induces stress or anxiety. Finally, the statement ‘rest’ helps initiate the process of entering into a restful state. 
  • I Am Ready For Sleep: This mantra is a simple way of preparing yourself for sleep. Sometimes our bodies need a cue that it is time to slow down and allow ourselves to be at ease so that we can get the rest we need. This mantra can act as that cue and meditating or repeating it can help your mind and body begin that process so you can find rest. 
  • My Mind Is Calm: This is another mantra designed to stimulate calm in the body and mind as a means of promoting rest. We can often be plagued by thoughts and responsibilities and even happenings in our lives that can keep our minds activated and prevent us from finding sleep. This phrase can help your mind transition from activity to rest. 

Ancient Night Mantras

There are also ancient night mantras that can be used to promote sound sleep, rest, and peace in the evenings. These mantras are rooted in traditional Hindu and similar cultures and can be used regularly as well. 

  • Ramaskandam Hanumantam, Vainateyam Vrikodaram I, Shayanayah Smare Nityam and Duswapnam Tasya Nashyati II: This mantra promotes sound sleep and works to eliminate nightmares when said before bed. 
  • Om Agasthi Shahina: This mantra is known as one of the most powerful sleep mantras for individuals who find themselves struggling with insomnia or sleeplessness. This mantra is said to have the healing power to calm the activity of the brain and allow it to enter into a state of tranquility. 
  • Sa Ta Na Ma: This mantra, known as the Kundalini Yoga Mantra, is made up of sounds that are said to help balance the hemispheres of the brain. Saa means Infinity (the totality of the Cosmos), Taa meaning Life (birth of form from the Infinity), Naa meaning Death (or transformation) and Maa meaning Rebirth. This mantra for insomnia is known as a Panj Shabad, or a five sound mantra. It relaxes and heals the mind, body, and spirit and leads to deeper more peaceful sleep at night.
  • Om Namah Shivaay:  This mantra, known as the Shiva Mantra, is believed to attract sleep and fight off nightmares.
  • Har Mukunday I:  This mantra translates to mean “The Infinite Creator Liberates Me.” It is known as a peaceful sleep mantra, and it is said that chanting this will remove fear and worries that may be keeping you up at night. By releasing these fears and worries from the physical and mental body, one can obtain peaceful rest. 
  • Om: Most people regard ‘Om’ as the most powerful one-word mantra. This Hindu mantra can be repeated to calm the brain and put you into a relaxing state of sleep. 
  • Ang Sang Waheguru: This Waheguru Mantra is said to bring peace and healing into the body in order to offer sleep. Ang means a part, Sang means in or with every, and Wahe means the indescribable living ecstasy of Infinite Being. Guru means the knowledge that transforms your mind, emotion, and essence. 

Mantras Tips And Tricks

As you go about the process of creating and implementing your mantras, it’s important not to get discouraged if you feel like the mantras aren’t immediately effective or even if they aren’t effective at all. There are some tips and tricks you can keep in mind that will help you stay encouraged, confident, and committed as you use mantras in your life.

  • Be consistent: You can’t try a mantra a few times, a few days, or even a few weeks and expect to see instant results. Regular practice is essential if you want to see any results. This actively demonstrates one’s ability to establish a consistent routine to ensure you don’t give up. 

Setting reminders or timers throughout the day can be a good means of prompting yourself throughout the day. Also writing the mantra down and sticking it up in places you frequent (i.e., the car, bathroom, fridge, etc.) can help you to say or think on your mantra each time you visually see it. 

  • Switch it up: If with consistent practice of your original mantra over a period of time you feel like the mantra is not a good fit for you, it is perfectly okay to switch up your mantra. Sometimes we realize that a particular mantra is not a good fit for us or that our desires have changed. 

Changing your mantra to one that may better connect with you and your intentions is okay and recommended if you come to that realization.

  • Mala Beads: Mala beads, also known as japa mala, can aid in promoting mindfulness during meditation and yoga practices. Mala beads are intended to help you as you repeat your mantra. 

They are comprised of 108 beads that can help you maintain a steady breathing rhythm during your meditation. They can also be used to help you focus on your mantra, with each single bead being used to mark one repetition. 

Final Thoughts

To sum up everything that has been stated so far, mantras can be a very useful tool in our everyday lives and have been a part of the lives of ancient people for years now. Mantras can be tools we use to bring about meaningful change in our lives. 

Not only that, but mantras can be words, statements, and phrases that we create for ourselves, moving beyond using pre-established mantras, as a means of generating more meaningful and intentional positive change in our lives. 

Via mantras we can transform facets of our thought processes, behaviors, and attitudes in a way that helps us achieve our innermost desires and aspirations following a specific process to help you design a mantra that is highly personal and meaningful to you and your goals. Mantras can be used in the morning to begin your day on a positive note, in the evening to end the day and ease yourself into peaceful rest, and throughout the day to promote wellness, positive attitudes, and positive action. 

Consider adding mantras to your life and see what positive things you can manifest as a result. Stay well and take care.


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