Finding Your Mantra

As I was in yoga class, I was sweating bullets trying to make my human body contort into a pose called king pigeon.  The real, hardcore, aloe vera and chia seed smoothie drinking yogis call it by its Sanskrit name, Eka Pada Rajakpostasana. This pose feels just about as unnatural as it sounds. This intense hip opener continuously makes me question whether or not I am a 19-year-old in a 19-year-old body, or a 19-year-old in an 80-year-old body.  As I was in the middle of blaming my body for being too stiff, the instructor said something thought provoking.  She said, “when you are in positions that cause you stress or discomfort, it is the most important time to remind yourself of your mantra.”  My mantra?  Where was I when everyone decided to get one?  I left class pondering this question and for the rest of the day I was determined to create a mantra for myself.  At first, I thought “Let it be” would be a nice one.  Sure, it was an over used phrase coined by the Beatles, but it was a solid phrase nonetheless.  After trying it out, looking in the mirror and saying, “Let it be,” I couldn’t keep a straight face repeating it to myself.  It did not fit me whatsoever.  My type-A personality simply could not just “Let it be;” I had no desire to “Let it be.”  After going through several options of other mantras, I felt frustrated that I had not found the right one. 

Later that night, I was sitting in bed watching a documentary called “Hungry for Change.”  Among other things, the people in the documentary talked about the importance of loving yourself unconditionally and wholly.  The doctors and nutritionists in the film were explaining that loving yourself has a variety of benefits, including the ability to make you heal emotionally and physically.  They suggested repeating this sentence to yourself every single day: “I love and accept myself unconditionally, right now.”  The words immediately grabbed my attention and stopped me in my tracks – I had found the mantra that fit me perfectly.  It was the Cinderella stepping into her glass slipper type of fit; it was Goldilocks tasting her third porridge kind of fit; it was just right.  From that moment on, whenever I find myself in a time of stress or discomfort, I remind myself of my mantra. 

With the end of the semester approaching, I encourage every Bucknell girl to find her mantra.  The end of the semester brings a slew of new stresses that can break us down mentally.  But rather than letting your negativity get the best of you, allow your mantra to improve your life.  When trying to incorporate a mantra into your daily routine, keep the following thoughts in mind:

1.     “I can’t change what I refuse to confront.”

Be honest with yourself and recognize your mental weaknesses.  When you are going about your daily life, notice the thoughts that go through your mind.  When do you beat yourself up?  When do you succumb to negative thoughts?  These are the types of thoughts that you should target and replace with a mantra.  Being honest about your mental weaknesses will allow you to change.

2.     “Today I will choose happiness.”

While you can’t control every event in your life, you can control your outlook on these events.  The best way to train your mind to have a more positive outlook is to start your day with your mantra.  Rather than waking up and checking your to do list, wake up and recite the words that will change your day for the better.  Open your morning with positive thoughts and it will undoubtedly set the tone for the rest of your day.  It is the easiest way to wake up on the right side of the bed every single morning.

3.     “I am destined to become the person that I decide to be.”

Repetition is the key to making it work.  The more you repeat it, the stronger you will believe it.  We are all aware that physical training means a stronger body.  But the same thing is true of your mind. By repeating a mantra, you are mentally training your brain to be stronger.

4.     “Today I am thankful.”

We are at Bucknell.  And that alone proves that we have so much to be thankful for.  But taking the time out of the day to appreciate the opportunities that we have is important.  Taking the time out of the day to appreciate the people that we know is even more important.  If you take a moment to be thankful for something every day, you will undeniably be flooded with positive feelings.

By employing these ideas into your daily routine, you may start to notice a shift in your attitude.  And hey, one of these ideas may even become your mantra.