Do you remember that old Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit, Stuart Smalley? Mock self-help coach Stuart would stand in front of his mirror every morning and proclaim his daily mantra for positive thinking:
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough... and doggone it, people like me!”
This seemingly innocuous (and let’s face it, funny) skit probably scared people off daily mantras for at least a decade. Who wanted to be the goofy guy in front of the mirror with no friends, other than his own reflection saying a mantra for setting positive intentions?
What we didn’t widely understand at the time was that daily mantras have the power to change our mindset — and ultimately our realities. Whether you believe they work through the power of manifestation or are simply self-fulfilling prophecies, one thing is certain: they consistently produce positive results.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) defines mantra as, “prolonged repetitive verbal utterance.”
Simply put, it’s a word or phrase stated over and over again, either silently or out loud. Paying attention to the breath (as in meditation) can also be considered a form of mantra.
The idea is that you say the words so many times, they begin to lose their literal meaning. It shuts down the frontal lobe (conscious thoughts) and quiets the mind. And some even believe that those beliefs can become ingrained in our psyches.
Researchers agree that practicing a daily mantra has both mental and health benefits, large and small.
And researchers continue to study the power of mind — and mantra — over matter.
Can something so simple really be effective? How does the power of positive thinking actually work?
Mantras can work on several levels, from our endocrine systems to our subconscious minds. According to the International Journal of Yoga in a study published with NCBI, “Scientific studies on 'Om' chanting suggest that the mental repetition of 'Om' results in physiological alertness, increased sensitivity as well as synchronicity of certain biorhythms, and increased sensitivity to sensory transmission.”
Chanting can also stimulate the pituitary gland, releasing chemicals that calm the mind and aid in hormonal balance.
The good news is that there’s really no "wrong" way to mantra your way through menopause. You could choose a mantra that has nothing to do with menopause at all and still see results!
But it turns out, "the power of intention" indeed has lasting effects on the brain and body. So, we recommend turning your attention to the challenge at hand: overcoming the negative symptoms of menopause.
We also recommend choosing a mantra that is positive, uplifting — and specific.
If you’re concerned with hot flashes, you might say something like, “Cool breeze, cool breeze.”
You can always go with a classic, such as, “This too shall pass.”
Part of the point of meditation and mantra is to remember that everything is impermanent. Remember those days you thought your period cramps would never end? They eventually did, right?
The idea is to focus on the negative symptom without denying its existence. Accept it. Allow it to co-exist with you. The more you fight it or ignore it, the worse it will get. What you resist persists. Notice it, accept it and move forward.
There’s even more good news: you don’t need to carve out a special time each day to practice your daily mantra for menopause (huzzah!). You can do it practically anywhere at any time. (Though, it always helps to practice it when symptoms are at their worst).
Some of the best places to practice your mantra include during your ...
You can also practice while brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or during a commercial break. Whenever symptoms arise, simply take a few deep breaths and say your mantra over and over. We recommend shooting for a high number of repetitions, such as 100.
Studies show that saying your mantra out loud can stimulate the pituitary gland. But you don't have to say them out loud in public. Just saying them silently to yourself helps, too.
If you’re feeling creatively blocked when it comes to your daily mantras, we’ve created a few to help you get started. Feel free to use these mantras, or replace parts of them with your own symptoms and emotions.
As you can see, the first part of the mantra begins by accepting that things are what they are. If you try to deny it, it’ll just feel like you’re dismissing or avoiding the symptoms.
The second half of the mantra accepts the symptoms and reminds you that it’s OK to feel how you feel.
Some of the emotions menopausal women have been known to feel during their daily mantra session include:
We hate to break it to you (especially if you haven’t tried this whole mantra thing out yet), but it’s not a one-and-done, quick-fix.
It’s a practice.
Like exercising, eating right and meditating, the daily mantra practice doesn’t always come easily. Experts suggest practicing a new habit for 21 consecutive days before evaluating whether or not the habit is working for you.
After all, if you went out for a run 2 days out of 21, would you actually expect to see results?
What happens if you stick to your mantra habit for 21 days and it’s still not working? You’re not feeling more relaxed (or even a little better) after you say them, and you really gave it a good shot.
Don’t let it get to you.
While mantras help many women during menopause, they aren’t going to cure every symptom, every time.
If you’ve tried repeating your mantra for at least three weeks, and you’re not seeing (or feeling) results, we’re not going to fault you for stopping. Especially if you find that remembering to repeat your mantra adds more stress to your life than it’s worth. Of course, we always recommend reaching out to a medical professional to talk about your symptoms as well.
In the end, you simply need to stick with what works for you, and your body.
Have you tried a mantra? Do you have a killer mantra that just works to soothe you, body and soul? Please share your experience with us in the Gennev community forums!