Mantras and Affirmations: Keys to Self-Care and Nourishing Your Mind

I know what you're thinking, if you are of a certain age... that mental image of Stuart Smalley (played by Al Franken on Saturday Night Live) standing before a mirror, looking at himself, and chanting, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

Or maybe you're envisioning a scene from the book (or the movie), The Secret, in which people talk about transforming their lives simply through positive affirmations. The Secret is based on pseudoscientific law of attraction, which claims that thoughts can change a person's life directly; that thoughts can lead to positive results.

And guess what? There's both history and science behind the use of these mental/brain tools to effect change -- especially against the dreaded negative self-talk we often do with ourselves. Furthermore, even if you don't have faith in the history or science, what can it hurt to be more positive and be more in the present -- having more mindfulness of yourself and your surroundings?

These two mental tools are similar, but different -- and often confused. This article discusses both, sharing some examples, and concludes with some additional links for further education.


Mantra has interesting origins, from two Sanskrit words: man, meaning "mind;" and tra, meaning "vehicle or instrument;" thus, mantras are a tool to transport the mind from a state of activity to one of stillness and silence.

Mantras are special messages to the Divine that can be used in all situations, but often used in prayer, breathwork, yoga, and meditation. Mantras aim to liberate the mind from thought in order to facilitate inner peace -- altering consciousness. They are said to have a powerful vibrational resonance.

Mantras typically carry love, forgiveness, compassion, and light -- and each of these elements plays a healing role in your life:

  • A mantra of love helps transform your life;

  • A mantra of forgiveness supports bring inner joy and peace;

  • A mantra of compassion assists in boosting energy, stamina, immunity;

  • A mantra of light encourages healing, purification, illness prevention.

Mantras can be a single word or a simple phrase. Some examples:

  • Love

  • Stop holding hurt

  • Bliss

  • Release my pain

  • Abundance

  • Finding my true self

  • Peace

  • [I am worthy of] _______

  • Joy/Happiness

  • I am strong

  • Heal

  • Be the change


Affirmation comes from the Latin word affirmare, which simply means "to make steady, strengthen." The term was coined in the 1970's by neuroscientists, incorporating a modern understanding of psychotherapy and linguistics.

Think of an affirmation as an intention, a goal you want to achieve.

The reasons why positive affirmations seem to work is not necessarily the out-there change in energy/frequency fields, but by aiding in the reprograming of the subconscious mind -- encouraging us to believe certain things about ourselves and about the world and our place in it. Affirmations force an optimistic mindset -- and optimism in itself is a powerful thing.

Affirmations are used to help people create the reality they seek, often expressed in terms of making (or attracting) wealth, love, beauty, and happiness. But affirmations also help protect us from negative thoughts, feelings of self-doubt, reverting to bad/unhealthy habits, dealing with high levels of stress, and any other setbacks we may face in personal or professional settings. Affirmations can actually help us be both mentally and physically healthier.

When done correctly, affirmations make us feel good about ourselves and our future. Affirmations provide hope for a better future. Some who follow the "law of attraction" say when we practice these affirmations we raise our vibrational frequency, resulting in positive outcomes... financial abundance, happiness, love, and renewed health.

Affirmations should be positive, inspirational, and empowering. You want/seek transformation when using affirmations.

The key elements to remember when crafting your affirmation:

  • Use the first person;

  • Compose in the present tense;

  • State in positive terms;

  • Write in complete sentences;

  • Use emotional wording.

Affirmations are typically simple phrases. Some examples:

  • I am happy and loved;

  • I am strong and competent;

  • I have much love to offer;

  • Love powers me;

  • I am worthy of love;

  • I am an empowered being;

  • I deserve happiness;

  • I am courageous;

  • Life brings me only joy, love, and hope;

  • Abundance comes easily to me;

  • I am active, alive, and healthy.

  • I am secure and at peace;

  • I am who I am... and I am happy with that;

  • I am grateful for my life;

  • I am at peace with myself and the world.

Final Thoughts on Mantras, Affirmations, and Positive Mental Energy

Both mantras and affirmations can result in changes in our brain, affecting our neuroplasticity -- the same as does meditation, breathwork, and psychedelics. These tools can help us break old thinking patterns that sometimes get stuck in our brains -- while creating new, more positive patterns and thoughts.

Mantras are designed to help us focus, concentrate, and be in the moment. Affirmations are more designed around change and building confidence -- and consist of positive thinking phrases.

Practice your mantra or affirmation multiple times a day -- in a quiet moment, during a stressful situation, during meditation or prayer, as you wake up and go to sleep. Repeat the word or phrase multiple times.

Finally, if you find mantras and affirmations appealing, you can take this work to the next level by developing a journal that tracks your development and growth; showcases your hope, dreams and goals; and provides a tool for future personal and professional development. (See my article, Journaling for Healthy Healing and Personal Growth.)

Last Note: As you get comfortable understanding the power of mantras and affirmations in your mental and spiritual growth and health, you might then start thinking of how these tools can also be used to help forge intentions as you consider the intentional use of psychedelic medicines to assist in the clearing of traumas that may be holding you back from living your true and authentic life.

Mantra and Affirmation Links/Additional Resources

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.