The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and you're just happy to be alive. Maybe you're the most hungover human in the history of forever, or maybe you have an endless amount of work ahead of you, but you still recognize the importance of having mantras that will help you stay positive and happy to help you get through the day — and that's what really makes the difference.
Sometimes it’s just one of those days when everything is going wrong and the universe seems to be conspiring against you. Or maybe it’s just Monday. At any rate, you're not feeling too great and it seems like there's nothing much you can do to change your mood. For these very moments, it helps to have a handy mantra — or six — stowed away in your back pocket (literally or figuratively) to help you get some perspective.
Merriam-Webster will tell you that a mantra is a sound, word, or phrase repeated in prayer or meditation, but it goes so much deeper than that. Director of the Art of Living’s Women and Child Welfare Programs, Bhanumathi Narasimhan, breaks it down beautifully: She likens the mantra to a seed, filled with the potential to become a tree. Repeat whatever chosen mantra often enough to yourself, and you'll find those crappy days all the more easier to get through.
I'll toss a few of those happy seeds your way to get you started on this garden of positivity. Here are six mantras that will help you get through your day.
1. "Comparison is the thief of joy."
Living in the bittersweet digital age, we have so much information just waiting to be accessed by a tap of our fingertips. Without even leaving your bed, you saw how much fun your friend was having at that trendy bar last night thanks to her Snapchat story; Taylor just started working at the coolest company as seen on your Facebook feed; and who is that super cute girl in Ian's new Instagram post? Are they in Southeast Asia right now? Where do they find the time and money? What are you doing with your life? Enter a serious case of serious case of FOMO.
We all like to share and maybe show off a little bit, and that’s the great thing about being so connected in the world today. What’s important to remember, though, is that people seldom share the negative or more mediocre aspects of their lives. We tend to get so wrapped up in the glamorous things other people are doing, that we don’t realize most of these are just depictions of their best selves, and often times, exaggeration. The power of web presence is too real. People post what they want others to see and hide what they don’t. We can curate an entire glamorized profile of exactly who we want to be. And that can be mighty scary when you forget to see it that way and you're constantly trying to keep up with something that isn't even real.
2. "Progress, not perfection."
Nobody’s perfect, and it’s about the journey so much more than it is the destination. Any time we strive working toward something, from fitness goals to career aspirations, it can be extremely frustrating when we’re not instantly gratified. You may have an idealized image of what you want so strongly imprinted in your mind, and you won’t rest until that vision becomes a reality. And this is great motivation, but don’t let it wear you down. The best part of progress is the growth that occurs and the things you’re able to overcome; each time this happens, it’s a success. Look in that mirror and give yourself that well-deserved pat on the back. Recognize how far you’ve come, forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made, and just keep flaunting it. News flash: Progress is perfection.
3. "I may be one in seven billion, but I am also one in seven billion."
No, this isn't a typo. It’s all about perspective. In a world so large, sometimes we feel small and insignificant. And we can feel a little guilty about it because we know those elementary school days are a nostalgic glimmering of the past. But there’s something to be learned from that time. Remember that there’s no other you in this world. That's what the second part of this mantra is about.
You are the one in seven billion. There may be people like you, sure. But they’re not you. And you sure as hell don’t need others’ validation as long as you can recognize just how awesome you are. Since we've established that we have control over how we look at the world and ourselves, why shouldn’t we just give ourselves that gold star every day? Remember that you probably play a much larger role in someone else's life than you often realize — a parent, a friend, a significant other. To them, you're the brightest and best thing in the world, probably. So keep being that one in seven billion the only way you can.
4. "I will accept the things I cannot change."
One of the most frustrating things in life is having to deal with something that is out of our control. It can be hard to just accept things as they are, when we may want something completely different. It may feel like we’re giving up, or we’re missing something we could be doing. But it’s important to recognize when something is out of our hands. Stressing over it is a waste of your time and energy that could be more positively served in other areas of your life over which you do have control. Licensed psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D., brought up the age-old Buddhist formula in an article for Psychology Today: Pain x Resistance = Suffering. Translation: Fighting against (or resisting) the reality of the pain in your life creates suffering.
5. "A wrong turn can lead to the right place."
Especially if you identify as being more of a Type A personality, anything that doesn’t go according to your plan may seem like the biggest disaster. Take a moment to think about all of the times in your life when something unexpected led you to something great. Being more open to change and forgiving flaws and mistakes will allow you to see the hidden blessings and take advantage of those opportunities. Predictability is boring anyway. It closes us off to so much more life may have to offer us and teach us. And there isn't usually just one way of doing things. So keep those bright eyes open to both the good and bad surprises.
6. "Keep your head up and your heart open."
While you're at it, open up that heart too. Look up and move forward. On those miserable days when everything is going to sh*t, the last thing you want to think about is singing hakuna matata and forcing yourself to smile your problems away. But happiness is yours to keep. Don’t let external factors take that away from you. Whatever may be going on will pass, as unlikely as it may seem in that very moment. It’s up to you to just keep going and allowing all of the other good things in.
Everyone has those days where it seems difficult to get ourselves out of bed, out the door, and feeling happy about all the things that seem to go wrong in our lives, but it can get better, and it will. Just take a little perspective and a deep breath, and it will all start to look better sooner than you think.
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