Using Mantras + Affirmations
Yesterday, we began to look at how we can work to consciously change our thoughts. If your thoughts don’t feel like much of a safe place right now, and trying to change them on your own sounds like hocus pocus, bear with us for a moment. The truth is, the human brain is an incredibly malleable and moldable organ that we can begin to hack and rewire with conscious effort. While we can’t change our thoughts overnight, and some thoughts, feelings, and emotions are stickier than others, we can build tools to begin to reframe our thoughts. This is all part of the neuroscience approach to quitting drinking. We introduced the concept of affirmation work yesterday, so let’s dive in a little more.
An affirmation is a short statement, often an “I” or “my” statement, that validates and affirms some part of our self-worth, work, relationships, body, mind, strength, or the way we live in the world. For example, “I am safe in this body” or “I am worthy despite my past.”
Mantras are similar, but aren’t always necessarily about ourselves. An example of a mantra might be “be the light.” Mantras can also be single words like “love,” “om,” or “peace.” Several yogic traditions like Kundalini yoga use mantras and chanting. Mantras can also be a general framework for how we move about in the world.
Finding the phrases best suited to you:
In the Reframe app, you receive a daily affirmation every day. These are a great place to start if you’re new to mantras. You can also develop affirmations and mantras specific to you; these are incredibly powerful for rewiring your unique mind. To do this, spend some time journaling about your “stories.”
Your “stories” are the things you’ve always told yourself about you and your life, regardless of their validity. For example, “I’m bad with money,” or “I have no self restraint,” or “I’m such a trainwreck.” These stories have negative and limiting connotations to them, and they’re easy to get stuck in. Examine how you think about yourself in different categories like:
Your mental health, cognitive abilities
Your physical health, body image
Your financial health, career, work
What you consume: eat, drink, read, listen to
How you operate in social situations
And specifically: your relationship with alcohol
Does anything specific come up for you? Are there recurring themes, and certain areas that you really struggle with? For this exercise, identify the top 5 “stories” you’ve been living.