This is a guest blog post written by the wonderful Dawn Bradley
You might know by now that I’m very open about my struggle with anxiety. I’ve worked hard at getting it in check. I try to pass on what I’ve learned onto others, because I know I’m not alone!
Earlier this year, I did an Instagram live about my creative process, and I shared that I like to use mantras to help keep my mind focused and on track.
It was one of those moments when I said something in passing, assuming no one would care or even listen to such a tiny detail, and I got a huge response! A bunch of people wanted to know about my mantras. Months later, I STILL get message about this.
You asked, and now I’m going to deliver!
Hold up. What the heck is a mantra?
I first learned about mantras in therapy. (BTW, I’m a huge advocate for therapy. It’s helped me so much. I literally have no words for how much I love therapy.)
At first, I didn’t buy it. Mantras? Uh, no thanks.
I’d heard the word before, but assumed it was some sort of hippy dippy shit that was a little bit too woo-woo for me. I had zero interest in sitting cross-legged on a mountaintop repeating words that meant nothing to me. I brushed off the concept without a second thought.
Then I heard somewhere that mantras are just phrases that you repeat and focus on in your head. Any words. They don’t have to be in Sanskrit, or woo-woo phrases that someone else makes up for you. They’re just phrases you repeat in your mind, for better or for worse.
I realized that whether I liked it or not, I had mantras. I repeated words and phrases in my head all the time! (Mostly negative ones because, you know, anxiety.)
How Mantras Work
What you focus on is what you become. Your thoughts become your attitude, your feelings, and your actions. I don’t want to get into all the negative crap that I was mindlessly letting play on repeat in my head, but those thoughts were NOT producing the feelings I wanted.
So I decided that maybe changing my mantras was worth trying. And if it didn’t work, no harm, right? I was really banking on it not working, but I’ll always give things a shot.
Guess what I learned during my little experiment?
Mantras work. F*$k, they actually work. I hate when this stuff works!
Not really, but, you know, I hate being wrong. And I was definitely wrong about mantras.
I actually have the first piece of paper where I wrote my mantras down. And now I’ll share my first ever mantras with you…
5 Simple Sentences That Changed Everything
#1: What others think of me is none of my business.
I had to say this one daily, over and over, for a couple years until it just recently started to stick. It’s a doozy though. So worth it.
#2: Be kind and compassionate with myself.
This was a tough one too. I rarely gave myself the love and care I granted others. Is anyone else way harder on themselves than they ever would be on anyone else?
#3: Listen more, talk less (and think before I speak).
Confession: I’m a total interrupter. I remember the day I realized this (and sadly, it wasn’t that long ago).
I just get so excited to share what I’m thinking that I forget to not only listen, but to really hear what the other person is saying.
This mantra has helped with that a lot!
#4: Prioritize myself.
This goes hand in hand with creating boundaries and remembering that boundaries aren’t meant to keep people out, but to keep me healthy.
Learning to put myself and my well-being first meant losing friendships, which was tough. That’s kind of how it goes sometimes. (Sorry, I didn’t say this would be easy.)
#5: I can’t make everyone happy.
I have to keep this one on repeat EVERY DAMN DAY!
That’s it! Those are my Top 5.
The coolest part about this all is that you can make up your own mantras. If there’s something you are struggling with that seems to repeat in your head, think of a sentence that is the exact opposite, a positive spin, and a solution.
And I really suggest writing them down. Keep them somewhere you can see them every day.
It seems so simple, but writing these down and actually putting them into play is some tough shit! It’s also the best way to make them stick, so they’ll replace the unhelpful stuff you were thinking before.
Another tip: Do you know it’s scientifically proven that if you say something out loud, it’s more effective?
(Okay, you caught me. I totally made that up, but I’m willing to bet if I Googled it, there is some sort of research on it!)
But really, make sure to say these out loud. Every day. Even if you feel weird. Something about hearing these words in your own voice really drives them home. I don’t know what it is, but I swear it works!
Will you give it a try? Even if you don’t feel like it?
Let me know how it goes!
p.s. I know we can all beat ourselves up over who we aren’t at times, that I made something for you to remind you, so you never forget, how enough you right now, truly are!
Dawn Bradley is an accomplished stylist and has worked all across the globe!
She believes that thoughtful communication is the way to provide her guests with stunning results and an enjoyable experience in her salon. You can follow her on Instagram here.
Thank you Dawn for your motivating words. Now let’s go figure out our mantras!
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