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Finding Your Mantra During Cancer

Mantras with practice can eventually make a significant positive impact on your mood.
PUBLISHED June 29, 2017
Tamera Anderson-Hanna is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addiction Professional, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and became a Registered Yoga Teacher while coping with breast cancer in 2015. She owns Wellness, Therapy, & Yoga in Florida where she provides personal wellness services and coaching and she is a public speaker on wellness-related topics. You can connect with her at
If you have been in business, you know something about creating a mission statement or following it as a guide. Setting a mantra can be just as effective for your personal life and long-term healing and mental health as a mission statement is for a successful business. Mantras help us to gain focus on goals, set an intention for the day or a period of time, and they can be personally empowering. Research is also finding that the use of mantras creates positive and meaningful changes in the brain in the form of neural pathways. Much like a muscle, if we exercise the muscle grows and this is what can occur in the brain. If we think negative our brain will follow that path, but when we practice positive mantras it builds new positive pathways in the brain and practicing positive thinking along with smiling releases healthy chemicals into the body.

If you have never consciously created a mantra, you want to think of words you find helpful or personally empowering. You can begin to update or form personal mantras by listing or looking up words you would like to associate with your healing, your body or life, and how you would want others to describe you. Put these words down on paper or index cards and then in front of each word write “I AM.” Using “I am” helps to set the mantra in the present time. What is not helpful or as powerful is saying something such as I will soon be healed. At a minimum say something such as, “every day I am healing” or what is even more powerful, “I am strong,” “I am healthy” and “I am healed.”

Using these words helps to push out doubts or fears and sets the positive mindset you ideally want to apply to your life and pursuit for wellness. When working with individuals or when bringing a new mantra into my own life, I find it helpful to practice it as least three times a day. Schedule the time you can realistically follow up and repeat your mantra at a time you can ensure it happens. Suggestions include first thing in the morning, before or after lunch, and before you go to bed. There is also nothing to say you can’t practice more often such as when you’re receiving treatments or while waiting for an appointment. How many mantras you have and how often you create new ones is up to you, but if you are new to practicing mantras I would encourage you to find no less than one you can repeat for at least 30 days three times a day and more often as needed. The reason behind the 30 days is to begin to build a habit.

The mantra may not initially lead you to feel an immediate difference, but it is the idea you can learn to call upon positive thinking and mantas not just when feeling down, but as habit which overtime helps to keep doubts from forming or sticking around in your head. Mantas with practice can eventually make a significant positive impact on your mood. While healing from cancer you are likely hearing about ways to improve your diet and what you put into your body. I suggest the thinking you allow to bounce around in your head is just as important as the food which sustains and provides us with nourishment.  We know we don’t enjoy being around individuals who are overly negative so why let our self-talk take up negative space in our head? Mantras aren’t just for you either. As you are healing and coping with life changes your family may enjoy and benefit from mantras so share this article for additional support. If your reading this article you are already educating and supportive yourself in making positive changes so give yourself credit and repeat after me, “I am empowered.”   
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