Sometimes the easiest way to change your attitude is with a mantra, or power phrase, that resonates with you. The idea is that just a few words can serve as a reminder and something of an anchor in the mindset you wish to cultivate. Too many words require too much attention and/or processing, and some people have trouble working with just a single word. I like using 3-word mantras, changing them up as my mood or situation needs.
Pick one, then repeat it to yourself in times of stress. You may need to experiment; try the following, or invent your own, and see what works for you. There's no wrong mantra if it makes you happier!
Here's a few of my favorites:
Attitude Of Gratitude
My personal journey in discovering a happier life for myself hinges strongly on the ability to discover and appreciate the small, everyday joys that surround us even on the worst days. I'm stuck in traffic during a storm, but I'm in my awesome little car and I'm warm and dry. This meeting isn't going well, but my kiddo left a cute note in my bag for me. Science has repeatedly demonstrated that gratitude is good for our not just our mood, but our health, relationships, even our self-esteem! There's no downside to finding more ways to be grateful, and "Attitude Of Gratitude" works as a fabulous mantra both in message and flow.
Heck Yes, And
There's a common game in improvisational acting called "Yes, And;" the idea is that refusing to go along with what another actor has proposed halts the action, so you should always be willing to accept their proposal and build off of it in some way. Just as this is a creative, accepting approach to performance, this same principle can be applied to life. What would change if no matter what life threw your way, you found a way to say yes? Often the barrier to greater happiness is our inability to accept our current circumstances. "Heck Yes, And" is a way of embracing the here and now---a basic requirement of mindfulness, which we know tends to make us happier---and saying "and here's how I'm moving forward." You can't "Heck Yes, And" your way through a day without feeling happier, I guarantee it.
Right Here Now
We live in the age of multitasking, but it's making us unhappy. Living in, and savoring, the moment is much more likely to bring us joy than doing "more" by doing several things at once. "Right Here Now" is a simple reminder to stay in this place, this moment, and experience it fully. People think I'm crazy when I encourage doing things like taking a five minute break in your day to savor a piece of chocolate and do absolutely nothing else, but it's about allowing yourself to uni-task and just be. While you can't spend the whole day just enjoying a treat (most of the time, anyway), you can remind yourself to stay in the moment even during mundane activities---that, too, will make you happier over time.
Here To Help
One of the best ways to boost our own happiness is to be generous towards others. And sure, some days you just don't feel like it or someone is rude to you and the idea of being nice in return seems ludicrous. But... if you're having a hard day, I promise that being a help to others (in whatever form that may take) is a great way to get through it. "Here To Help" is an easy reminder to look for ways to focus on making others happier, which in turn makes us happier, and before you know it, everyone's happier! You can never go wrong with being nice.
As I Am
How often do we think we'll be happier when... we lose 10 pounds, get that promotion, find a partner, or otherwise change something about ourselves or our life circumstances? When I find myself getting into a rut of focusing on the future rather than remembering that, as Dan Millman said, "The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination," I turn to this mantra. It's not about the target, but the path. "As I Am" is a lot like "Right Here Now," but more helpful, I find, on those days when I need to remember that it's not just this moment which is the focus, but the me I am right now is perfect (or perfectly imperfect!) for the task at hand. Accepting ourselves is an important part of finding greater happiness, and so "As I Am" is the perfect mantra to help that acceptance along.
Don't miss your happier boost!
Subscribe to our weekly email to get practical tips and inspiration to help you feel more joyful and resilient.