Master Your Mind with Mantra

Have you ever caught yourself thinking something negative over and over again and thought, “Why am I saying that to myself?” What if you could take that same unconscious, unhelpful looping pattern and turn it into a conscious, positive, self-help habit? Welcome to the world of mantra! 

A mantra is a word, phrase, or sound that is repeated either aloud or silently to focus the mind. The word mantra means “mind tool” and comes from Sanskrit, the oldest surviving language in the Indo-European language family. Using a mantra helps to regulate the nervous system and cultivates clarity and calm while improving concentration. Who among us in the legal field couldn’t use a bit more of that? 

While many religions and spiritual practices use mantras as a form of prayer, mantras can also be used as a secular practice to focus the mind. When I first started mantra meditation, I asked my teacher if it was ok to use mantras while cleaning the kitchen or taking a walk (not just while doing a seated meditation). She said, “Try it and tell me what happens.” I did, and found that using a mantra to interrupt rumination any time I noticed it had a positive effect on my mindset and my mood. When I reported back, my teacher said, “Exactly.” 

The most simple of mantras is “Om,” which is considered to be the primordial sound of the universe. If you’ve gone to a yoga class, you’ve likely heard it chanted at the beginning or end of class. If “Om” doesn’t resonate with you, you can create a mantra in any language you like, with any meaning that works for you. For example, “I can. I can. I can.” if you need a confidence-booster. Or “I am calming. I am calming. I am calming.” if you feel anxious. For added nervous system benefit, connect your mantra to your breath. For example, inhaling while silently repeating “I am,” then exhaling while silently repeating “calming.” 

There are copious suggestions–and more in depth information–on the web about mantras and how to use them. I encourage you to try it for yourself and see what you think…or stop thinking!

Laura Mahr is a North Carolina and Oregon lawyer and the founder of Conscious Legal Minds LLC, providing well-being consulting, training, and resilience coaching for attorneys and law offices nationwide. Through the lens of neurobiology, Laura helps build strong leaders, happy lawyers, and effective teams. Her work is informed by 13 years of practice as a civil sexual assault attorney, 25 years as a teacher and student of mindfulness and yoga, and seven years studying neurobiology and neuropsychology with clinical pioneers. Find out more about Laura’s new course, “How to Rock Your World: Five Tools to Get Grounded When the World Feels Rocky” by contacting Laura at

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