Definition of Mantra is "Mind Vehicle"
Have you ever felt glum, and then turned on an uplifting song, sung along, and then you feel totally different and refreshed?
Using songs therapeutically has been a huge part of my mental health and personal development journey, and I'm excited to share with you some epic tips for incorporating this in to your life.
The ancient sanskrit mantras we considered "mind vehicles" because they transport your mind and give you something to focus on. Where attention goes, energy flows, so songs of the divine were used to focus the mind on higher ideals.
Lyrics redirect your focus to life's treasures.
Whether you like singing hymns, gospel songs, pop, country, hip-hop, or any other genre with lyrics, you can probably find a handful of songs that resonate with you on a deeper emotional level.
The songs that resonate as "True" for you and move the most emotional energy will be the most powerful for supporting your wellness. You may find different songs work for different purposes depending on what you need to shift your focus to.
I recommend actually singing along and not just listening to the song. If there is a particular phrase of the song that stands out for you, you can just sing that phrase on repeat and ditch the rest of the song.
Sing in the Morning & Make It Your Own
Let's face it, mornings can be hard. That's why the morning is the perfect time to incorporate music and paint a brighter outlook on the day ahead.
This could look like a number of different things like singing along in the car, or while you're making breakfast.
If you have the space and time, I recommend carving out 10-15 minutes and actually playing an instrument while you sing. You could play a buffalo drum, guitar, piano, etc, or you could even just sing the song acapella or clap and stomp.
Accompanying yourself on an instrument engages both hemispheres leading to "hemisphere synchronization", an effect where the brain unifies and works more as a whole with less scattered brainwaves. Who doesn't need that in the mornings?
Another benefit of actually playing the song on an instrument is that you can make it your own. You can slow it down, speed it up, and be more immersed in the flow of the song.
When we sing a song like it's our own,
we give it new life through our unique expression,
and we channel more authenticity through the voice.
List of My Personal Modern Mantras
Here are some of my favorite songs that I actually play in the morning (not every morning) but a lot of mornings!
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
You Gotta Be - Des'ree
Hero - Mariah Carey
More Than Enough - Tubby Love
One Day - Matisyahu
Sunshine - Matisyahu
Shine On - John Cruz
Leaf Off/The Cave - Jose Gonzalez
Angel - Shaggy
Better Together - Jack Johnson
Thank You - Max Ribner
Make Your Own Medicine
Singing a song that already exists is amazing, and to take it a step further, you can come up with your own authentic words and put them to a rhythmic melody to create your own song in the moment. Just make try to get the rhythm and melody to reflect of the authentic feeling of words, and Et voilà, you've just done conscious songwriting and created your own mantra!