Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/1/2022
If you are one of more than 40 million American adults that are affected by an anxiety disorder, you know just how severely it can impact your everyday life. There are many ways you can deal with negative emotions, take care of your emotional health and seek out anxiety relief. While therapy and medication are very common treatments, you can also use relaxation techniques like mantras for anxiety or things like trying yoga and mindfulness meditation on for size.
Today, we’re going to focus more on words — specifically, positive affirmations and mantras.
But what are these and, more specifically, is there a specific mantra for anxiety that really works? Keep reading to find out.
Before understanding how mantras for anxiety may work, you need to have a good grasp on anxiety and how it manifests.
While everyone experiences stress or nerves every once in a while, if you find that those feelings seem more constant, you may have an anxiety disorder.
One of the most common anxiety disorders is called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). If you feel like you are navigating anxiety more than not over a period of six or more months, you may have GAD.
There are many symptoms associated with GAD — and not every person experiences every symptom. Some of the symptoms include a fast heart rate, fatigue, irritability, sleep issues, stomach problems and more.
There are four other commonly recognized anxiety disorders. They include:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Marked by obsessive or compulsive rituals or behaviors (checking the locks, washing hands, wiping down the counter, etc.), OCD is another type of anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety disorder: You may also know this as social phobia. People with this tend to get overwhelmed in social settings. This can mean anything from a deep fear of public speaking or feeling uneasy in groups of people.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Surviving a traumatic event (like an assault, military service or natural disaster) can lead to the development of PTSD.
Panic disorder: Panic disorder may involve things like shortness of breath to heart palpitations andpanic attacks (sometimes called anxiety attacks) — all are signs of this anxiety disorder.
For an official diagnosis of any of these anxiety disorders, you will need to consult with a healthcare professional. They will assess your symptoms of anxiety and from there, you’ll discuss treatment to calm your anxious mind.
Mantras are often called positive affirmations. They are sentences or sentiments that can be said in your head, written down or repeated out loud.
The idea is that they can boost your mood or help you feel a certain way. Many say that they can help you overcome negative thoughts.
One thing to know: The goal of positive affirmations shouldn’t be to deny reality or be fake.
Saying something like, “Everything is fantastic” while you are going through the hardest time of your life, isn’t going to be helpful. However, saying something like, “You can handle what comes your way” may.
People use mantras for a variety of things — boosting confidence, feeling good, finding hope, staying motivated and more. Another thing some people say that positive affirmations can help with is anxiety.
And there’s some research out there to back these claims.
In one study, people with GAD were asked to make positive affirmations for a month. At the end of this time, the participants reported significantly less worry.
When you feel anxiety coming on, don’t ignore it. Instead, look at it as the perfect time to use a mantra.
Rather than spiraling in the negativity of anxiety, try to reframe it in a positive direction. For example, say you are starting a new job and have anxiety around stepping into a new position. Repeat to yourself, “They hired me for a reason.” Reminding yourself that you were wanted in the job can help you feel a lot better.
As noted above, it’s also important to keep your affirmations realistic. In fact, if you repeat unrealistic mantras, you may make your anxiety worse. All of this is to say, if you’re in the middle of a panic attack, try saying “I can get through this” rather than “Nothing is wrong.”
It may be helpful for you to have a few anxiety-related positive affirmations in your back pocket to pull out anytime you’re feeling stressed or nervous. Some mantras that could help include:
“I can get through this”
“I’ve experienced anxiety before and lived through it — I can do it again.”
“I’m going to focus on the things that make me happy to get through this.”
“I have a lot of wonderful things in my life, this is just a passing moment.”
These are just examples. You should feel free to create affirmations that feel specific to you and your circumstances and that can help you during a difficult time.
Anxiety disorders affect a large number of people in the United States. And while medication and therapy are common treatment options, you can supplement these things with another mental health skill — positive affirmations.
By repeating a mantra in your day to day life anytime you feel anxious, you can reframe a negative mindset and alleviate some of your anxiety.
If you’d like to explore all available treatment options for anxiety or want help figuring out what mantras for stress could work for you, consider scheduling an online consultation with a mental health professional.