Wisdom//

17 Positive Mantras That Will Make You Feel Powerful — Even on a Bad Day

“No one can take your joy.”

Coutesy of GPritchettPhoto / Shutterstock
Coutesy of GPritchettPhoto / Shutterstock

We all have those instances when frustration, stress, or negative rumination threaten to ruin our day — and it’s up to us to course correct and reclaim our mood and productivity. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple positive mantra to act as that little reminder that everything will be OK. 

Like with meditation, there is plenty of research to back up the power of a mantra on our bodies and minds. According to one 2015 study, mantras can be effective even if people don’t regularly meditate. The research found that when someone repeats a mantra, it causes a major shift in their brain activity — specifically in the part responsible for internal evaluation, rumination, and mind-wandering. When researchers compared results between participants in a resting state who used a mantra against those that didn’t, the ones utilizing the mantra reached a more advanced state of psychological calm.

We asked members of the Thrive community to share the thoughts or mantras that help them stay positive, even on a bad day. From phrases they created themselves to age-old sayings that have spread happiness for years, their positive words have helped them overcome stress and anxiety, and will help you, too.

“Everything happens right on schedule.”

“It’s the one mantra I cling to as I watch life unfold around me in strange and beautiful ways. I can resist or I can flow, and either way, this mantra remains in place.”

—Lois Melkonian, life coach, Denver, CO 

“Things are not being done to me, they are just happening.”

“When I am having a bad day I tell myself this. When something is going wrong, many of us think someone is doing it to us, but sometimes we’re just victims of circumstance. Instead of rolling up in a ball and letting the negativity get to you, you need to realize that things just happen and deal with it. It’s like anything in life — you have to decide to either make the most of something or make the worst of it. We all know which decision would leave us happier at the end of the day.” 

—James Philip, serial entrepreneur, Chicago, IL 

“Remember who you are.”

“I have discovered that the shorter the mantra, the more easily accessible it is. Mantra is most beneficial when you are able to remember it when you need it. Stephen Hyde is a pro cyclist who shared this mantra in his documentary film, Mindful: Stephen Hyde. It is short, sweet, and effective. I have personally connected to it and really enjoyed sharing it with others.”

—Julie Westervelt, yoga teacher and founder, Austin, TX 

“It will get done.”

“When my plate is full — which is most of the time — I tell myself this. I remind myself I am fully equipped to do all that I want to accomplish. Nothing will stop me from achieving my goals. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you are all the motivation you need to keep going.” 

—Marla J. Albertie, life and career coach, Jacksonville, FL

“Your way in is your way out.” 

“This mantra helps me not only stay positive, but also realize that I have the power to manage things without external validation. Business issue to solve? I’ll dive in to jump out. Heartbreak to go through? I’ll work to understand the lesson and search for answers inside, trust my gut, and learn how to sit on it and accept it. To me, this mantra is as simple as breathing — to breathe out you shall first to breathe in.” 

—Alla Adam, blockchain solutions architect, Chicago, IL 

“Love the life you have.” 

“I make a mental gratitude list and I say this to myself. At 69 years old and after 35 years as a psychologist, I recognize that appreciation and gratitude water the different aspects of our lives, and what we water and feed grows. So, I try to feel positive and appreciative, and observe the types of experiences I want to expand and grow in my life.”

—Tian Dayton, Ph.D., author and psychologist, New York, NY 

“Nothing lasts forever. Not the good, and not the bad.”

“I repeat this mantra not only during stressful times to lower my stress levels, but also during good times as a reminder to live in the moment.” 

—Sonia Ruivo, marketing consultant, Montreal, Canada 

“No one can take your joy.” 

“Mantras are a magical meditative vehicle to occupy our conscious mind and allow our subconscious to connect to our universal truth. This one mantra helps me keep buoyant amidst life’s tumultuous waves. Once you tap into the understanding that what we feel is ours, independent of the surrounding circumstances, we can reclaim the omnipotent power of which we are all capable — to feel, manifest, and live all that what we desire.” 

—Polo Reo Tate, author, artist, and speaker, New York, NY 

“You are a smart, powerful woman. You’ve got this.”

“I have a sticky note that says this on my bathroom mirror and I read it out loud to myself every morning before work. This mantra has helped me through many difficult times when I felt that I was completely out of my realm. The more I have looked myself straight in the eye and repeated these words, the more confident I have become.”

—Carrie McEachran, executive director, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada 

“Happiness is a choice, not a condition. I choose to be happy.”

“This mantra I, like many others, have suffered loss. At 40 years old, I lost my husband to an infection after a ‘routine’ surgical procedure. I was convinced I could never be happy again. In grief counseling, I learned that meditation might help me find peace. Meditating helped me discover that while I could not control feelings of sadness brought on by random memories, I could in fact, choose to be happy whenever I wanted to feel stronger. I found peace after all. Today, I allow myself to feel sad and I don’t judge that feeling or worry about any long term effects from it. I know that I can choose to be happy again.” 

—Raina Casbon-Kelts, chief experience office, New Orleans, LA 

“I step into my power regardless of what anyone else thinks.”

“This is one of my favorite mantras, even though I have a few! This mantra helps me win the war against the inner gremlins that try to shame me into hiding my gifts. It also empowers me to emit the light I feel compelled to shine. Since I do a lot of writing as a healer and coach, and am finishing up a memoir, this mantra is with me everyday. I feel a wave of courage each time I say it.” 

—Miriam Racquel (Meryl) Feldman, somatic healing, Chicago, IL

“Tomorrow is a new day.”

“This mantra that has seen me through many bad days. It serves as a simple reminder that ‘this too shall pass’ and a new day will bring new opportunities. It keeps the hope and light alive. It also reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara and her fortitude from the classic novel Gone with the Wind.

—Gia Ganesh, people and culture lead, Atlanta, GA 

“OK, next point.”

“I have received many mantras from meditation masters and enjoy them all. However, I created ‘next point’ as my signature everyday mantra. And It works every time. When I want to instantly shift my state from stress to serenity I say it to myself. It not only works for me — it also works for anyone I’m with in that moment. This mantra came about when I was taking tennis lessons; whenever I missed the ball, I would groan and grimace. My coach said to me, ‘Dianne, don’t have a mini-depression every time you miss the ball. Put your racket back, wait for the next ball, and swing!’ To me that meant: ‘OK, next point. Move to the next moment, Dianne. Every moment is fresh and new.’” 

—Dianne Collins, author and philosopher, Miami, FL 

“Inhale, exhale.”

“Repeating this phrase does two things: It reminds me to take deeper breaths and recognize that all energy is about circulation. Shallow breathing is often a negative impact of stress. Pulling in more oxygen creates more energy and allows you to release more toxins. You also cannot breathe in without breathing out and vice versa. This mantra helps ensure that I breathe in (receive support or help) and breathe out (take action or give support).”

—Beth Larsen, high performance and happiness coach, New York, NY 

“It’s all good!”

“I say this all day long with a smile on my face.” 

—Esma Deljanin, human resources manager, Westbury, NY

“I choose love.”

“This one simple mantra eases my heart, mind, and soul almost immediately, which still surprises me because it is, again, quite simple. My childhood is one of those that can be described as ‘complex trauma.’ Complex trauma can leave one with ‘scars’ of fear and self-loathing, yet I have learned that love saves and heals all. When I remind myself that ‘I choose love’ — and I might have to say it a few times for it to sink in — the fear, self-loathing, and negative thoughts that seem to overtake me lose their power and I am, instead, awash with love.” 

—Lisa Kohn, author, Wayne, PA 

“I am calm, cared for, and connected.” 

“My meditation teacher created this mantra for me as I prepared to visit my mother’s house for the first time after her death. I didn’t know if I could do what needed to be done, but these words were what I needed to regain my strength. They helped me through many difficult days, and  today when faced with stress, anxiety, or sadness, this is the mantra I still repeat to myself.” 

—Margaret Meloni, Ph.D., author, Long Beach, CA 

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