Have you ever walked into a Buddhist Pagoda, a temple, or a place where people regularly chant, and felt an indescribable peace that arrests your mind that very second? No matter what problems your mind was roiled in, when you entered you were immediately able to delink your mind from the worries that seemed to be out of control?
Anxiety manifests in different ways for different people. It can be in the form of constant irrational thoughts about something you dread, or it can be overanalyzing and overthinking the smallest events or conversations from the day, and sometimes even from the past. Anxiety and depression can severely cripple one’s ability to lead a normal life by introducing doubt, creating irrational fears, and attacking self-confidence.
The Role of Prana in Anxiety
According to many spiritual masters and healers, the root of anxiety lies in what is called prana (chi or life force). When prana is low, one feels sad, low, and all sorts of negative emotions. But when prana drops further, one starts feeling stuck in life, stuck in the body, and stuck in their current circumstances—though it may be hard to tell this from the outside, or even from a cursory mental health examination. When one’s prana remains low for months—or years—life begins to seem meaningless and burdensome.
Interventions like working out, a specific high prana diet, and meditation and breathing practices can quickly increase the prana levels. Also, listening and absorbing spiritual wisdom offered by enlightened masters can bring a wider perspective and ability to understand and accept flaws in situations and impermanence of what seems to be a long miserable phase of life.
Knowledge helps us understand the difference between pain and suffering; and that pain can be accepted without actually suffering. Think about times when you are able to dissociate yourself from physical pain because you were too involved in watching a film or listening to music. The phenomenon works with mental discomfort as well—all we need to do is learn to dissociate ourselves with the pain. Holding on to thoughts and words can cause anxiety. Making room for imperfections and letting go of little things can go a long way in winning over anxiety. But it is easier said than done, right? Sometimes, no amount of affirmations seem to work. Here is where healing mantras can be an effective tool to dissociate your mind from the pain and anxiety and increase your prana.
What does research say about the mental health benefits of chanting?
A 2016 study done by professors from Macquarie University found that chanting ‘Om’ for 10 minutes increased attention span, uplifted mood, and bolstered social connectedness.
Another study published in American Journal of Psychiatry in 2018 suggested mantra repetition was effective in treating anxiety and depression symptoms in veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mantras : Transcending the Mind
Mantras are ancient, energizing sounds that help uplift the consciousness. ‘Mana’ in Sanskrit translates to mind; a mantra is what takes you beyond the mind. Mantras are sacred and hold immense power. They should be chanted or listened to with reverence. The ether element nourishes the mind and mantras enrich the ether element. When chanted in the right way, mantras have a very powerful effect on the health as well as the environment, because the positive vibrations produced by these mantras stick around for a long time. When you walk into a room where regular chanting is done, you will unfailingly experience deep peace and quiet.
When we chant a mantra, our mind should become the mantra—it should be immersed in that mantra. When the mind takes the form of the mantra that we repeat, its effects are beyond what logic and intellect can provide. Even listening to mantra chanting is effective in bringing peace and balance to the mind and health.
The following are some mantras that are extremely effective in healing anxiety and depression.
Om Namah Shivaya
Om is called anahat naad (un-struck sound). Om is called the primordial sound of the creation that continues to be. The frequency of Om is the frequency of being—it is the unmanifest that is present in the manifest creation. Na-Mah-Shi-Va-Ya; the five letters stand for the five elements of earth, water, fire, ether, and air and also the five senses that are associated with each of the five elements—touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell. This mantra is very powerful and effective in bringing balance to mind and in countering all the negativity one faces in life in addition to balancing all kinds of planetary imperfections. Chanting this mantra with attention and reverence helps one easily enter a deep meditative state and brings immense relaxation from all the worldly worries.
Om Namo Bhag-Va-Te Va-Su-De-Vaya
This 12-syllable mantra is hailed as the hymn of liberation for its effectiveness in liberating one from worldly concerns. It not only brings relief from problems like anxiety and depression, but also improves overall health and longevity.
Shanti means peace in Sanskrit. You may have heard the mantra ‘Om shantih shantih shantih’ after meditation or other spiritual sessions and have felt peace permeating your being. People suffering from anxiety often dread situations which are far-fetched and unreal. Chanting Om shantih shantih shantih three times brings peace and harmony to at all levels—the physical level, metaphysical level, and the causal level. The shanti mantras bring peace not only to our mind but to the entire universe. Their beautiful ability to pacify and relax the mind and environment also makes them an effective cure for insomnia.
The Universal Shanti Mantra
This powerful shanti mantra brings peace not only inside our heart and mind but in the entire universe.
Om dyauh shantir-antariksham shantih
May peace and harmony prevail in the entire sky as in the entire ethereal space.
Prithvi shantir-aapah shantir-aushadhayah shantih
May peace and harmony be there on this earth and in water and in the herbs and creepers.
May peace prevail in the flora and fauna and in the entire universe.
Sarvam shantih-shantir-eva shantih Sa-ma-shantir-edhi
May peace and harmony prevail everywhere.
Shanti Mantra for Seeking the Truth
This mantra helps overcome anxiety and depression by helping one grow beyond little worries and look at the bigger truth.
Om asto ma sadgamaya
Take us from the world of illusion towards the truth.
Tamso ma jyotirgamaya
Take us from darkness towards the light;
Mrityorma amritam gamaya
Take us from the world of mortality towards the truth which is immortal.
Om shantih shantih shantih
Let there be peace peace peace!
Shanti Mantra for Growth and Humanity
Om sah naav-vatu
Together let us just be
Sah nau bhunaktu
Together let us enjoy this world
Sah Viryam karva-vahe
Together let us grow in strength
Tejasvi naav dhi-tam-astu
Together let us shine bright
Let us not have any hatred or ill feelings for each other.
Om shantih shantih shantih
Let there be peace!
Tanno Rudrah Prachodayat
Through this mantra, one asks the divine for blessings in the form of wisdom, knowledge, and sharp intellect. Chanting this mantra eases stress and fear and illuminates our heart and mind. Regular chanting of this auspicious mantra also sharpens our intuition and thus helps us avoid any unfortunate situations in life.
Om Mani Padme Hum
The mantra translates to ‘praise be to the jewel of the lotus.’ This mantra chanted by Tibetan Buddhists is said to produce compassion and kindness in our hearts while alleviating stress and anxiety. Just reading the mantra is also known to help immensely.
Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
Considered one of the most powerful mantras, many seekers have experienced the intense effects of this liberating mantra. ‘Mrityu’ in Sanskrit means death and ‘jay’ means victory. This mantra takes the consciousness of the person chanting it, beyond the limitedness of this body and life on the planet, and opens up one’s mind to the eternal nature of life. Being very sacred and powerful it is essential that this mantra be chanted only in a clean environment and with all reverence and correct pronunciations.
If you feel you cannot chant this mantra correctly, just listening to the chants of this mantra with all the attention will also be equally effective. In addition to rectifying planetary imperfections, this mantra brings victory over all kinds of fear, anxiety, stress, health issues and unfavorable circumstances and fills one with vigor and valor. Listening to this mantra chanting brings immense peace and relaxation to the mind.