Repeating a positive affirmation, or mantra, can transform the way you think about yourself. Research shows that the habit decreases stress, improves achievement, and lessens your fear of threats. But how do you create a perfect mantra? Everybody is different, so you need to choose one that best fits you.

The most important thing is to use an “I am” statement — your mantra should focus on the present, not the future. Instead of “I will get through this,” for instance, say “I am resilient.” Next, make sure your mantra uses positive language. For example, instead of using the mantra “I am not afraid,” you can say, “I am courageous,” so that the emphasis is on bravery, not fear. Finally, make sure your mantra centers around what makes you tick. Even if you don’t fully believe what you’re saying at first, repeating that phrase on a daily basis hardwires your brain to become accustomed to hearing it, helping you to eventually adopt it as your truth.

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