After using both words interchangeably for years, I was wondering one day if there was a difference between a mantra and an affirmation. After doing some digging, I found this excellent explanation on yogasigns.com. In a nutshell:
Mantras and affirmations are different. Mantras are sounds that carry a vibration to get you in harmony with the universe. Affirmations are positive statements to help you reprogram your mind. Both of them can help you improve yourself, accept yourself, and achieve your goals.-Yogasigns.com (from their post: Difference Between Mantras and Affirmations)
Simply put, mantras are sounds and affirmations are statements. I’ve found that both are methods capable of getting me out of my head. As in: If I’m in a negative thought spiral that may include but not be limited to, worrying, obsessing, negative self-talk, anxiety tailspins, etc… repeating the empowered words of a clever affirmation or chanting the sacred words of a powerful mantra can downshift me into calm clarity.
Chanting is not as woowoo as you may think. A couple of years ago I was first led to the Vajra Guru Mantra:
OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM
Sound, vibration, statement, sentiment- ALL carry power. ALL can be used to serve you.
It doesn’t matter so much what we call any of the tools that are offered to us for empowerment. What matters is our awareness of just how many methods are available for us to call ON when we need help in getting out of our own way, whether it be mentally or physically.
Don’t question what has the power to pull you from a disempowered place in your head or heart where you’ve wandered unwittingly. Grab on and allow it to aid you.
We’re not alone.
Sometimes we just can’t see what’s reaching out to us because our eyes are shut.
Not that we know it.