Affirmation vs. Mantra: What's the difference? – Ruju Affirmations

Affirmation vs. Mantra: What's the difference?

Many people interchange the words "mantra" and "affirmation". They are similar in the fact that they are both used for mindfulness practices, but they are actually quite a bit different. Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself to empower and motivate yourself. Mantras, on the other hand, are often repeated phrases or words that help to focus the mind and can be used as part of meditation.

Ruju Affirmation Mantra Blog Image

Both of these methods can help achieve goals and improve your overall well-being, but it is important to use them in the right way for maximum benefit.

The similarities between affirmations and mantras lie in their ability to provide a focused state of mind by repeating short phrases or words over time. The differences mainly come down to what each type of phrase/word does for you--affirmations tend more towards being empowering or motivating, while mantras are used for meditation and relaxing/waking up the mind.


Ruju Affirmation Blog Image

What are affirmations?

Positive affirmations are a great way to help change your thoughts and beliefs about your life, which in turn can help you create a life you love.

Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself to empower and motivate yourself. They can be affirmations of your identity ("I am strong"), affirmations about your forthcoming tasks ("I am confident and articulate during interviews"), or affirmations about your present feelings ("I am full of courage"). The affirmations you choose are important - they need to be tailored specifically for you!

Affirmations can be helpful in many ways. First, affirmations help to create and maintain a positive mindset, which can lead to better overall health and well-being. Affirmations can also help you to stay focused on your goals. When you are focused on what you want to achieve, it is easier to take the steps necessary to get there. Additionally, affirmations can be used to change negative thoughts and beliefs into positive ones. If you have been struggling with self-confidence or self-esteem issues, affirmations can be a powerful tool for change.

How to use affirmations

The best way to get started with affirmations is actually to do an evaluation of your current mindset and identify limiting beliefs. (See "How to Incorporate Affirmations in your Life" for a detailed exercise!) Once you've identified existing negative thought patterns on specific topics, replace these statements with positive, affirming phrases to "re-wire" these reoccurring thoughts. Keep in mind that affirmations work best when they are stated as facts, perhaps even as if they occurred in the past.

Examples of this include:

Incorporate this list of positive affirmations in your daily mindfulness practices. Many people like to repeat or write down their base affirmations during their morning and evening routines to keep their mind in a positive state throughout the day and even before bed.

If you are new to affirmations, check out our Power of Positive Affirmations blog post here.


Ruju Affirmation Mantra Blog Image 2

What are mantras?

The word 'mantra' comes from the Sanskrit words ‘Man’ (mind) and ‘tra’ (transport). Mantras are often repeated phrases, words or sounds that help to focus the mind and can be used as part of meditation. They are meant to facilitate a powerful vibration that your mind will 'ride' into a deep state of meditation. Mantra and its practice are part of ancient Vedic tradition and are often seen as spiritual tools that can help you to connect with your inner self and achieve enlightenment. Mantras can be in any language, and you can use any word or phrase that has personal meaning for you.

How to use mantras

Mantras can be used in several ways, but the most common way is to recite them while you are meditating. This can help you to focus your mind and achieve a state of mindfulness.

There are several traditional Sanskrit mantras you can use to start your mantra practice, the most common one being "Om (ohm)", the focus of which is an acknowledgement of connection between all beings. As the sacred sound of Hinduism, Om is said to be the sound born when the Universe was created, and its vibration is said to be our link to creation itself. Using Sanskrit mantras will help your mind focus on the positive vibration facilitated during your meditation rather than the rational meaning of the mantra.

You can also create your own mantras based on what is meaningful to you. In this case, your mantra can be an affirmation. There are many methods to identify your own mantra, you first need to identify what you desire and what is important to you.

Start your mantra affirmation with words like:

  • I am ______________ (whole, peaceful, fearless, enough, etc) or
  • Be ____ (yourseful, joyful, grateful, peaceful, etc)

and you will find affirmations that resonate with you. Be positive and present-focused. 

Mantras can also be combined with physical mudras (single points of focus) to bring your mind and body into alignment. Try this simple mudra + mantra exercise explained by Gabby Bernstein here.

You might want to try out a few different mantras before finding the one that feels right for you. There is no wrong or right mantra, so trust your intuition when it comes to choosing. The most important thing is that the mantra feels authentic and meaningful to you.


Ruju Affirmation Mantra Blog Image 3 Woman Jumping with Joy

The benefits of affirmations and mantras for mental health, well-being, and self-improvement

Affirmations and mantras are both powerful tools that can be used to improve mental health, cultivate feelings of peace and fulfillment, achieve goals, and boost self-esteem. They work by helping you focus your thoughts on positive statements about yourself and/or the world, which can have a ripple effect on every area of your life.

Some of the benefits of using affirmations and mantras include:

  • Affirmations help to focus the mind and keep you in a positive state of mind, helpful in managing stress and improving overall mental health.
  • Mantras can help you to connect with your inner self and achieve enlightenment.
  • Affirmations can help to empower and motivate you to achieve your goals.
  • Mantras can help to manage stress and promote relaxation.
  • Both affirmations and mantras can be beneficial in improving self-esteem and confidence.
  • Mantras can help you to manage your attention and connect with a deeper part of yourself.

Affirmations and mantras are similar in that they can help you focus your attention by repeating short phrases or words over time. The primary distinction is what each type of phrase/word does for you, with affirmations tending to be more empowering or inspiring, while mantras being used for meditation and relaxing/awakening the mind.

Both positive affirmations and meditative mantras are great practices in creating and maintaining a mindful life. Tell us in the comments: do you use affirmations or mantras, or both? What effect have they had on your life?

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published