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The Power of Repeated Words
If words shape reality, then repeated words often create the behavior itself. The power of repeated words, via our inner voice, has been known for centuries to have a profound impact on the mind. Words can help calm the mind and body and direct action. Whatever we think, we do.
In Eastern cultures, a repeated sound, word, or expression is thought to support the mind and potentially serve as a potent source of well-being. The mystical hymn of the mantra is often melodic and used as a spiritual tool in nearly every religious tradition.
In Western cultures, the idea of sustained repetition of a word or expression is thought to lift the spirits and guide action. With practice, it can help performers gain power over what they think and attend to.
Because any competitive performance can be severely diminished by negative thoughts or anxiety, it is common for top performers to harness the power of repeated words and expressions to interrupt the tendency for the mind to wander into dangerous territory.
Repeating a positive word or expression, especially during performance, not only shuts out negative thoughts, but also gives the mind a boost and a feeling of buoyancy. Repeated affirmations, such as “I am strong and resilient” or “I trust the process,” direct the mind to act accordingly. Positive words, such as “Patience,” “Calm,” “Courage,” or “Balance,” have the same impact when repeated frequently.
In truth, any word or expression that is positive, not mechanical (directing action, such as “Turn your hips”), and repeated in a consistent stream with the inner voice can have a profound impact. The mind works in mysterious ways. It aligns words and thoughts and reflects them in action.
Finding the word or expression that works best for you is a matter of preference. Once you land on one, stick with it and let it work its magic. No wonder, in some cultures, mantras were passed as secrets from one generation to the next.
Repeated words and expressions provide the comfort and confidence necessary for sustained performance. If thinking is a mixture of words, images, expressions, and sensations, then selecting some of them on purpose is a powerful thing to do. We act in accordance with what we repeatedly say to ourselves. Choose what you say to yourself carefully.