furthermore elite

The Instagram Account That Can Help You Find Your Mantra

Cleo Wade on choosing the right words.

A high performance life is, at its core, a balance of physical and mental well-being. But it also entails an appreciation for style, cuisine and culture. To bring this philosophy to life, we collaborated with the game-changers who truly embody that ethos. The result is a unique series of animated GIFs that represent the intersection of lifestyle and science.

Scroll through New York-based poet, artist and speaker Cleo Wade’s Instagram account, and you'll find a voice that isn’t your typical pseudo-spiritual cliché. She uses the app to create messages about self-love, women's empowerment, and positivity—all of which elicit emotional responses from her more than 144,000 followers. The messages—which are being turned into a book of affirmations—read more like mantras, and Wade thinks about them that way, too. "Mantra's help us to combat negative habitual thinking," Wade says. "It's so important to have them in our toolbox of life."

Dina Kaplan, co-founder and president of the New York City meditation studio The Path, agrees and adds that they help you dip into a place of relaxation and calm. "And once you feel more relaxed, you’re able to think more creatively," she says.

The use of mantras can help with productivity, too. If you feel overwhelmed with work, Kaplan advises to find a quiet spot and meditate with a mantra for twenty minutes. “Ironically, you'll get more done in a more efficient way than if you had powered through the work in front of you,” she says. Research backs this up, too. According to one study, participants who silently repeated a word or phrase were able lower levels of anger, stress, depression and anxiety.

But how do you find a mantra that works for you? To get you started, Wade created the original mantra (displayed below) for inspiration. It's the perfect phrase for people who constantly strive to be their best selves, but maybe need to be reminded that change is a good thing. 

"The more you actively you get to know yourself by observing your thoughts and taking note of what you see in the world that interests you, the more your mantra will come to you," Wade says. "You may even observe that you have been working with them all along." 

Next PHIL WINSER: THE SCIENCE BEHIND YOUR FAVORITE MEAL