The idea of positive self-talk and the declarative statements that many people call “affirmations” have been around for a long time. Maybe you’ve even tried them yourself, but without much luck. I was in the same boat until recently, when I discovered one imperative wrinkle in the practice that changed everything for me (including my life). What I didn’t understand before was this: The key to an effective affirmation – or what I like to call a mantra – is not the words themselves, but how they make you feel. To be effective, a mantra has to make you feel good when you say it.