9 Mood-Boosting Mantras You Can Say While Washing Your Hand

The CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, and doing so before, during, and after food prep, after using the restroom, after entering the home, after interacting with others, and so on. That’s a lot of time spent at the sink. By now you’ve probably heard the standard counting techniques: singing happy birthday twice or running through the alphabet. Perhaps helpful for kids, but not so inspiring for adults, no? You could also simply count out the 20 seconds, but that also seems like a wasted opportunity.

Instead, take a page from mantra meditation. “The practice of mantra meditation utilizes the silent repetition of a word or phrase as the point of focus to help hone a more focused awareness. It aids in the slowing down of mental activity and thought,” writes meditation teacher Megan Monahan. Here, we should note that a hand washing routine is certainly not the same as a proper mantra meditation practice. That requires you to adopt a more thorough approach—read our beginner’s guide on mantra meditation here—but repeating a thoughtful phrase to yourself throughout the day is a worthwhile endeavor regardless. And if you find yourself enjoying the routine? Well, take it as a cue that mantra meditation may be for you. 

Mantras, too, have a long history of use in mindfulness practices—outside of meditation. Several experts encourage adopting mantras as a tool to help a variety of woes in modern life: There are mantras to help guide your purpose, pull yourself out of negative self-talk, and ground yourself in times of increased stress

For some mantra inspiration, here are some phrases—from various experts like author Belinda Anderson and physician Lissa Rankin, M.D.—you can say while washing your hands. How slow you say these phrases will adjust the amount you actually say them, but we included a safe range to get you over the 20 second benchmark. 

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