Tap into Your Inner Strengths With the Power of Mantras

The Power of Mantra
Borrow from the meditation toolbox of the ancients and bring the power of the mantra to your own practice.
If you've ever been to a yoga class that culminated in Om chants, you've used a mantra. Meant as a way to increase life energy, increase personal power and calm the mind, mantras have been in use for thousands of years as part of Hindu and Buddhist meditation.
There are many mantras throughout Eastern religious texts, but you can even make up your own. The repetition of the syllables, whether they are actual words or not, can enhance your meditation by aurally stimulating your chakras and producing vibrations that help stir up your energies.
Om
om symbol
The most famous mantra is Om, the root of all mantras and the primordial vibrational manifestation of Brahma. Pronounced correctly, the mouth begins in an open, round shape and gradually closes like an iris to produce the buzzing "mmmm" sound at the end. The open "ooohhh" sound sends a short blast of vibration into the external space, and the electric "mmmm" sound retains the vibrations inside. The "ooohhh" sound is usually a single count, while the "mmmm" sound is sustained as long as the breath holds out.

Om is not a shortened version of Om mani padme hum, contrary to popular belief. Om is an ancient Hindu mantra, while Om mani padme hum is a Tibetan Buddhist mantra associated with the Dalai Lama and popularized in the U.S. during the 1970s. Om mani padme hum is an effective mantra in its own right, used as a chant for compassion, but it is not the root of all mantras like the original Om.
Gods and Goddesses
Goddesses Durga
Mantras can also be used to commune with a particular deity during your meditation session. Both Hindu and Buddhist mantras feature specific chants said to connect with a particular deity/aspect.

Om Namah Shivayah is the chant to Shiva, and Om Namo Narayanaya is the chant for Vishnu. All of the major Hindu gods and goddesses have their own mantras, so consult the Lakshmi Tantra, Parasurama Kalpa Sutra and Prapanchasara for specific chants.
Prayers
Woman praying
The Hindus also have longer mantras that work more like prayers. They are chanted in the same monotone, measured voice, but they are directed more specifically toward an action rather than a deity. A good general purpose example is as follows:

Sarveśām Svastir Bhavatu / Sarveśām Sāntir Bhavatu / Sarveśām Pūrnam Bhavatu / Sarveśām Mangalam Bhavatu
Or,
May good befall all, / May there be peace for all / May all be fit for perfection, / May all experience that which is auspicious.
Deity Aspect
Buddha
In Tibetan Buddhism, Buddha is all - simply represented in different aspects rather than entirely separate deities. As such, the salutation-type mantras of Buddhism are all addressed to Buddha, but zone in more specifically on whichever aspect you are hoping to reach.

Om wagishwari hum honors Buddha's wisdom aspect, and the aforementioned Om mani padme hum honors his compassion aspect. There is a mantra for each aspect of Buddha, plus the most important figures in Buddhism, so consult your favorite Buddhist Sutra. Om tare tuttare ture svaha is a chant to the Mother of Buddhas, and is considered one of the world's most powerful chants, possessing tremendous purifying and healing properties.
Create Your Own
Beautiful young woman doing yoga exercise
If established mantras leave you cold, feel free to make up your own. After all, a mantra can only be effective if it connects with you on a very basic level. When planning your new mantra, it may be best to just play around with sounds until you hit on something that produces vibrations that move you - they don't even have to be words at all. What matters is the intent and the vibration, because those are the things that affect the chakras.
Don't make the mistake of turning mantras into wish-fulfillment. Don't just recite your goals to yourself over and over - that would be an affirmation, not a mantra. Although affirmations can be useful in building confidence and reinforcing willpower, they won't have a deeper, more meaningful effect because stringing words together into a sentence rarely creates the textural feel of the sound necessary to assist meditation.