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The Story Behind the Mantra: Take one day at a time

Posted: by Jo Tuesday, 25 August 2020 @ 04:51

One of our recent disc necklaces shows the sun rising over the sea, as it does every day, without fail. It is a line drawing of the waves of the sea, with the sun coming up in the morning. Whatever happens in our lives, the sun always rises, heralding a new day.

When life feels hard, or we have been dealt a tough hand to cope with, we all need a message of hope to keep us going. 

We chose the sun rising as a symbol to remind us that after the darkness comes the morning. The sunrise also brings us into the present, the here and now – the sun rising is a symbol of today. 

We designed the necklace to represent the mantra, ‘Take one day at a time’, which asks us to focus on the here and now, and not look into the future. This is the best way to hold onto peace of mind: because no one knows what the future holds, but we can all make the most of today.

one day at a time mantra

There is a phrase quoted by the legendary Dale Carnegie, in his seminal book, ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’, about living in ‘day-tight compartments’. I find this particularly helpful, as it is about finding peace of mind by stopping yourself from fretting about the past, or worrying about the future, and focusing your attention purely on today.

This ‘one day at a time’ philosophy is most often associated with 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. An AA participant does not worry about staying sober for the rest of their life: instead, they only have to make it through the next 24 hours. Thinking in terms of one minute, one hour, one day at a time has helped many people struggling with addiction to do the next right thing, in that moment. 

Trying to deal with all of life’s problems at one time is overwhelming. It makes much more sense to simply deal with today’s problems, as tomorrow’s battles can be worried about when the time comes.

Also, many of the things that we worry about in the future never actually happen. People are therefore stressing themselves and worrying about these events unnecessarily. Staying focused on the present is a powerful way to avoid unnecessary worry.

So - use this necklace to remind you to stay grounded in the present moment, coping with today’s events, not tomorrow’s.

When we created it, we also intended the message to be relevant to people going through serious illness, or treatment. I often get asked which mantra I would recommend in such circumstances, when a friend or loved one wants to give a message of support. I think this is a powerful one.

It also works well as a gift to yourself or a loved one to support your journey into sobriety or recovery, as you make an hourly and daily decision to do the right thing. 

A mantra is not a magic incantation or spell: it can’t change what happens to us in life. But it can absolutely help us to change our attitude and outlook towards what is happening to us, to help us be more positive, more resilient, more patient, or more accepting. Hold onto it through the day and say the mantra to yourself, as an instruction to bring you back to today. Take one day at a time. 


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