I have found chanting sanskrit chants to be very transformative. I think ideally you should chant them out loud for as long as you feel like doing it, whether that’s for 5 minutes or 30 minutes and traditionally you say the same chant for 40 days. If you forget a day, you start again with Day 1. What happens is that you become comfortable with the chant and begin to say it in the shower, doing the dishes, cleaning the floors, etc.(daily life activities practice) and then you can transfer it over to when you are in a situation where you catch yourself getting angry or frustrated with your significant other, your children, your co-workers, etc. You catch yourself getting angry or frustrated, inevitably take a deeper breath, and your brain switches to your chant and it reminds you that you are a spiritual person on this earth and that the disagreement is not that big of a deal and therein lies the inner peace. Of course I don’t catch myself all of the time. But I’d rather chant to myself “Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha” (sounds like “Om gum guh-nuh-puh-tuh-yei nahm-ah-ha”) than say something I will regret later.
Just try it for 40 days; you have nothing to lose. Thomas Ashley-Farrand has written numerous books on mantras (Healing Mantras and Chakra Mantras are two of them or see his website www.sanskritmantra.com and here it lists how mantras work and here lists some simple mantras if you’re just starting out and goes into more specific details). He lists different mantras and their meanings. The one listed above, Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha, is for clearing obstacles, possibly obstacles like cake, shopping, beer–hmm, well, maybe those aren’t obstacles, maybe they are for you, maybe they aren’t. There is something magical and mystical and cutting of cords and threads in chanting, but it is also very personal. There are mantras for physical healing, being more spiritual, finding love,healing fear, as well as issues with anger, abundance,prosperity, karma, inner strength, peace…Listen to what your gut or inner guidance says feels right and set your intention (i.e. why you are doing the chant) for the next 40 days. Good luck, namaste, and many blessings!******
(**Note: I have a few of Thomas Ashley-Farrand’s books but have never met him and do not have any relationship with his organization. I am sharing information because I have found sacred sanskrit mantras to be hugely transforming in my own life.)