Reiki is a discipline that sees the practitioner taking control of their own life and accepting responsibility for the circumstances that they have brought upon themselves. More than just a healing art, it is a choice of lifestyle that emphasizes mastership of oneself – to be an example, to make the world a better place.

Every branch of Reiki has a set of 5 Reiki principles, and these are meant to be guidelines by which one can live their life. By following the principles, not only will you become more aware and increase the joy, happiness and understanding in your own life, but you will affect those around you in a positive way. All of the Reiki principles follow the same themes, but different masters have articulated them in different ways, such as Frank Arjava Petter's take on the principles:

1. Don't get angry today.

2. Don't worry today.

3. Be grateful today.

4. Work hard today (Meditative Practice).

5. Be kind to others today.

All of the variations include anger, stress, gratitude, kindness and honesty in ones dealings – and "today" is a recurrent theme as it is emphasised that we continuously make choices and must make the correct choice day after day, moment after moment – focus on each step that you are taking and take it one step at a time.

The Reiki principles can be used in the way that suites you best, you may find that a particular master's set of principles works for you – or you may find that some rewording suits you better. Whichever set you use, each one should lead to a life well lived if remembered and followed. The following set of principles are used by George Lotter, a Reiki practitioner in South Africa, and are an example of how the principles can be adjusted to suit ones preferences:

Let go of worry, honour your faith

Let go of fear, honour your courage

Let go of anger, honour peace and serenity

Show gratitude, honour your blessings

Be respectful and truthful, honour yourself and every living thing

The above principles were adjusted so that they do not include things that should not be done, as this can lead to arguments in the mind and reprimanding of oneself – but emphasize letting go of negative aspects rather than forcing them away or fighting against them. It is useful to read over the principles whenever you may feel the need to, but they can also be used as affirmations within your daily routine, and this can be done in two different ways. The best way to use them is in the way that you feel helps the most for you as an individual.

The first is to place emphasis on the aspect that you are trying to change or move away from in any given moment, and the above set of principles are used as follows:

1. I now let go of worry

2. I now let go of fear

3. I now let go of anger

4. I now show gratitude

5. I am now respectful and truthful

The second can be useful in emphasizing the fact that you are not suppressing anything or fighting off negativity, but moving towards positivity, as follows:

1. I now honour my faith

2. I now honour my courage

3. I now honour peace and serenity

4. I now honour my blessings

5. I now honour myself

6. I now honour every living thing

If you choose, the entire principle can also be used as an affirmation, such as follows:

1. I now honour my faith by letting go of worry

2. I now honour my courage by letting go of fear

3. I now honour peace and serenity by letting go of anger

4. I now honour my blessings by showing gratitude

5. I now honour myself and every living thing by being respectful and truthful

The Reiki principles are versatile and can be used as shown above or in another way that suites you – it's the energy and concepts behind each principle that are important, and each of the principles stated in this new version are applicable to day to day living that is unique to each individual. If you are visualising riches and financial freedom coming your way and you find stress creeping in at the thought of unpayed bills, take a deep breath and affirm to yourself "I now honour my faith". This can mean your God, your belief that you will be wealthy or whatever method you choose to connect to a higher power or belief system – Reiki is not a religion and can be used by everyone. Perhaps you are cut off in traffic and about to swear at the driver in front of you – a deep breath and an affirmation such as "I let go of anger" or "I honour peace and serenity" will be helpful. There are many ways to apply the Reiki principles to your life.

It is important to remember that people are not born gurus - mastership takes effort, discipline and perseverance. Keep the principles in mind, meditate on them and if you make a mistake – bring yourself back to a place of calm or forgiveness and remember to react differently next time. In time your consciousness will shift and it will become easier to live according to the principles. This can be done by everyone, not just those who practice Reiki or any other form of energy healing or meditative practice.

The point of Reiki is not an airy fairy world or pie in the sky reality where everyone is dressed like a hippy or running around naked with flowers in their hair (unless that's what you feel you need to do!), the point is looking towards the positive an making a positive loving influence within your surroundings. First to transform your own life and gain peace, understanding, healing, calm and abundance – and then, through this, to contribute to the world around you as your positive influence touches those who come into contact with you and who choose to learn from your growth and development.