How we start the day can have a big effect on how the rest of it plays out. We all know the phrase ‘Getting up on the wrong side of the bed’ and it seems to feel that way often for many of us. If we wake up feeling rubbish then everything that happens later feels like it is going wrong. It can be hard to get motivated. However, if we start the day in a mindful way it can be much easier to face the challenges and curveballs that life has a habit of throwing at us.
So What is Mindfulness?
In essence Mindfulness is all about bringing deliberate attention to the present in a non-judgmental way. In our rush through life we often forget to actually take note of what is happening around us. Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique which helps to ground us in the moment and focus on the present, allowing us to step away from the stresses of the world.
We will be learning about Mindfulness more in later blogs, but for the moment we want to show you how you can use simple techniques at the beginning of the day to help improve your mood in the morning and give you a focus that can stay with you all day.
Steps for Morning Mindfulness
Wake Up Gently
Jolting awake in a dark room to the ‘BEEP BEEP BEEP’ of an alarm clock is enough to put most of us in a bad mood. If possible try to use an alarm clock which using more gentle waking methods. Alarm clocks that use light to gradually wake you are great for this, alternatively use more natural calmer sounds so the transition from sleep to wakefulness is more subtle.
Check In With Yourself
When you first wake up take a few moments to take stock of your body and mind. Focus on your body first, does it feel relaxed, tense, sore, comfortable? Don’t do anything about it for now – just focus on how you feel. Next explore your mind, are you calm at the moment or worried, are you stressed about something or thinking about something happy? Again don’t do anything with this, just focus on these thoughts.
Next we’re going to focus on each body part and teach it to relax. Start at your feet, tense them so you are holding the muscles really tight and hold for 5 seconds, then allow them to relax completely. Focus on how it feels, the difference between the tension and the relaxation. Now move to the lower legs and repeat the same, taking care to really focus on what you are doing and how it feels. Move up the body, making sure you cover your whole body. When you have done your face go back and tighten all your muscle groups together, holding the tension and feeling it all over before relaxing completely. Lay there and focus on how relaxed your body feels.
Now before you get up we want you to focus on one thing that you are grateful for in your life. It could be as simple as having a roof over your head or family around you, maybe a much loved pet or something you have achieved this week. Whatever you choose, hold on to this thought and allow yourself to enjoy it. Now you can get up.
Focus on the Tasks at Hand
We all have a different routine in the morning but whatever you do, whether it’s sitting down with a cup of tea, jumping in the shower or just cleaning your teeth, you can do it in a mindful way.
The trick to mindfulness is really focusing on every one of your senses. So if you are in the shower focus on the feel of the water on your skin, notice the temperature, the scent of your shampoo in your hair. If you are sat down with your cuppa focus on the steam rising from it, the warmth from the cup on your hands, take a sip and really focus on the flavour in your mouth, swallow and feel it as it travels down your throat.
You can use these techniques on any task but the point of it is to really be in the moment. Not thinking about what you need to do at work later, or that disagreement you had yesterday. The more you do this the more natural it will become. Eventually you will do this without thinking and find you are enjoying what were the mundane tasks of the morning.
Face Your Day
These steps will take practice, but by following them every day you will find they will start to become more intuitive. You should also notice that as the day progresses the calm start you have made will lead to a more relaxed attitude overall. And remember, it doesn’t need to be morning to do this – if you feel things getting on top of you, take 10 minutes and refocus yourself with some of the techniques you have used earlier.
Remember we are human ‘beings’ not human doings. Spend some time every day focusing on just ‘being’ and you will feel better for it.
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