How do you start your mornings? Are you already stressed out before you even open your eyes? Are you reaching for your phone, checking your messages, and feeling on high alert before your feet even hit the floor?
Been there, for sure!
These days I do my best to ease myself into the day...
Over the past couple of years I've developed a really soothing morning ritual that I'm a little fanatical about simply because it just feels so good.
Starting the day with a deliberate calming and centering practice really helps offset the culture of stress in which most of us live.
But you know what? This is relatively new territory for me.
I wasn't always so ZEN (ha!).
I used to totally feed on stress and busyness. I was also pretty Type A--intense, driven, and controlling. AND for a long, long time I was okay with this amped up way of living.
At the time, I really didn't know that there was any other way. I was in the habit of reacting to life rather than responding to it. If something good happened, I was happy; if something bad happened, I was upset.
I didn't yet understand that there was a way to feel more centered in myself and less buffeted about by the whims of circumstance.
I see so many other people in the same boat. Super stressed, always pressed for time, making mistakes due to constant multi-tasking, and just generally feeling frazzled.
Can you relate?
Is it possible that you are distracting yourself with your frantic pace so that you don't have to think about the things that really matter--your health, your relationships, your peace of mind?
Are you willing to try something that might sound a little counter-intuitive?
I'm asking you to deliberately slow yourself down in the morning. I want you to experience what it feels like to go inward a bit and separate yourself from your endless to-do list.
The paradox is that this practice of slowing down will actually increase your focus, your presence, and your productivity.
There are lots of ways to cultivate mindfulness and be deliberate about how you live your life. Here are a few of my favorites:
Meditation--I've been using a free app for my phone called "Insight Timer" and I love it! There are thousands of different meditations to choose from so you can choose the amount of time you want to meditate and the type of meditation (guided, music, silent, etc.). If you are just starting out, I recommend keeping it super short, like maybe 1 to 5 minutes, while you develop the habit of sitting still.
Intention setting--Spend a few minutes in the morning setting your intentions for the day. This is a great practice to do aloud if you have the privacy! You can say something like "Today I am calm and focused. As I move through my day I notice that I am in a happy state of flow. When things don't go according to plan, I find it easy to be adaptable." It's amazing how this practice can you set you up to better handle the thing that happen during the day.
Gratitude practice--Write down 3 things that you are grateful for, they can be simple or profound, but this is a powerful practice to get your mind in the habit of looking for the good things in your life.
Are you up for trying one or even two of these? Consistency makes a big difference. Doing these practices only when you have time or when you need to reduce stress stat, isn't nearly as effective as making them daily practices. 🧡