How we start the morning often sets the stage for how the rest of the day unfolds. Life has a habit of throwing us curve balls in many forms – a heated email, a fender bender, or a failed deal that you were really hoping would work out. Anything can happen in the present moment and how we start our day can significantly influence how we respond to various situations.
These 4 mindful ways to start your day or your week can help you deal with life’s inevitable ups and downs.
Do a Mindful Check-In
It’s good to begin the day by simply noting where you are starting from. How is your body? What emotions are present? Is your mind calm or already racing off to work? If you’re lying in bed, try to get a sense of whether the body feels comfortable or tense. Are you feeling calm, anxious, annoyed, or maybe neutral? What is on your mind?
Here’s a 2-minute video to give it a go:
Prime Your Mind for Good
After a brief mindful check-in, one way of inclining your mind toward resiliency and opening up to the good of the day is to consider an intentional gratitude practice. What do you have to be grateful for in your life right now ? It could be something simple, like waking up “on the right side of the bed,” to having a roof over your head, to having just had a really great cup of coffee. Practice inclining your mind to the good in life – you’ll start to notice more and more good things the more you practice this!
Bring Presence to the Morning Activities
When you’re in the shower be in the shower rather than solving problems at work already. When you’re making breakfast for you or your family, consider the intention of taking care of yourself and others throughout the day. Put some love into your food. If there are pets or other family members in the house, make sure to say an intentional goodbye while looking into their eyes before you leave.
Red Light Practice
As you drive to work use red lights as an opportunity to do another check in, pressing the reset button if traffic has made you flustered. Take this time to become centered and focused on what matters. You can make the choice to listen to your favorite music, intentionally plan the day out in your mind, or just have a quiet drive for a change. If you take public transportation you can do the same thing every time the bus, train, or subway stops. If you work from home, try this before turning on your computer, then take 5-15 minute breaks every 25 minutes to do a mindful check-in. Exposing yourself to choices and acting on them intentionally feels good. It also serves as a reminder that you can always choose how you want to respond to situations, be they good or bad.
Try these 4 things each morning as an experiment to see how your life changes.
Adapted from Mindfulness & Psychotherapy
P.S. I offer a simple yet powerful meditation to Relax and Awaken in the first lesson in A Course in Mindful Living – my 6-month online mentorship program to help you live with greater purpose, courage, ease, and happiness.