I love mornings. The quiet, stillness and promise of another great day is my opportunity to think, exercise, organize or just be alone. I know that the start of my morning can dictate the tone and energy of the rest of my day. Being “mindful” is not an easy task, but the right morning can keep us focused, centered and happy even in the midst of chaos. Follow my steps for a mindful morning, and welcome more happy days.
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Prep the night before. There is no shortcut if you want to savor the morning. I will make sure that my clothes are picked out, bags are packed and breakfast and lunches are made. I ask my children to do the same, lining up their bags and clothes the night before school so we can avoid these decisions in the morning. With these basic tasks out of the way, I create space to enjoy my morning rituals.
Soothe your nervous system- even before you wake up. The first step may be replacing your alarm clock. Trade noisy, obtrusive alarms for more gentle natural sounds or music. Just make sure they are not too soothing—I once set my alarm tone to chirping birds, only to sleep right through!
Once you do wake up, resist the urge to grab your electronics. Take at least ten minutes in the morning to stretch, have a cup of tea or coffee or read your favorite book, newspaper or magazine. The emails and texts can wait until you are mentally ready.
Create morning rituals that you anticipate eagerly. My morning cup of tea is less about tea than it is about what it represents—warmth, comfort, and an opportunity to slow down. The yoga mat, exercise bike, and meditation or prayer time are pieces of my morning ritual. Everyday, at least one of these are a part of my morning ritual, helping to establish the rhythm and goals of my day. When I travel, I miss these rituals the most! Create your own morning rituals that help you to celebrate the morning and maximize your day.
Eating in peace is very different from eating on the go or in a rush. We know that food is metabolized better when we eat slower and that with conscious eating, we feel full and satisfied. The health benefits of eating breakfast are now well known and include everything from better mental focus to lower weight. For many of us, this morning meal is the only peaceful meal of the day and sometimes the only chance to really sit to eat. I find that breakfast is a family connector as well, giving all of us a chance to begin the day together before we head our separate ways.
5. Commute Start
Finally, the morning commute may be enough to undo even your best morning. Whether you travel by car, train, plane or bus, find ways to make this commute less stressful. Listen to your favorite music or an inspirational audio book. Play a guided meditation as you drive to work. Limit the noise of the news, traffic or even the radio by making your commuting vehicle a sacred space.
Your mindful mornings and happier days are waiting. Use these steps to reset your morning routines, lower your stress, and stay focused throughout your day.