You wake up.
You launch yourself into the day. Like a rocket or a whirling dervish, in a blur of landscape.
Or do you drag yourself out of bed with groans and great reluctance. You will yourself to be motivated!
Either way, here’s how to start your day and keep calm and be mindful.
Steps to Keep Calm and be Mindful
- In the first instance, notice your default setting. From the moment you awaken, you will tend to follow a routine. This is you on auto-pilot.
- Stop and bring your awareness to your body and feelings. Every day may feel different, even if it’s the most subtle difference. Notice any aches, pains and emotions you have woken up with.
- Allow yourself time to sit up slowly and place your feet on the floor beside your bed.
- Focus on two or three deep breaths as you welcome a sense of calm to your day. In this way you can be in charge of a serene start.
Mornings are Stressful
For many of us, the morning routine is hectic. Stress and anxiety start building up as you shower, dress and prepare for your day.
Your mind races ahead. You anticipate important meetings, difficult conversations, tight deadlines. Just the juggling act of balancing home and work life can be stressful.
Your brain will begin to help you out. At least, it thinks it’s helping you out!
You perceive stressful situations and your brain pitches in and prepares you to fight or flee. It interprets your busy day as danger! This is the defense response which ensured the survival of our ancestors.
As you take a shower notice how you have a running commentary going on in your head.
Despite the plentiful hot water and beautiful-smelling shower gel, you are feeling anxious. Your stomach may feel knotted, your shoulders tense and you are nervous and jittery. You may feel like running for the hills or hiding back under the bedclothes.
This is because your brain is eliciting the stress response. As you are anticipating a difficult day your brain floods your body with adrenaline and cortisol. And you haven’t even yet left the house!
Keep Calm and Be Mindful
Mindfulness is a way of bringing your focus to the present moment. See how your mind is rushing off in anticipation of the day. Then gently guide your focus back to the task in hand. This means you concentrate fully on your shower. Use all of your senses to enjoy what you are experiencing.
Take one step at a time, without rushing. Make time to sit and eat breakfast. With the right planning it’s possible to set off into your day with a sense of calm, quiet and dignity.
And remember to focus on one or two deep breaths throughout the day. This will ensure that you continue feeling peaceful and focused all day long.
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Place of Serenity, East Hants
Updated blog post first published 12 October 2014