Mindful mornings

I am sure I have said this before, and we've all heard it - 'Morning shows the day’. How you start your mornings will decide how the rest of your day turns out. Well as true as it is, sometimes we find it difficult to accomplish things that we want to, during the day. There could be many reasons for this such as not being mindful of how we want to start our day, stress, anxiety, getting distracted etc. Mindful mornings give a positive boost to carry on and be productive for the rest of the day.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the natural human ability to be fully present in the moment, about experiencing the emotions, the surroundings around us and about bringing out our natural curiosity. It is about being engaged with experiences occurring in the present without making any judgement or getting overwhelmed. Very often our mind veers away from the activity or situation in hand. And, without realising, slowly we start losing touch with ourselves, with the way our body is feeling and get caught up in thoughts about something that happened in the past or we think may happen in the future. This makes us feel anxious or stressed. We stop noticing how these thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour. This is when a human being's ability to be mindful, steps in and snaps us out of that state. It is not something that we need to create, it is already there within us except we should know when and how to access it.

Why mindfulness? What are the benefits?

By becoming aware of our emotions, we get better control of our actions and reactions to any challenging or stressful situation. We have a better chance of reacting more calmly and empathetically when faced with difficult situations. It doesn't necessarily mean that we may never get angry or anxious, rather it allows us to be thoughtful of how we want to respond to it. According to experts’ regular practice of mindfulness helps reduce stress, enhance performance, and increase our attention to others' as well as our own mental wellbeing.

How can we practice being more mindful?

As mentioned earlier, we do not have to reinvent the wheel, it is already within us. Reminding ourselves to notice the thoughts, feelings and sensations we are experiencing at the very moment is the first step of being mindful. According to experts, it is about noticing the everyday, keeping it regular, by picking up a regular time or getting into a routine when we decide to be aware of our thoughts and sensations. It is also about trying out something new even if it is very miniscule or seems trivial such as sitting at a different seat on the train to work! It is especially helpful to take a mindful approach when you realise that you have been caught up in thoughts about a past problem or worrying about an unknown future. There are other different mindful practices that we can do, but it is helpful when we set aside time for it and create a routine until it becomes inherent to us.

Here are four of my simple tips for mindful mornings

Wake up with a purpose

Yes, wake up with an intention of how you want to start your day. Think about your intention the night before. Visualise yourself doing activities that you would do next morning after you wake up. Be it, seeing yourself waking up early, going for a walk etc. This will give you a purpose and motivate you to follow through every single morning, until it becomes a routine.

Make your bed

Trivial isn't it but believe me when I say- making your bed will clear your mind. Once you are out of the bed, take a few minutes to tidy it up. Do not leave it for later. An unmade bed is clutter and clutter creates confusion. Clutter surrounding you reflects the stress and anxiety that surrounds you. Remember, your outer world reflects your inner world. Once you have made your bed, tidied up the room, automatically you will get a sense of accomplishment which will give you a strong start to your day.

Some form of activity

The motto is 'Move', be it simple stretching or walking, cycling, any form of exercise or sports. Even if it is for 5-10 minutes to begin with, it will do, but just get into doing some activity. This intentional stretching and deep breathing, will do wonders to your mind and body and is great for mindfulness and productivity throughout the rest of the day.

Reduce unnecessary distractions

Think about what you are subjecting your subconscious mind to right when you wake up. Do you have a habit of grabbing your phone to check your e-mails, notification, or news first thing after you wake up? Do you turn on the television or radio the moment you are out of your room? Chances are that you will not be able to process your thoughts on how you wanted to start your morning or plan the day. It might be difficult in the beginning but not impossible to have few minutes of silence, to live with your own thoughts and prepare for the day.

Try to incorporate these few points in your life, if you aren't doing so, already and I am sure you will feel the positive difference, 'cause I have seen it myself.

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