Each morning after we wake up in bed, we have the power to impact our experience of the day ahead. Sometimes I forget that. To remind myself and anyone else out there who’s listening, I’ve put together a list. Here are 5 things you can to before jumping into a busy day that have positive impact. And for the record, these simple practices can be done throughout the day as a way to recalibrate.
1) Instead of jumping out of bed as the alarm goes off or the mind clicks on, lie still and experience the inner silence. Can you catch a dream? Maybe yes, maybe no, but either way, soak up the sense of warmth, peace, stillness, comfort, and silence. Notice how soft the breath is and how quiet the heartbeat is. Take this moment to just be. If dream material is flooding in, move on to your dream journal or voice memo next.
2) Take three slow, conscious breaths. Become aware of the moment. By practicing conscious breathing each morning, we are more likely to return to it throughout the day. By engaging in abdominal breathing with awareness we practice self-regulation. Self-regulated individuals find it easier to make intentional decisions and actions.
3) Smile. Just smile. No reason needed. Years ago, when I was in the middle of completing my PhD program, one of my instructors told us how he would remember to smile as be began or concluded his daily Tai Chi routine. That’s because the facial micro-muscles activated when smiling ignite positive feelings. So go ahead, smile for no reason at all – you just might find yourself feeling happier.
4) Express gratitude in any way that feels right for you. This can be done either verbally, or in writing (in a fancy journal or on an old napkin makes no difference). State aloud or write down a half-dozen things you are grateful for in this life. It’s ok to exclaim what you are grateful for to your pet, a vase of flowers, or even the sun. No one needs to hear you but the universe. If you chose to write out a gratitude list, you can read it to all of the above if you wish. Grateful expression can be considered an act of prayer.
5) Recognize that today is a new day – a chance to bring about a fresh intention. With each new day, we get to start over. What do you want to do differently today? Is there a specific self-care practice that you’ve been wanting to try? Is there someone you need to forgive? If the ego-mind is already rattling off distorted views and engaging in maladaptive thinking, tell it to STOP, then insert an affirmative, adaptive thought in its place. If any of the above steps could use repeating, give yourself permission to do so.
These 5 practices, when done with consistency, can bring about positive change, elevating kindness and compassion for ourselves and others. If you would like to dedicate more time to learning and practicing self-care, from a holistic stance, contact me. Or you may join my course, Self-care 360, today. It is an ongoing subscription course. Read more about it by clicking here.
Happy 2021 everyone,