“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn
What do you do when you wake up? Do you instantly lurch headlong into a world full of status updates and tweets, or ease yourself mindfully into the day ahead? The way we choose to spend those first precious moments after waking can set the tone for the hours that follow.
It is all too easy to reach for the smartphone to turn off the alarm and automatically start checking emails, social networking sites and the news. Our minds go into overdrive. Our thought train has gone from resting to racing, absorbing depressing news stories, frantically compiling a list of things we absolutely mustn’t forget to do. Beginning the day in such a busy way can cause underlying anxiety and agitation affecting the way we react to inevitable forthcoming challenges.
Integrate these five steps into your morning routine and notice how centred you feel as you go about the rest of your day.
1) When you wake carry out a mindful check in. Start by becoming aware of your breathing. Feel the weight of your body on the bed. Notice your temperature, any physical sensations that are present. Spend a few moments noticing any thoughts and emotions that are present. What is your underlying mood today?
2) When getting out of bed, fully feel your feet on the floor. Ease into some mindful movement. Bringing awareness to your movement trains your focus, a tool you can use in everyday life.
3) Bring presence to your routine. When showering become aware of the sensations of the water on your body. Hear the sound of the cascading water. Notice the scent of the products you use. Fully feel your fingertips massaging your scalp as you wash your hair. How does it feel to fully experience the present moment?
4) Eat your breakfast mindfully. Fully connect with the pleasures of eating, without feeling the need to be multi tasking. Notice the texture, the smell and the flavours of your food.
5) Before leaving for work meditate for 5 minutes. Sit and notice the breath where it makes itself most predominantly known to you, be it the abdomen, nostrils or chest. If it helps you concentrate count each breath, the in breath as 1, the out breath as 2 etc. until you get to ten and then begin again.
Prioritising your internal world and leaving the external world where it is for a few moments longer eases you gently into the day with calmness and purpose enabling you to react to any challenges with clarity.