We’ve all been there. It’s morning, the alarm clock goes off, and you just want to hit snooze and stay put.
Sadly, many of us are sleep deprived and we try hard to grab every minute we can of sleep so its really hard to shift from sleep to wake. Oftentimes there's a busy day ahead, and our thoughts begin racing almost before we're properly awake. We feel overwhelmed before we even get out of bed. Keeping a routine morning mindfulness practice can help to gently awaken the brain and bring stability and focus to your morning. You may even find, as I do, that with regular practice, you begin to enjoy waking up and look forward to the moments of peaceful quiet that it brings as you start your day.
1. Let some light in.Try keeping a consistent bedtime and especially wake-time every day, seven days a week as this really is key to getting up with less trouble in the morning. I'm awake around 5.30 even on weekends now! Morning light is important as it helps set the body’s sleep-wake pattern, signalling an end to melatonin production at night and bringing about wakefulness in the morning. If you have natural light at the time you wake up open the curtains and blinds and take in the natural light. Even a cloudy day will work.
2. Find a comfortable spot.Once you have opened up the blinds and curtains, find a spot near a window to sit. I have a chair in my counselling room that works well for me. You can sit on the edge of your bed if that works for you.
3. Observe your breath.Once you're comfortable, notice your breath. Don't try to change it, just notice it as you breathe in and out. Keep your attention on the breath. If your mind wanders to something else, and it may well do, such as how you'd love to be back in bed, snuggled under the blankets, simply note that it happened and without judging the thoughts you are having, bring your focus back to the breath.
4. What's the weather like?Look out the window taking int he natural light. Notice the weather outside. Is it sunny? Cloudy? Rainy? Are there clouds? What do they look like? What colour is the sky? Become aware of your feelings, positive or negative, about the current weather situation. Try to notice the weather without making any judgements about it. Just let it be what it is and notice what arises in your mind as you do this.
5. Stand up and stretch.Plant your feet firmly onto the floor and notice the texture, temperature of the floor. Is it carpeted and warm? Cold and tile or timber? Stand up straight, stretch your arms up as high as you can, take a deep breath smiling as you let it out, and start moving.
The first few minutes of waking up can set the tone for the rest of the day. Some people find it really hard to rise and shine, but this can change if you add mindful habits to the start of the day: they can help you to feel more in sync with the sunrise. Here are some ways you can ease into the morning:
1) As soon as your alarm goes off, roll out of bed! Open the curtains and look outside, and if you can open a window - even briefly - it is so good for a sleepy brain. You might like to read 5 Simple Steps to Starting Your Day Well.
2) Next, stretch a little and energise your body. When we wake up the body, the mind will follow. Here is a link to 10 Mindful Movements that I do most days. It takes around 15 minutes if you do four of each movement - but you can do each movement just once and there you have a quick 5 minute wakeup stretch!
3) Finally, set an intention for how you want the day to go. Take one minute even before you stretch. Become aware of your breath, taking a deep breath in and letting it go, and as you do consciously choose an intention. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes when you start the day with purpose.
I hope this helps you to be more mindful each day.
I am a Writer, Counsellor, Mindfulness Teacher, and Psychotherapist
I am a Writer, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Mindfulness teacher and Writing Therapist. I have learned the value of living a mindful life and want to share that with others.