March 8, 2014

5 Things to Do Before Breakfast for a Happy Day.

Tammy T. Stone

Every day is another chance to start over, do the things you want to do—and attempt to guide the inertia-prone mind into ‘action’, however we define this word.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to stay motivated or get on the right track to change, which is why New Year’s resolutions can famously be little more than a well-intentioned (or deliberate) oops kind of joke.

We can talk endlessly about why it’s so hard to move toward health, happiness and all those other things we try to incorporate into our lives without actually wanting, or craving them.

But we can also sum it up pretty quickly: we let our minds override our most basic instincts for well-being. And we can change this.

If we’re finding it difficult to wrest ourselves from our habitually sluggish morning routines, it’s probably unrealistic to expect we’ll wake up at 3:00 a.m., meditate for an hour, followed by two hours of hardcore pranayama and asana practice, with a few kriyas (cleansing) thrown in for good measure, even though we’d ultimately love to be in that place.

So, what are some more basic things we can do to improve our chances of loving the day—and our lives—that we can commit to as an early morning practice?

And that we can do in just a few minutes—before getting up for that toast (gluten optional) and coffee (or herbal tea)?

Here’s an idea for a fun and peaceful early morning practice:

Reflect on your Dreams

As soon as you’re aware that you are awake, try to remember your dreams. You can start with any fragments of the most recent dream, and without over-taxing the mind, try to let some images come to you. See if you can work those images into a clearer picture, and if you can go even further back to remember more dreams from earlier in the night.

While you do this, try not to move, even your head position. Doing this can compromise your ability to remember your dreams.

Remembering dreams can give you some insight about why you might be in a certain mood, can be a very useful tool for self-reflection throughout the day, and empowers you as you realize that you can be aware of the contents of your mind.


Say Thank You

While still in bed, eyes closed, say a silent thank you for having woken up to live another day, for the privilege of being part of the greater world all around us. Express your gratitude for having the opportunity to experience the many amazing things out there, and for the chance to work toward your own growth and happiness.


State Your Intention for the Day

Once you’ve expressed your gratitude, make an intention for the day, or re-state it if you’ve set an intention before going to bed, or if you are already working on some of your goals.

You can have the intention of being less angry, reacting to obstacles in more positive ways, achieving something particular you’ve been meaning to work on, you name it. As long as it serves you, works toward the benefit of yourself and others (or at least, doesn’t intentionally cause harm), and helps you work toward your longer term ideals.


Look Around

Now, you can open your eyes, and while you’re still in bed, take a moment to look around. What do you see? Is it the way the sunlight creates brilliant patterns of light on the floor as it comes in through your curtains? The luxurious wood of the chair in the corner? Your favorite inspiring quote or photo of friends tucked into your dresser mirror?

Is your lover quietly sleeping next to you? Are you comfortable in your bed? Is the stillness of the early morning breathtaking?

Look around like it’s for the first time. Breathe in the precious space you have created for yourself.


Salute the Sun

If you can slip onto your yoga mat with ease and joy, then you can take this suggestion literally, and enjoy your practice!

You can also walk over to the window or just bask in the light (or pre-dawn sky) of early morning, and rest in this shared space with your surroundings. Take a good few moments to revel in the silence that precedes the gorgeous chaos of life.



Of course, if you have a houseful of sleeping people, now’s probably not the time to shake the house down with a laugh. But you can certainly giggle—at least a little, or in your head. Let the wonder of the new day fill you, and if that laugh inside of you is difficult to find, try to think of something really funny, or, just gently force yourself to do it.

Faking it until you make it can very well induce the real thing, and a laugh-filled early morning is a virtual guarantee you will head into your day feeling balanced, whole and full of joy.


Relephant reads:

Waking up to the Practice of Yoga.

Start your day with water & lemon. 

Want to Feel Great in the Morning? Start the Day off Right with a Morning Ritual. 


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photos: courtesy of the author; Hillary Boles / Flickr 

Reply to Mark cancel

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Tammy Mar 10, 2014 4:48am

Hello Mark, thanks so much for the kind words and for your fantastic point. It's really a fine line between having an intention and having expectations of that intention being meet, and we know how dangerous expectations can be. I couldn't agree with you more. I tend to focus on intentions that have to do with ongoing issues that, as you said, are less narrow in focus and more geared toward longer-term goals. I have already cultivated a more gentle attitude toward myself regarding these goals, and the daily intention is a kind reminder to myself to try and stay on track, if you will. of course, thwarted attempts, as you point out, lead to great growth as well, if we face them with the right attitude. Thanks again for sharing!

Mark Mar 9, 2014 11:59am

Thanks for this article. Although I agree with you about a daily intention, I think must do this with open eyes. Sometimes an intention creates an expectation. Unmet expectations can lead to frustration. So, broad intentions work, narrow one's may be risky. A narrow one would be something like: "I want to get these things done today". If that thing gets interrupted, as things tend to do, then frustration may lead to anger, etc.. But, that very situation can lead to growth, can help turn the lights on if one is open to it.

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Tammy T. Stone is a Canadian writer, photographer and chronicler of life as it passes through us. After spending a few years traveling through Southeast Asia and India, she has found a new home in Japan, a place she has long imagined and dreamed about. Always a wanderer, she’s endlessly mesmerized by people, places and everything in between; the world is somehow so vast and so small. She feels so lucky to have been able to work, learn, live and travel far and wide, writing, photographing and wellness-practicing along the way. She invites you to see some of her recent photography here and to connect with her on her writer’s page, twitter and her blog, There’s No War in World, here.