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I used to wake up every morning cranky, annoyed and overwhelmed at the thought of the day ahead.
This no longer occurs since I have changed my habits upon awakening.
Don’t get me wrong, I can still be cranky until I have my morning coffee—but it fades quickly with the smell of java, the rays of morning sun and the promise of a new day.
The feeling of wanting to bury my head in the pillow, avoiding the tasks at hand, no longer rules my morning when I practice a few simple habits. The really are quite simple, but do call for a little practice and dedication.
I want to share my simple morning practice with you, dear readers, in hopes I can help someone else who struggles upon awakening:
1. Giving myself time upon awakening.
I find that when I wake up late and rush into the day, I carry all of that stress energy with me all day long. Even just 10 minutes to myself changes my morning drastically. I take a moment in bed, and I wake up slowly. I smile, even if I don’t want to. I look for the sunlight. These two things alone can give my awakening mood a 180 degree shift. Before I do anything else, I hydrate with water. I keep it right by my bed, so I have no excuse. Flushing out our systems is key.
2. I get into gratitude quickly.
For me, I just don’t naturally realize my blessings on some days. I have to direct my mind there, before it can run away with the overwhelm of the tasks of my day. So before I even allow my day to start playing out in my head, I say thank you to God. This is just my personal practice, and it is my way of practicing humility. I prefer to kneel by my bed, and thank the powers that be for all of my blessings. My day just goes better when I acknowledge that I am not the end all, be all of power. Gratitude gets me in the right frame of mind, and I then approach the day as a blessing rather than a burden. I also ask for guidance from the powers that be—God, the Universe, Shiva, the saints, Mother and Father—whomever may be listening. I don’t try to understand, I just ask for help.
3. After I practice gratitude, I meditate.
And by meditate, I mean anything from a deep meditation practice to five minutes of breathing. I practice many different forms of meditations, and sometimes my morning just consists of reading from a daily meditation book—slowly soaking in the words, and then sitting and focusing on deep breath for five minutes. Sometimes my mind wanders, but I gently bring it back to my breath. Sometimes I focus on cleansing out my space, so I can approach the day with a clean slate. This is important, because if I am carrying around things that happened yesterday, then I am not truly present in today.
Ahhhhh—just like a cat, stretching feels so good in the morning. Sometimes this step takes place right as I open my eyes, other times it is after meditation. Deep breaths and cat like stretches with audible, “ahhhhhhhs,” feel so good. I stretch the sleep out of my body, and I focus on sending breath and energy to my muscles. I wake them up with me. Sometimes I thrash around like a fish stretching, and other times I stand and practice very yoga like folds and twists to stretch out and wake up my body. The point is, there is no right and wrong–-do what feels good!
5. Coffee and yummy breakfast!
Once my system has had a chance to awaken and get present, then I consume my fuel. My choice of breakfast is generally coffee and fruit of some type, or maybe some oatmeal or granola. I generally stick to wholesome, raw breakfast foods, because as I’ve cleansed my system, I find the heavy, greasy stuff weighs me down—and I feel it mentally! Sometimes I can’t resist a big dish of grilled veggies and potatoes, but that does not happen everyday. I’ve also cut out sugar. I used to load up my coffee with sugar, and then I would crash. The harm sugar does us is a whole different discussion, but I can promise you, cutting it out of breakfast will benefit!
And one important rule for shifting morning perspective—I never pick up that phone or electronic device, until I have practiced these things!
Changing life-long habits is an easy practice if we are dedicated to doing it. If we can find our inner discipline, we can work at changing any habit. We just need patience and dedication.
If we work at it, we will see results and changes. If we drop our expectations of instant results, we can honor and acknowledge the small changes as they occur, and use this as the drive to keep us practicing.
With a daily practice and no expectations, before we know what has happened—we have a whole new attitude and outlook at the start of our day. These practices will become our first instinct, and we no longer need to “make” ourselves do it—we simply want to.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Logan Brumm