by Anne Renaud, yoga instructor, Tournesol Wellness
At times, we tend to go through life feeling like the days run us. Rushing from activity to activity while juggling a heavy mental load inevitably leads to stress. While demands of life may prevent lightening of the load, there are small adjustments you can make to your morning schedule to center yourself and feel less anxiety and stress during the day.
First thing in the morning, resist temptation to check in with the outside world. An estimated 2/3 of Americans ages 18-30 check their smartphone within 15 minutes of waking up. Depending on what you see, this can set your whole day off on a negative note. When your alarm goes off, try not to go straight for your phone or computer. Instead, ease into the day with a mindfulness practice.
Get out of bed and find a comfortable seat. Sit with a tall spine and take ten slow breaths, inhaling and exhaling completely. Consider an intention for the day, such as “calm strength” or an affirmation like “I am ready.” Repeat this several times to yourself as you continue to breathe fully. If you have extra time, take a few minutes for a centering activity, like yoga, meditation, or reading from an inspirational book.
In order to fully benefit from your mindful morning, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it. If you usually feel rushed in the morning, set your alarm 20 minutes earlier than usual, and then set a second alarm for 10 minutes later. This will give you enough time to center yourself and some extra time to calmly get through the rest of your morning routine. The second alarm enables you to fully focus on your mindfulness practice without checking the clock throughout. Try to relax and “get in the zone,” knowing you have all the time you need.