Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Start Your Mornings Right

The way we start our mornings determine the outcome of our day as a whole.
Ever notice that our morning moods tend to set the tone for the rest of the day? If we feel well-rested and inspired, our day tends to unfold far more positively than if we were to wake up sleep-deprived, rushed and cranky. One way to make your day positive, happy and inspiring - start your mornings right. 

Try this 8 morning habits to create a positive mindset that will give you the mental and spiritual alertness to truly appreciate the beautiful moments that you will discover on your own for the rest of the day.
1. Wake up early - consistently. Early is subjective for everyone, depending on the kind of schedule you have.  “Early” is whatever time that is not the easiest to wake up to, but well worth the effort to do all the things in the morning – be it meditation, exercising or cooking a big breakfast– that will help you feel truly alive and focused for the rest of the day.  Waking up early helps you accomplish more and prevents you from starting the day in a rush.  Rushing in the morning tends to be a negative start. 

2. Meditate in the morning, even if it’s only for five minutes gives focus. As soon as you get out of bed, sit in a comfortable position (away from your bed, to avoid the temptation of going back to sleep). Rather than mentally rushing through the daily to-do list or remorse over your poor quality of sleep, allow your mind to soak in the subtle noises that can only come from the start of a brand new day. Do you hear birds chirping, other family members cooking breakfast? Focus on your in breath and out breath, one lungful of air at a time. Do this every morning, and your days will feel sharper, clearer and more full of life.

3. Do a dry brushing cleanse before you hop into the shower.  All you need is a long-handle wooden brush with natural bristles and about five to ten minutes of your time. Before you shower, use the brush on your dry skin to exfoliate your skin, invigorate your circulation and help your lymphatic system do its job. Doing this in the mornings is not only invigorating, it also helps to become fully aware of your body and appreciate everything that it does.
4. Massage lotion on your hands and feet. Just like dry-skin brushing before I shower, massaging lotion on hands and feet is a soothing physical sensation that keeps you rooted in your body and not in your thoughts.
5. Really look at your coffee and tea (and other breakfast drinks). When you are pouring milk into your coffee, pay attention to the swirls the milk makes on the dark liquid surface of your drink. When you drop a tea bag into boiling water, watch the tea ingredients create a mist in the clear water. Smell your coffee. Savor your orange juice. Whatever you drink in the morning, it is just as alive and deserving of attention as everything else you do in your life.

6. Exercise in the morning. So much easier said than done! Try to find an activity you enjoy doing.  Do this in-front of the mirror imagining the body you dream of having to get motivated. Getting your heart beating and your body moving early in the day gives you the natural high to stay focused and present for the rest of your long and busy day. 

7. Water your houseplants.  Plants have a way of refreshing a space.  Plants emit oxygen and absorbs the harmful carbon dioxide.  Sharing your breakfast with a potted plant on your kitchen table  really makes you appreciate the minor miracle that exists even in the most commonplace living things. Seeing new leaves uncurl, watching older leaves wilt, noticing the subtle changes the plant undergoes with the changing weather–it really puts things in perspective and helps you stay present.

8. Journal, draw, play an instrument, listen to music. Be creative. Being creative in the morning is one of the best ways to feel present for the rest of the day. What is your passion?  Starting your day by doing the things you love brings out positive energy useful for the rest of your day.

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