There was a time when I used to hate going to bed at night, because that would mean the day has ended and I really didn’t want the next morning to arrive.
Working the busy corporate lifestyle of a young lawyer was stress upon stress: from clients, bosses, colleagues, law clerks, court clerks, judges, magistrates; not forgetting also demands from family obligations and other personal duties. It was a tough life.
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- An introductory video about integrating mindfulness into your morning routines;
- A quick meditation that can be easily included into your mornings, and that can lengthened or shortened depending on your time constraints;
- A quick yoga mat movement practice that can be lengthened or shortened depending on your schedule;
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I think though if I had known how to manage myself better, perhaps through the routine outlined below and in the following post, I may have fared better.
This routine takes 45 minutes to about an hour every day. You don’t need to do all that I have listed, but any or a few of them may enhance your day so much more. Here’s what I do.
The first thing: grounding.
This is something I learnt during my yoga teacher training. As soon as I get up, roll out of bed, I place my feet on the floor and bring all my awareness to my feet.
Beginning with the heels, because the heels takes the full brunt of our weight throughout the day. They are strong and sturdy, they are our support. Then I move up through the spaces around the arches of my feet, which makes a cushion as I walk throughout the day.
Then I move upward towards the balls of my feet, the space between the arches and before the toes. This area is what I think as the ‘bouncy’ part of my feet, the trampoline that pushes me forward as I walk or climb or exercise.
And finally I move to my toes, spreading them out and trying to witness the sensation of each toe.
The second thing: gratitude.
I start my day with coffee. Maybe you prefer tea or some other beverage, but what is more important is what comes with the beverage – thoughts of gratitude.
So as I stand on the balcony and watch the slow rise of the sun, I have awareness for all I have that I am grateful for. Sometimes, some things will feature prominently; for example, if my two younger felines are lying at my feet or the very fact that I have a balcony on which to watch the dawn.
Most importantly, we have a new beginning with every new day. It’s almost like being reborn over and over. Imagine each day as a lifetime, and imagine all we can achieve in that one lifetime of one day. That is such a unique opportunity for us.
Gratitude leads us to abundance. That grateful heart is an abundant heart, and with abundance always filling us, more will come our way. By the way, an abundant heart tends to give. Read more about that here.
The third thing: self-enhancement.
I do my best to stay away from my devices in the first hour of wakefulness. After coffee, I usually have breakfast. I do pull out my phone at that time, but I avoid social media, emails and other messaging apps.
This is because when we view these forms of media, we tend to react to other people’s actions. In the first moments of wakefulness, perhaps it is more skilful to enhance ourselves than to react to others.
So, as I make and eat breakfast, I pull out my phone to listen to podcasts, videos or read books that help enhance myself. Ted X is always good, and my current flavour is Kelly McHugh of Digital Yoga Academy‘s podcast. For something brighter and chirpier, maybe try listening to Sah D’Simone. There are heaps of great thought leaders you have the option to listening to.
As a postscript, I want to say that it’s not that my life is stress-free now. I think if I hadn’t these tools, I would probably be as stressed and hating life as much as before. I think it’s because I am a different person then, as I am now.
So imagine how life could be like for you, going through your day with less stress and more clarity and calm. If this is for you, try out a few of these activities above and let me know how it helps.
In the next post, I’ll discuss what the next things I do before work actually begins.
Try any of these three tools to help you have a calm and clear day.
If they help, or even if they don’t, sign up for the full barrage of mindfulness tools, yoga movement and meditation with my FREE Mindful Mornings Mini Course above!
Breathing Meditation Practice.
Pranayama can help to decrease stress, improve sleep, improve lung function, and enhance cognitive function. Listen to this breath practice on the Insight Timer app. We will get the inhales and exhales to an equal length. Then later in the practice, we create patterns by inserting a breath retention of the same length.