Meditation for Modern Life

Mindfulness skills from a well being expert

Simple Steps to Start Your Day Off Mindfully

A meditative morning can make your entire day positive.

Have you ever had a morning that started off well, and then with varying degrees of magnitude, took a turn for the worse? I believe that meditation is one of the most effective solutions to days that go from good to bad. In fact, with enough practice you can maintain a calm state of mind from morning to night. In this blog post, I'll take you through your day, the meditative way.

Four Steps to Start Your Day off Right

1. Get Rid of the Alarm

The first word in "alarm clock" says it all. Alarm means to feel frightened, in fear, or in danger; terms not exactly evocative of peace of mind. In order to wake up in a gentle, relaxed way, I suggest that you replace your blaring alarm with beautiful, gentle, spa-like music. You can do this by using your MP3 player or iPod to wake you up in the morning.

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2. Drink Water

Sleep has depleted your body of water. So you in order to replenish your system, drink cool or warm water-whichever you prefer. Avoid other liquids like coffee or juice. It's pure and simple water that your body's craving.

3. Read Something Inspirational

Even if it's just a few sentences or a couple of paragraphs, reading something uplifting and peaceful will send your mind in the right direction. You'll be focused on positive, calming thoughts. If you've woken up agitated from dreams that filled your sleep, a pleasant passage from an inspiring book will reset your emotions.

4. Meditation Prep: Reach for the Skies

A little yoga or gentle stretching will prepare your body for meditation. Focus on relaxation rather than movement that will cause exertion.

It's Time to Meditate

Now, find a peaceful place to sit. If you've never meditated before consider starting off with five or ten minutes. Then slowly build up to 30 minutes. A few techniques to use during your sitting practice include using a prayer word or mantra or following a guided meditation. With more experience you can practice breath meditation, which is one of the most effective sitting practices. In previous posts I explain several meditation methods, and on my website you can download free guided meditations.

Once your meditation session is over, I recommend that you take a moment to connect with the world around you. If you have a backyard, you can observe the nature outside. If you live in large city or apartment building, you can create a small space in your home that allows you to connect with nature. For example, you can install a small bubbling fountain and plant next to a window where the morning suns enters your living space. I'm sure you can think of many other ways to remind yourself of beauty around you.

Breakfast Time

Take time to prepare and enjoy eating something, such as a piece of fruit. Avoid processed foods like sugary breakfast cereals. Instead, fill your body with whole foods that are filled with vitamins, enzymes and other properties that science is just beginning to uncover.

Commute to Work

As you take a seat behind the wheel, take a moment to pause and express gratitude for the world and the day in front of you. Be thankful that you can live with 100% presence. As your busy day unfolds, you can remind yourself of the peaceful state you experienced in the morning.

Morning to Evening: Coming Full Circle

When we first wake up in the morning, we experience echoes of the previous night: memories remind us of what took place the day before and dreams carry over into our present state. If we've had a restful, peaceful night's sleep, then we wake up relaxed and calm. But if we went to bed filled with anxiety and stress, then our dreams most likely reflected these emotions, and we begin the day with worries and fears. In order to fill your sleep with relaxation, I recommend that you meditate before you go to sleep.

Your Morning Routine Is the Foundation of Your Day

Starting with a peaceful, calm, and relaxing morning will make a world of difference in terms of how you experience the rest of your day. When stress moment arise, remind yourself of the calm and well being that you experienced just a few hours before.

 

Robert Puff, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been in private practice for over 20 years.

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