Here's the deal
Mindfulness is focusing your awareness to the present moment while non-judgmentally acknowledging your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. It's not exactly the same things as meditation, although mindfulness can be practiced as a form of meditation. Most of us don't come by mindfulness very easily, so practice is definitely required. Incorporating one or more of these three ideas into your morning can set your whole day on a trajectory of mindful awareness.
Three Ways to Start Your Day Mindfully
- With Sound. What is the first noise you hear every morning? If you wake to an alarm, try using a gentler tone, chime sounds or your favorite uplifting music. When we awaken in a panic to turn off a harsh, annoying noise, we also awaken our fight or flight response and our bodies start off the day with a heavy dose of stress hormones. This keeps us reaching for stimulants like caffeine and sugar all day long to keep us feeling "awake." That sensation we often think of as fatigue is just the signal that we are in recovery from an adrenal zoom. (An adrenal zoom is when the adrenal glands pump a bunch of stress hormones, such as cortisol into your body when the flight or flight response is triggered.)
- With Light. Getting natural light on your face as close to waking as possible. Our body clocks (aka: circadian rhythm) respond to light and will sync with the rhythm of the sun. If you wake before dawn or wake to a cloudy day, turn on strong lights as you get ready. Taking five or ten minutes to actually be outside will increase the effects exponentially, and create within you a sense of grounded connectedness.
- With Water. Everyone wakes up dehydrated because we've not had anything to drink for 6 or more hours. Keep a glass of water bedside so that you can hydrate before you caffeinate. Being even slightly dehydrated can increase cortisol levels (stress hormone) in your body. When cortisol levels are high, your breathing becomes shallow which causes your heart to beat faster, and you use even more hydration as your body works hard under a perceived stress that could be soothed with a glass of water.