You’ve probably heard the age-old adage about starting the morning off right with the belief that the rest of the day will follow suit. I’m a believer in this idea. When we approach our day with intention, the course of the day is typically altered, heading in a direction of our choosing. So why not start your morning off working out my favorite muscle of them all? Mindfulness.
This practice starts before you’re even fully out of bed, and it involves slowing down the experience of getting up, noticing seemingly small movements and processes with incredible detail. After your alarm, sit up, and before fully getting up, sit on the edge of your bed for a moment. Close your eyes, and take an inventory of your body in this moment. Be curious about how your body feels in this moment. Notice your feet planted firmly on the floor. Feel the sensation as the temperature of your feet meets the temperature of the floor. Notice the position of your legs, the bend in your knees. Pay attention how much of your body is supported by your bed. Notice how your trunk is positioned. As tempting as it may be to rush through this exercise or do a quick scan and move on, challenge yourself to slow and truly pay attention to your body in this moment.
Focus your attention on your back, and notice your spine slowly straighten as you sit up. Focus on your chest and shoulders. Perhaps you’ll choose to roll your neck or shoulders, and as you do, notice your muscles activate and your body awaken. Be gentle and also curious as your body comes alive. Take a deep breath in, noticing the gentle sound of your inhale, and briefly hold your breath, before slowly exhaling, feeling your upper body relax. Take two or three more slow and deep breaths this way. Resist the urge to rush. Notice your breath and body with focused attention, tuning into your experience with all your might. Slowly open your eyes, noticing any sensations as you do, and slowly rise to start your day. You have just practiced mindfulness, all while in your PJs and before the first sip of coffee.
If this exercise feels strange or silly at first, that’s ok. We don’t typically pay attention to our bodies with this much detail. The prompt above is just a guide, so don’t feel pressure to follow my exact instructions. Make it your own by simply paying attention to the experience of sitting on your bed with incredible focus and attention. I challenge you to stick with this exercise every morning for two weeks, after which time, I bet the feeling will shift from one of discomfort to one of comfort and ease. Choosing to start your morning with a moment of mindfulness can set the tone for your entire day. Give it a try; I bet you’ll be surprised.