Soooooo, have you ever had one of those days when you woke up and everything seemed to go wrong? You check email on your phone and find that something at work has just blown up, you trip over a toy that your daughter left in the middle of the floor the night before, you realize that the suit that you really wanted to wear for an important meeting is still at the cleaners, you can’t find your wallet or your keys, and you just want to crawl back under the covers and make the entire day go away!
In my years of working with people to transform their lives, it has become really clear to me that the way we begin each day really does set the tone for the entire day. What I also know unequivocally is that we can set ourselves up to have a better day — each and every day.
Here are 8 practices that really work.
- Wake Up To Greet the Day! – Your natural biorhythms cause your metabolism to kick in as soon as it starts to get light. Why not live in a way that is more aligned with what your body naturally wants, and wake up as the sky starts to turn from black to gray to greet the day?
- Practice Gratitude Before You Even Get Out of Bed – Before your foot hits the floor, think about all the things in your life that you are grateful for. These things can be as simple as the fact that your pillow is soft or your comforter warm and cozy or as profound as the fact that you actually woke up to see and live another day. What are the things about you and your life that make you feel fortunate or even blessed?
- Write Morning Pages – Many people find it helpful to write “morning pages” which is really just a practice of journaling first thing in the morning. Write down on paper whatever is rumbling around in your head. Just let it flow, and write at least two handwritten pages before you go on with your day.
- Meditate Yourself into the Right Frame of Mind – Note that I said meditate, not medicate! There are lots of different meditation practices that people find helpful. Vipassana meditation is the practice of observing the breath and coming back to it every time your thoughts carry you off somewhere else. Transcendental Meditation is the practice of repeating a mantra over and over again in your head. My favorite meditation practice is the practice of Metta. Metta is Pali and means loving-kindness. It is the practice of cultivating compassion by wishing everyone well, beginning with yourself and extending to all beings everywhere. If you want to learn more about the practice of Metta, you can find Metta meditation instructions at this post at http://angelabrentharris.com/2013/07/30/metta-meditation-practice
- Spend Some Quiet Time Alone – Pour yourself a cup of tea and just sit. Enjoy the feeling of the warm cup in your hands. Look out the window and watch the birds flying around. Just breathe.
- Get Your Body Moving – First thing in the morning is a great time to practice yoga or even go for a run. If you work out first thing in the morning before eating you will burn more fat. When you finish your workout, be sure to eat some protein, as it will help your body build muscle mass.
- Go To a Place That Nourishes You – This can be a room in your home, or even the corner of a room, that you have set up to be clutter free and relaxing or inspiring. You may try putting candles in the space, or making a vision board to hang there. For me, the place that most nourishes me is the beach, and I am blessed to live close enough to it that I can get there pretty easily. My favorite way to start the day is to run or walk along the beach at dawn. When I am there, I just focus on taking it all in. I watch the waves break, see the seagulls soar, and when I get there early enough I often spot pods of dolphins or even sea lions. When I see them, I like to think of it as the universe giving me a gift for having taken responsibility for making the most of my day!
- Make the First 90 Minutes of Your Day Sacred – Make the decision that you aren’t going to let anything that happens in the first 90 minutes of the day get under your skin, upset or even bother you. It may not feel like it, but it is absolutely a choice. Why not give yourself the gift of starting your day in a fabulously wonderful way? You’re worth it!
You don’t need to adopt every practice. Try the ones that resonate most with you, and watch to see what happens.