How to be mindful when you wake up!
What do you do when you wake up? Are you aware of anytime in your morning routine when you are fully present? Do you wake up feeling tired, low in mood, anxious about the day ahead? Do you struggle to concentrate when working from home, feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do?
Building both formal and informal mindfulness techniques into your day may help you to have more energy, improve concentration and focus, reduce anxiety, improve your mood and energy levels. It only takes a few minutes each day to build into your morning routine. The pay off is that for just a few minutes of effort you may feel the benefits for the whole day. The more you practise every day the more every day, week and month will feel less of a struggle and more of an enjoyable time noticing things that make a difference to how you feel and behave.
Formal practise; if you feel you can put 1 to 5 minutes each morning either when you wake up in bed or when you are sat down. Taking the time to actively notice your breath, the sounds, sensations as you breathe. Being mindful of what you are thinking. Acknowledging all the thoughts that come into your head without judgement but allowing yourself to direct your thought back to your breath. The more you can focus your attention on this the more you will be able to switch from automatic pilot drifting into doing mode and allow yourself to just’ be’ for a few minutes.
Informal practise; being mindful of your senses within your morning routine. What better way to be mindful then when you have your morning cup of tea, shower or when you brush your teeth or hair. They are already part of your daily routine, but how often does your mind wander to what you need to do whilst you are doing them. Using these small daily tasks to be mindful is quite simple. Notice the warmth of the cup with your hands, focus on noticing the steam, how the liquid moves, the taste of the cup of tea and sensations as you drink. Notice the water running, the smell of the shower gel or tooth paste, focus on the sounds and sensations just for those few minutes.
Over time and with daily practise just these little changes can make a difference to your brain. You are training your brain it is ok not to always think about doing things, it is ok to be in the moment, to be fully present. If you do this without judgement acknowledging when your mind wanders that, that’s OK too but focusing back to your senses the neural pathways in the brain begin to change. The part of the brain (pre frontal cortex) that deals with ration logical thinking becomes more active. When this part of the brain is active we are generally in a brighter mood. The pathway to the brains internal alarm bell (amygdala) that fires up every time we feel anxious, overwhelmed and fearful becomes weakened. We start to feel lees reactive to situations, events, people that may have affected our mood. In turn we feel and behave in a calmer way, feeling less anxious, less overwhelmed but still with everything around us staying the same! We can’t change the world but we can change we react to it. If we change our reactions we become more resilient, things affect us less, we can sleep better, feel motivated to eat healthily and exercise regularly and feel both mentally and physically well.
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