“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
– Lemony Snicket
Several requests from our “Words for Wednesday” community wanted me to share how I always seem to have good days. The truth I’ve shared often is that some days are not so good for me either. I do have some approaches to starting my day in positive ways which I find help turn the tide most of the time. I believe taking care of ourselves is worth the thoughtful planning and actions to help make every day a little better.
Finding the balance between understanding ourselves and embracing challenge to create the healthy habits which work for each us. For those of you who find morning especially difficult, take the time in the evening to prepare some of the steps that will make the morning more successful, including the decision to evaluate when going to your rest at night will better serve you than how you might default to spending the later night time. I know even the simple step of adding water to the coffee pot at night makes my morning process one small bit easier.
What I truly value is 15 minutes I choose to give myself in a quiet space for intentional self-care. I’ve called it a “meditation moment,” a “gratitude start” and several other things but the key is the deliberate focus on a few essential points. I’ve decided I’m worth the 15 minutes and I’ve discovered the result is a happier and more effective rest of my day is most often my reward.
I begin the process with a drink of water as it is what our body most needs and for all my love of coffee, getting water to my system first is a step in a healthy direction to start the day and my routine. While I choose to light a candle and ask Alexa to play a woodland forest, those enhance but are not essential parts of the experience. The core is three simple steps.
Taking slow, deep breaths I ask my awareness to focus on my body. Is my neck tight and can I consciously relax the muscles? As my deliberate breaths soothe, is my body sending me any messages? If so I acknowledge them and give a pause to see if I can relieve anything immediately or by my choices in the day or days ahead.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
– Marcus Aurelius
My second approach is to be very specific in appreciating three moments from the prior day. It is not enough to just appreciate a person, rather specifically did the person do something which made them and their action stand out? The precision of this gratitude is important as it stimulates our mind as well as moving it in the positivity mindset which is the hallmark of true thankfulness. Awareness of our blessings is a great enough gift and the shift in mindset begins to alter our fortune for the day ahead if we are true to the task.
Encouraged by the gratitude, I conclude by again specifically determining three things I will make part of the day ahead. These deliberate goals or objectives are intended to be positive for me and my day and inspired by my reflective gratitude moments. They can be as simple as the plan to call a good friend and share one of my reflections but they should be specific to the person and the reason and ideally when I will make that happen. This immediately should provide several things in our day which we are looking forward to experiencing.
As simple as this trio of actions seem, the difference they bring to my days is remarkable. Is it challenging to find that morning start when some distraction suggests I take a different course? Absolutely. Usually, if I miss the goal I notice my day is a little less than the days when I make it happen. That alone is usually enough incentive for me to make the time. The beauty is that a little time in diligence to a routine plants the seeds for healthier habits we can maintain with easier efforts. Best of all, the fruits of those labors are happier and often more effective days.