Many of us struggle to start the day well. Bleary-eyed and sleepwalking we may reach for stimulants and sugar-filled cereal for instant gratification. But it needn’t be that way. Author Miranda Moore has some great ideas for beginning the day in a more wholesome, healthy and mindful way. Rituals are sequences of actions performed with mindfulness, says Miranda. They can provide scaffolding to help get your day off to a calm and positive start. Research by behavioural scientists at Harvard Business School shows rituals can help with self-control, confidence, motivation, processing emotion and performance. Curating just a few meaningful rituals can help you start your day with clarity and purpose.
When you first wake up, take a few moments to check in with yourself and bring awareness to your body. Notice your arms, legs, abdomen, chest, back, neck and head. How are you feeling today? Observe sensations in your body and any mood or emotion that you perceive. If anything feels restricted, tense or congested, send it a little kindness and see if you can restore a sense of ease. Imagine your body is melting into your mattress, allow your shoulders to relax, your jaw to soften and your eyebrows to lift and slide apart into a gentle smile.
Taking a couple of minutes every morning to reflect on what you’re grateful for is an excellent way to cultivate positivity and notice all the good things in your life. In a journal, write down specific things you’re thankful for each day. Reflect on each in turn, taking time to truly appreciate what they add to your life. Gratitude and meditation are proven to help with mood, stress, concentration and a host of other things, both self-reported and measurable (such as a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol and changes in the brain).
Drinking a glass of water after waking up is a great habit to develop, to rehydrate your body after a night’s sleep. Fill a glass with cold water. As you sip, feel it seep through your system, bringing essential hydration to every cell in your body. Notice how much nicer your mouth and throat feel. Your skin and other organs, too, will reap the benefits. Be grateful for this vital element that makes up 60 per cent of your body and makes life possible. After rehydrating yourself, you could pour a little water into a potted plant to nurture another living being.
A short yoga sequence or stretch each morning is an excellent habit to promote flexibility, strength and vitality. You could target a particular area – such as the hips or lower back – or choose any posture that works for you. Standing on one leg and holding for a few seconds is another great exercise to promote balance and prevent falls later in life. Shift your weight to one leg, keeping your hips level (if you need a wall for support at first, that’s fine). Practising this every morning for each leg will strengthen your ankles, knees, hips and all the connecting muscles and tissues.