If you knew that dedicating the first five minutes of each morning to a daily wellness practice, that would pave the way for all your best ideas, your biggest inspirations, and allow your dream life to open up before you, would you dedicate your time to it?
Of course you would!
So what gets in the way of most of us actually doing it each morning? It usually comes down to two things:
Motivation sometimes best arrives when we contemplate the pain of not doing something. That pain then becomes greater than the pain of doing it.
Have you ever had one of those days where you woke later than planned, jumped urgently out of bed and into the shower, slushed down a coffee and then sped out the door? And for the rest of the day you were in survival-mode, feeling like you were a step-behind in everything else you did from there on in?
The day has happened to you, instead of you taking the time to design how the day will happen for you.
Reflect on your life’s current challenges: what experiences are you getting as a result e.g. stress, frustration, boredom, ill-health, anxiety?
Feeling the pain of these experiences can be used as motivation to create the opposite: peace, space, clarity, vitality, health and balance, at the same time building resilience to future changes and challenges in life.
Remember how long it took for you to learn how to tie your shoelaces? Or to learn how to drive a car? And stick-shift at that!
It took all your focus and concentration to learn the necessary steps, and with motivation for the outcomes, combined with repeated practice you finally got there. Now, you’re able to do these kinds of activities without really having to think about them anymore, right?
These activities have become such a habituated skill for you that you can now do them on autopilot.
The same goes for any new habit that you want to create, including your new morning wellness ritual. Just as we would make the time to consistently exercise and eat better if we wanted to get into better physical shape, we need to regularly exercise our mind to point it in the direction we’re aiming for.
Actions produce results. If we want happiness and balance to feature consistently in our life, then the actions towards these outcomes need to be made consistent.
1. Move Your Body
Constriction in the body has a flow-on effect on the way we think and feel. When the body feels tense and tight, our thoughts are easily guided in a negative direction.
This ripple effect also works in reverse. When we have tense thoughts, we feel tense and this manifests in our physical body.
Becoming aware of constriction in the body, and then relaxing any unnecessary tension, will pave the way for a more expansive state of being – in the body, breath, thoughts and feelings.
Take a few minutes to do some light stretches or gentle yoga first thing, either sitting on the edge of the bed or on your yoga mat. Move sure you move your spine in all directions – folding forward, extending back, stretching the side waists and twisting in both directions.
(stay tuned for my 5-Minute Morning Flow yoga video coming soon!)
If you’re currently experiencing any physical conditions that might be exacerbated or where physical movement may present a contraindication, consult your physician first.
2. Notice Your Breath
Moving the body will naturally guide your breath to do the same. But instead of just mechanically breathing, bringing your conscious awareness on to the breath in meditation will amplify its power.
After moving your body first thing, take a seat or lay down for three-minutes, using the breath in the belly as a focus for your attention. Be really curious and kind with the way you watch the breath.
Notice the way the sensations of the inhale present in the belly – expansive, spacious, fulfilling. Then notice how the exhale presents in the belly – calming, retreating, trusting.
Set a timer so you’re alerted when the three-minutes is up, using a gentle bell or gong as your alarm. Insight Timer app is great for this.
Over time, you can work towards extending the time spent in meditation for greater stability, vitality and insight throughout your day ahead.
3. Set Your Intention
The Sankrit translation for the word intention is sankalpa, which means ‘vow of higher truth’. Because energy flows where awareness goes, when we set an intention we’re making a commitment - a decision, to afford ourselves the experience of that which we intend to have.
Getting in touch with your honourable, soul-led truth from the get-go will help guide every thought and action that you take from that moment forward.
An intention is best set once you have moved the body, breath and mind, allowing you to obtain a wise, inner intention without the distraction of constriction in the body, breath and mental layers.
To extract an intention, you might ask of yourself one of these following questions:
What does my heart most deeply desire?
What quality would I most like to bring to the world today?
When I lay my head down on my pillow tonight, with what quality will I have operated with that makes me feel most content with?
If your intention is ‘peace’, for example, then naming it and claiming it will allow you to measure anything arising in your inner world (thoughts, feelings) and anything presenting in the outer world (other people, your environment) against that which you intended.
An intention is best made once you have awareness of how you’re currently presenting. Spending a few minutes in meditation after moving your body
Your intention can be used like an anchor for the mind, re-grounding it again and again back to the stability of own truth and wisdom. Setting and remember your intention guides you to have a soul-led and wise life experience, instead of just reacting to life as it happens to you. For instance, if someone cuts you off on the highway on your drive to work, and you remember that your intention is peace, how would you respond?
4. Power Questions
A powerful day is one in which we get to choose the way we respond to everything that unfolds – whether pleasant or unpleasant.
Now that you've moved your body, breath and are clear on your intended experience, it's time to navigating the mind towards the same expansive and intentional experience.
Getting on the frequency of love, gratitude and expansion through these power questions will help align your energy with the frequency of love, gratitude and expansion.
As a result, you’ll see more examples of these qualities play out in your day ahead. You’ll also be more likely to respond to everything with that same essence.
Want to improve the way your relationship with your partner or another family member, get more satisfaction out of your job, and attract more love and respect in your day ahead? Ask yourself:
‘What do I love more about <insert name> today?’
‘What do I love more about my job today?’
‘What do I love more about myself today?’
Next, set yourself up for an outcome-driven day, rather than being to-do-list driven. Getting everything on the to-do-list done might take you eight hours for example (often more, right?). Instead, bearing in mind the intention you have set for the day, ask yourself the following question:
What’s one expansive action that I can take today?
When I've asked myself this question, often I've found that it's that one action that vacuums a lot of the other actions in with it. Say you've set the intention of connection', and then your extracted expansive action is taking a walk in nature. Along your walk you cross paths with someone in need of your help.
Or perhaps your intention is freedom, and your extracted expansive action is to make five phone calls to former clients. Two of those calls results in renewed client contracts, giving you a greater sense of financial freedom.
It's time to get disciplined about how you set yourself up each day. If not now, when? Start dedicating the first portion of your day to enacting these four steps, and plant the seeds of your desired outcomes. Remember:
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