How to mindfully start a successful day
Remember the expression “woke up on the wrong side of the bed”? Well there may be something to the way we start our days each morning that lead to an either successful or not so successful day. In researching helpful tips for battling holiday stress as a caregiver, I discovered some very sound advice postured by Elisha Goldstein, PhD in an article about things that mindful people do differently. Starting one’s day “gently” – with mindfulness and attention to natural sounds and sights can help us get up on the right side of the bed and better yet, start our days out right.
In fact, several researchers and scientists recommend a gentle start, and encourage one to begin earlier than normal to take full advantage of tending to matters of the mind, spirit and physical well being. One suggestion is to select soothing sounds for an alarm to wake us – perhaps chimes or bells, or maybe pleasant music. Another is to avoid technology first thing and instead focus on whatever nature or beauty surrounds us. Before we turn on the television news or scan our mobile devices, take a look at the sky outside, or trees in the backyard, or the ocean in the horizon. This can all be done with a simple walk around our yards, or down the driveway or just standing on the back deck and breathing in fresh air. And before reaching for the coffee cup, try a tall glass of water. Our bodies dehydrate during the night so it only makes sense to hydrate before we caffeinate. Many people add lemon to that water, which helps spike energy levels.
What is really quite interesting is that these very recommendations are the very same practices performed daily by some of the most successful business people. Mindfulness is not some new age term any more; it’s practiced more and more by very successful CEOs, in addition to many others. And it’s incorporated into many CEOs’ morning routines – right there with exercise, disconnecting from technology, and eating a healthy breakfast.
What exactly is mindfulness? Just being in the moment – and paying attention to it. Being thoughtful and aware about feelings and emotions in that moment without judgment or worrying whether it’s right or it’s wrong. Another way to put it, it’s the exact opposite of autopilot – like if you ever drove your car for several minutes and couldn’t remember passing familiar landmarks because you weren’t really focused. Or you sat through a meal and didn’t pay any attention to what you were eating or the conversation around you. That’s because you’re distracted, not tuned in to the moment. Mindfulness is a conscious effort to being right there – wherever there is – and focused on what is happening, who you’re with, and what you’re feeling, seeing and hearing at that precise moment. Practicing mindfulness has been proven to improve one’s overall focus and productivity – which is probably why it’s part of the successful businessmen’s daily protocol!
So, while hitting that snooze button one more time in the morning is what you may feel like doing, think of the many benefits you’ll reap by rolling out of bed a bit earlier, taking a few deep breaths of fresh air, and starting your day out mindfully focused on your well-being. It may make all the difference in the world for a successful day of caregiving, running a company, or just having a great day.
According to a recent Forbes article by Travis Bradberry (7 Things Wildly Successful People Do Before 7:30 a.m.), “getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. Exercising first thing in the morning ensures that you’ll have the time for it, and it improves your self-control and energy levels over the course of the entire day.”