Bringing morning rituals into your life can help improve your day, boost your overall well-being and even enhance the quality of your sleep at night. We asked Kristy Von Minden, founder of Mind Bright, to share her advice for starting the day fresh and calm.
We often start our morning rushing, multi-tasking, checking and responding to messages on our phones, and thinking about our to-do list for the day before it’s even begun. This fast and busy activity can trigger our nervous system’s ‘fight or flight’ response and the earlier we activate this in the day, the more likely it is to become our default setting. This means we may be more sensitive to life’s stressors and can get stuck in a pattern of stress and reactivity.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. If we move slowly and mindfully in the morning, engaging in activities that promote the opposite end of our nervous system – ‘rest, digest and repair’ – this can help us to be more resilient, calm and present throughout the day.
PRACTICE 10 X DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHS AS SOON AS YOU WAKE UP
Slow, deep stomach breathing sends a signal to your brain that you are safe. Try putting your hands on your tummy and focusing on the rise and fall, really extending the exhale and relaxing your body, as you notice how safe, warm and comfortable you are in your bed.
KEEP OFF YOUR PHONE
Most of us reach for our smartphone the minute we rise, to check emails, messages and our calendar – before our brain has even had a chance to wake up! We can also end up scrolling through social media and before we know it – we’re running late!
DO THINGS SLOWLY
Set your alarm a little earlier and resist the urge to start rushing out the door as this sends signals to your brain that you are running from danger.
RELAX WITH FIVE MINUTES OF MINDFULNESS
Try a quick guided meditation either using an app or just engaging your senses. Listen to the birds outside, enjoy the taste and smell of your morning coffee or feel your body and how heavy and comfortable it feels in your bed. This simple exercise will keep your brain happy and relaxed.
Try some gentle exercise before the day gets away from you – movement can burn off stress hormones, such as adrenaline, and get the feel-good endorphins flowing.
MAKE YOUR BED
Research* shows that some of the world’s most successful people have the common habit of making their bed as soon as they get out of it. This creates a sense of order and visual tidiness which can help keep you calm, feel on top of things and give you a sense of achievement at the start of the day. It’s also a bonus to come home to a beautifully made bed so you can continue to unwind into the evening.
By adopting relaxing morning rituals and intentionally keeping our nervous system calm, we help it stay balanced throughout the day, which will also promote a more restful sleep come evening time. These practices don’t take long, and you can make time for them by going to bed just 10-15 minutes earlier.