Good Morning!

Good Morning!

27 June, 2016
The Everyday Power Up
Find an empowering morning ritual to create the day and the life that you want.
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Mornings set the tone for the rest of the day, and if you get off to a bad start, more often than not the rest of the day follows suit. To make your mornings work for you, consider creating morning rituals. Adopting the right rituals can put you in a ‘winner state,’ making you feel energetic and strong, like a daily power-up.
 
I like to include a blend of physical, mental and spiritual activities in my morning ritual. It doesn’t do a lot of good to start the day mentally awake but with a sluggish body, nor is it helpful to start the day with your body all fired up but your mind and spirit heavy with sleep. Everyone’s ritual is different. Here are five ideas to get you started.
 
GET UP AND GET PHYSICAL
If I had to pick a single factor that I though was most important for starting the day, it would be exercising first thing in the morning – and doing it every morning!
 
Starting your day with exercise gets your blood flowing and bumps up the production of endorphins (your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters), which leaves you feeling energised for the entire day! Personally, I feel a dramatic difference on days when I exercise in the morning versus those when I don’t.
 
Plus, if you want to exercise consistently, odds are in your favour if you do it shortly after waking. Doing it first thing helps to ensure that something else doesn’t crowd exercise out of your schedule.
 
I suggest 30 minutes of exercise right when you wake up. I like to keep it convenient and enjoyable, so I choose things that I can do at home, such as yoga, spinning, running, or a 30-minute DVD workout. Some mornings, you may only be able to fit in a five-minute walk, but it’s important to do something every morning.
 
INHALE LIFE FORCE
Most of us could benefit from a breathing programme to help us manage our energy more effectively throughout the day.
 
I like to start my day with three sets of 30 Kapalabhati breaths. This breathing exercise invigorates the mind, increases alertness, and creates a feeling of exhilaration. To practice this ancient yoga exercise, sit straight up in a cross-legged position and inhale deeply before exhaling sharply through the nose multiple times in quick succession using the abdomen muscles. Because the breathing in this exercise is shallow, you should conclude with a deep exhale. Retain the breath for a few seconds between sets and repeat.
 
INFUSE YOUR DAY WITH GRATITUDE
It is far too easy to let days go by in the pursuit of more without stopping to give thanks for what is. I started writing gratitude lists in response to a challenge from a fellow coach. She suggested that I write down three things that I was grateful for every morning for three months. My initial lists were pretty basic and I struggled to find things to be grateful for on the tough days. But once I consistently took action, the lists became easier and easier.
 
This practice has changed my life profoundly, so I continue to make it a part of my morning routine. The gratitude list can contain things that are big or small, and everything in between. The important thing is consistency. No matter what is going on in your life (work problems, family challenges, aches and pains, getting cut off in traffic), there is always something to be grateful for.  Don’t miss out on this simple routine: start off your day with gratitude, and you will see each day as a gift.
 
MEDITATION
Creating a morning routine that includes some type of centering behavior, such as meditation, gives you a sense of inner peace and clarity that will guide you throughout the day.
 
When the surface of the ocean is still, the bottom is easy to see. The same holds true with the mind. When the mind is calm and steady and holds fewer thoughts, you can see yourself and situations more clearly. Problems are easier to solve, so productivity goes up – a great investment of your time and energy.
 
Find a meditation technique that works for you and turn your concentration inward, upon the Self. It will become easier to access the infinite well of wisdom that lies within.
 
A CUP OF HEAVEN
I was first introduced to the practice of drinking a glass of lemon water every morning when I started attending meditation retreats. For an avid lemonade drinker, this was a healthier spin on an old favourite. And as far as morning rituals go, it’s a pretty simple one to get into: each morning, squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a cup of warm water and you have a cup of heaven.
 
This drink not only tastes good but it has a multitude of health benefits. It’s a great energy booster for when you wake up first thing in the morning, providing your body with plenty of hydrating electrolytes in the form of potassium, calcium and magnesium. Lemon water also aids digestion, detoxifies the liver and can help regulate bowel movements.
 
Most importantly, don’t ever get too busy for your morning rituals. I have a slogan: “If you don’t have 15-30 minutes for yourself, you don’t have a life.”

By: Lisa Middleton
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