“Woke up, fell out of bed...” Do you start your day running around, like the gentleman in The Beatles’ song, “A Day in the Life”? He staggers downstairs, downs a cup of coffee, grabs his hat and heads out the door. That combination of hurried, yet, zombielike, makes up the morning routine for many of us. For this week’s Healthy Habit, I’m determined to start my day in a less cannonball way. Here’s a mini-meditation challenge for all those of us who want to greet the day more mindfully.
Vow to not use the phone for anything except alarm. No checking email, texts or news in bed. Mindfulness experts tell us not to use smartphones as alarm clocks, to which I say, “get me a larger nightstand!” If you do have room for a lovely sunrise clock, by all means.
Tiptoe into healthy morning. Start the day by cutting up fresh fruit, arranging vitamins and prepping a nice cup of tea, rather than diving immediately onto computer to squeeze in emails.
Three-minute meditation sitting up in bed. Focus on breathing. In, out. Keeping a session brief is a good way to dip into a beginning meditation practice.
Up your game with a 5-minute mediation. Starting the day like this can reduce stress for the whole day. I wrote a column, “Five Variations on 5-Minute Meditations” that has some great options.
Add some sound and a mantra. Perhaps the Gayatri Mantra, often used in the morning. This beautiful prayer is wonderful way to greet the sun. The recording I listed from YouTube has the words translated from Sanskrit. (It’s quite long, but listen to a bit at a time.)
See if you can up your meditation practice to 10 to 15 minutes. To guide me, I’ve downloaded Insight Timer (iPhone and Android, free), an app that has 4,500 meditations. There are plenty of other options, including Headspace, Calm and The Mindfulness App. Or books, by experts like Jack Kornfield. There are even “online courses for fidgety skeptics.”
Try 15 minutes again. There. We’re meditating! And it’s morning! Have a wonderful day.