Check one, two. Is this thing on? Can anyone hear me over the sound of my beating heart? Is it me or are the walls closing in?
Let me set the scene. It's Monday morning, around 6:00 a.m. You just woke up and checked your text messages and emails. Already, you can tell that this week is going to bare a heavy load so you hit snooze for another 10 minutes then trudge out of bed and hop in the shower to strategize your game plan. (Everyone knows the greatest plans are formed in the shower!) By the time you get out, you're stressed because you can't figure out how you're going to get it all done. Maybe you're a single parent, working three jobs and attending night school to make a better life for your family or you've been burning the candle at both ends, caring for everyone around you but when you need help, everyone disappears. Whatever your circumstances, you've started your week off the same way you always do – dwelling on the "impossible" day ahead of you. Experiencing that level of anxiety and dread so early in the day can feel like standing in the spotlight with no pants on so I want to propose a new way to start the day. We'll call it the Morning Meditation Movement!
Tomorrow morning, instead of checking your phone or immediately hustling to get the kids ready for school, I challenge you to take just 5 minutes to MEDITATE! Take deep breaths in, and a slow, cleansing breaths out. Allow your thoughts to fade and mind to drift. If you're home is crazy and the only place you get a moments peace is in the bathroom then meditate in the shower! There is no wrong way to do this, folks. You just need to make time clear your mind and open your heart to optimism! 5 minutes can seem like a long time but I guarantee that once you've incorporated meditation into your daily routine you'll crave longer and longer stretches of it! Your goal should be to meditate for at least 15 minutes a day!
"How does sitting cross legged and saying 'OMMMM' benefit me? It's taking away from valuable crunch time!"
Taking those precious moments to breathe and clear your mind is thought to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, also referred to as the "Rest and Digest System". This system is responsible for slowing the heart (conserving energy and allowing the body to wake up/unwind naturally), and stimulating intestinal function. For this reason, meditation has been known to reduce stress and anxiety when practiced regularly. Because you wake up in a more organic way, you will feel more rested than you would if you had hit the snooze button!
Starting your day with a clear head space will improve your ability to focus and problem solve throughout the day. This makes perfect sense if you think about it. Why do we expect ourselves to think clearly when we sabotage our thought processes with over-stimulation? As a whole, society needs to learn to take things on one step at a time.
Lastly, incorporating mindfulness practices opens the door for us to be more sympathetic with ourselves. You should never judge your thoughts while meditating, honor them as fleeting observations and allow them to pass. You are training your mind to be less reactive which in turn leads you down the path to patience, compassion and emotional well being.
Will you join me in the Morning Meditation Movement?