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Stress Reduction: Starting the Day

Posted Jun 03 2008 3:04pm 1 Comment
Sunlitbedroom

Beginning the day in a manner that adds touches of comfort, peace and enjoyment has the potential to cause us to enjoy our entire day and lives so much more. It is also a great set-up to helping us achieve greater success and fulfillment. While we cannot control everything, we will face on a day-to-day basis, we are able to make small deposits into our lives that lead to greater happiness in spite of the busy day facing us.

In a previous post titled Stress Reduction: Waking Well, Sunrise I shared some tips from 1001 Ways to Relax, to help you ease into the very first stage of your morning. Today, I will continue with additional tips in this series. My desire is to help you enjoy your morning time more and ease the typical stress many feel as preparation for the workday begins. Pick just a few of these ideas, incorporate them into your morning and notice the difference they will make on your mindset and outlook.

If current temperatures allow, open a window to start the day with deep drafts or air and glow away the cobwebs that have settled on your well-rested spirit in the night. Even if you?ve had a window part-way open all night, this is a good way to get the air circulating freely. Don't let bad weather put you off - rain or snow can be just as refreshing for the spirit as brilliant sunshine.

Personal Story: I currently live in Florida and the temperatures are still mild here. I enjoy allowing the sunlight and natural air flow through my home as much as possible. Even when the temperature drops, I try to keep a window at least cracked to allow natural air inside. It seems artificial air from the air conditioner and furnace dulls my senses unless I balance with natural air. How about you?

Close your eyes for a moment, and briefly imagine you were born without the gift of sight. Open your eyes and let the view flood your senses. Then imagine your "higher senses" opening to bring you an intense experience of the entire world's beauty. After your imaginary act of sense of deprivation, you will no doubt feel a corresponding gratitude. Try to keep a sense of that gratitude with you as the effect of your minute's darkness fade.

Say a morning prayer in three stages: first give thanks for the new day; then, for other people, wish for health and happiness; and finally, for yourself, pray for (or aspire to) the qualities that will equip you best for the coming day.

Confirm your prayer through action. For example, send a card or make a phone call to one of the people you prayed for - someone who you believe needs your support right now.

Do a pre-dawn meditation. In many spiritual traditions, the firstMeditationscd meditation of the day takes place between 4 and 5 am. It is during this period that atmosphere is at its most peaceful and free from distraction. This makes it the easiest time to meditate and spend quality time with yourself - what better way to calibrate your energies for the day ahead?

A moment should also be given to write in a gratitude journal. Listing at least five items in the journal will lighten your spirit and mind. This will energize your spirit for the day ahead.

Meditate on your breath immediately after getting out of bed. As you breathe in, keep your chest still and push out your abdomen - as if you were blowing up a balloon in your stomach. As you breathe out, drop your shoulders and imagine yourself squeezing out air, as though pressing water out of a sponge. Do this for ten complete breaths. As you do so, feel the energy of the new day enter your body.

Go for a pre-breakfast walk, to enjoy the sights and sounds of the early morning and work-up a healthy appetite.

Enjoy the half-light of dawn- the way in which colors fill out the shapes you see, gradually replacing the grayness.

Celebrate sunrise on the shortest day of the year (21st December in the northern hemisphere) - a worthwhile ritual of the spirit. The winter solstice, use this day is a reminder that even during the dreariest months the life-force remains strong. Devise you own simple ceremony for the occasion - perhaps a candlelit breakfast, or an early morning tea ceremony using herbal tea. In addition, you might choose to add a golden star, an emblem of the sun, to your Christmas tree decorations.

In summer, sunrise on the longest day (21st June in the northern hemisphere: the summer solstice) is a symbol of nature at her most magnificent.

Imagine six impossible things before breakfast. This activity primes the mind to expect the unexpected, and deal with it in calm, accepting manner.

Shower in the morning, bathe in the evening. Each time of day has itsLuxurybathtub own natural mood or energy. If we attune our daily activities (in this case our bathing rituals) to the fluctuating rhythms of the day, we will feel an indefinable sense of "rightness."

Go ahead, sing in the shower. Singing has its roots in the innate happiness of the spirit, reminding us our true nature. It is also a celebration of the interfusion between body, mind and soul. As you sing, allow the vibration to begin in your heart, fill your body and then the room - it's good to be alive!

Put on a bright shirt and add a splash of color to your day. Your very presence will liven up the environment for those around you! Each color has a symbolic significance. Pick one that resonates particularly with your mood or your goals that day: red is associated with courage and passion; yellow with sunlight and optimism; blue with openness and calm; green with tranquility and balance; white with purity and spiritual peace. If a conservative dress code exists in your workplace, remember you can add a brightly colored tie or necklace instead.

Wear your new skirt (or jacket) today, don't save it for a special occasion - today is a special occasion.

Wear something amusing under your clothes.

This is a lot of fun and you will find yourself smiling throughout the day about your little secret. This underlines that there's more to all of us than is apparent from our surface appearances. Indeed, the true path of the spirit often leads us away from commonly accepted norm.

Wear clothes that fit.Well-fitting garments are not only more comfortable but they also look better, improving out self-esteem and body-image. Don?t be tempted to buy something that almost fits, just because you're bored with shopping!

Wear fabrics that appeal to your sense of touch such as soft, cozy wool, or smooth, luxurious cotton.

Wear natural fabrics such as cotton and linen, which allow your skin to breathe, thereby minimizing skin irritations.

These are just a few ideas that have proven to be helpful for me. I will continue to share stress-reducing tips on an ongoing basis. If you have some activities that help you minimize morning stress, please email your tips to me.

Have a great day!

Comments (1)
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I love your tips! I think that simply giving yourself a ton of time in the morning is really crucial. I usually find myself scrambling around last minute to my own detriment--i.e., sometimes I forget to eat breakfast, or I'm more busy doing stuff like checking e-mail and cleaning my apartment. So now I think I'm going to commit to having a more relaxing morning, complete with writing in my gratitude journal, meditating, giving myself time to eat breakfast, and maybe even listening to some uplifting music before heading out to work.
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