THE BLOG
10/02/2014 08:12 am ET Updated Dec 02, 2014

5 Mindful Ways to Start Your Day

When you wake up each morning, do you find yourself constantly hitting the snooze button, fighting the inevitable? How you begin the day often sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Here are some ways to start each day with a step toward mindful living. These are methods I put into practice in my own life and methods I have recommended to others over the years as a parenting and human behavior expert.

Dream Journal

When I first wake up, I will often try to write down my dreams in my dream journal. Dreams are powerful tools that give us access to our own unconscious material and give us the capacity to grow towards individuation, which helps us lead a more intentional and authentic life. First thing in the morning is the best time to recall our dreams because, as you may have already experienced yourself, we can forget or twist details as our conscious wakes up and we move out of dream state. When we listen to our unconscious by unlocking the messages in our dreams, we can go about our days with intention and clarity.

Yoga and Chi Gong Stretches

In today's world, many of us may spend most of the day sitting at a desk. Studies show that a sedentary lifestyle can present many health problems. You may choose to do a whole yoga routine or take a class to start your day, but even a few simple morning stretches can help you begin each day with focus and intention. Poses like the sun salutation can help get blood flowing while stretching your muscles, preparing them for the day ahead. The tree pose can help you focus on deep breathing while you set your intention for the day. Practicing yoga or Chi Gong in the morning can help calm your nerves while also energizing your body for the day ahead.

Surrender to the Day's Tasks

When we become anxious about a busy day ahead, we can add unnecessary stress to our lives and set a negative tone for the day. Instead of stressing, look forward to the day ahead, and intentionally surrender to the tasks that you have to do in a positive way. When you accept what lies before you, when you are fully present in the moment of each task instead of worrying about what's next, you can then move from a smoother place because you have learned embraced the day instead of trying to fight the day.

Schedule a Reward

By the same token, if you do have a busy day ahead, be sure to reward yourself by giving yourself something to look forward to. Maybe it's setting aside time to talk with a friend or meet up with a friend at the gym; maybe it's planning to stop by your favorite bookstore on the way home to buy the new novel you've been excited to read.

Special Morning Ritual

There is something to be said for starting the day with a routine that you know to be familiar, to help rouse both body and mind from sleep state. Maybe you take your tea by a sunlit window each morning after yoga. Perhaps you wake before the rest of your family for a few minutes of quiet meditation. Or maybe you take your dog for a walk each morning to watch the sunrise. Whatever it is, create a special morning ritual that has meaning to you, and brings you joy to start your day.

What are some of your favorite ways to start each morning?  

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