“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” Abraham Maslow
It took me 25 years; a quarter of a century to acknowledge the significance of the present moment. I thought the more I could do, and the quicker I could do it the better. However, once I was aware of the benefits of slowing down, taking a moment to pause and be present, my stress and anxiety levels began to reduce.
I spend a lot of time in the future, planning, trying to control the next step of life. The past 15 months have reminded me more than ever that I can’t always be in control. Techniques to help stay present have really helped my overall mental health. Being present allows us to listen with intent, see beauty in the everyday, stay focused.
‘Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists’ Patanjali
One thing that has really helped me to feel present and grounded in the past month is my morning routine; something I’ve tried before, with varying levels of success. This past month it’s not only stuck, but it has been the most important part of my day. I’ve been feeling a bit lost and anxious in this time of change and having structure to my morning has really helped my mindset. So Monday to Friday I’ve been implementing Miracle Morning created by Hal Elrod.
What does this involve? 6 activities to set you up for day:
This is now my typical morning:
💫 Exercise (20 mins) – I do this first so it gets me up and out and the blood flowing around my body. I’ll either head outside for a walk or take time to stretch and flow with yoga.
💫 Reading (20 mins) – I will often put on an inspiring podcast as I’m out on my morning walk. Or find a comfy chair and read my latest personal development book. Happy Place with Fearne Cotton is a great podcast if you’re looking for a recommendation. There is no better way to start your day than to fill your mind with positive, uplifting, inspirational words.
💫 Silence (5 mins) – Meditation, personally I find this the hardest of the 6. As someone who is always on the go, stopping and sitting for 5 minuets of stillness, thinking of nothing is hard. So hard. But I do it because I know how good it is for my mind and with time I’m getting better, like everything it takes practice.
💫 Scribing (4 mins) – Once I’ve finished my meditation it’s time to journal. I write a morning journal entry which is normally around 5 sentences, I describe how Im feeling, fears, joy, frustrations. Then I write down the day’s mindful intentions, for example remember to call my Grandma, set aside time for.a hot bath and get that big task that I’ve been putting off finally in the done pile.
💫 Affirmations (2 mins) – Next I like to say my affirmations, either out loud or in my head (depends on my mood). I say affirmations as if they’ve already happened, for example, I own a successful and profitable yoga business running multiple retreats a year, changing lives with the gift of yoga. By saying your dreams and goals out loud each day they become unquestionable, it’s a matter of when not if.
💫 Visualisation (2 mins) – Then I visualise my dream life, I’m walking around my retreat venue in the beautiful countryside. I see students with huge smiles on their faces, the feeling of contentment and ease in the air. Everyone is happy and relaxed. Try it – if you can see your dream life it makes reaching it so much easier. I often to do this whilst cleaning my teeth – the more you can fit around your usual morning routine the more likely you are to keep it up.
So that’s it – can take anywhere between 30 mins to 1hr depending on the amount of exercise and reading time allocated. I normally start around 6.30am and like to have finished by 7.30am. I then feel that I’ve achieved so much by 7.30am, it’s a great motivation booster. It took some experimenting to find the right fit, so try out the activities in a few different orders and durations until you find your own personal routine that works. My biggest advice is to not give up after a few days, it gets easier, and once it becomes a habit you don’t even need to think about it anymore, it becomes automatic.
After practicing the morning routine Monday – Friday for about a month now I can feel the change in my mental state, the enthusiasm I have to get out of bed in the morning, and the energy that stays with me throughout the day.
Give it a go, you won’t regret it.
Click HERE for 3 Free On-Demand Yoga Classes to take as part of your exercise.