March 16, 2011
“The alarm clock rings, your eyes pop open, and you’re immediately off to the races, filled with anticipatory dread about the day’s myriad tasks,” writes Jon Spayde in his article “Reduce Stress with a Calming Morning Ritual.” This is not only a stressful way to start the day, but according to Dr. Judith Orloff, it is a “missed opportunity” as well.
“The biggest barrier to serenity in the morning is in your own head: It’s how you frame the day,” Dr. Orloff says. And Jon adds: “But if you can do some simple reframing as soon as you wake up, the morning can be a great time to carve out some calm space and time for yourself, and set yourself up for a more peaceful and productive day.”
Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, recommends a simple three minute meditation as a morning ritual:
“You simply breathe, center, and focus on something positive and wonderful. Do it for only three minutes — because limiting it teaches you to find emotional calm quickly.”
(This is Dr. Orloff’s “wake up” meditation, but I think it’s great any time of day—like when you feel the tension ratcheting up! And it’s even a great exercise to do right before bed to relax and ease into a restful night’s sleep.)
Jon suggests this addition that I love: “Placing your hand over your heart during the meditation can add an additional element of warmth and self-soothing.”
And here are some tips that I add: Be sure your breaths are slow, deep and full. (Still can’t find your center?) Keep your eyes closed, listen for the quiet in your breath, and smile. Then the something “positive and wonderful” could be how more peaceful and efficient your day goes after this calming start.
Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia
[Photograph: Missy McLamb]