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Do you have a morning routine?

When I ask my clients about how their morning begins the story may vary.  Many tell me that when they wake up and reach for their phone to check messages, emails, social media, and then have a cup of coffee.  We want to stay connected, feel like we are on top of our stuff, and not to miss out on anything.   Our phones have become an extension to our bodies. If this is what you do then don’t feel bad - this is what eighty percent of people with mobile phones do.

The question is do you feel better after checking all your notifications and to do’s for the day? We are all too familiar with the day to day demands and commitments that just the thought of these are draining, and the day has just began.   What can we do the night before and then first thing in the morning that sets us up to be present in our day, to prepare ourselves for  a day that is mindful and productive,  and to reduce  our fears and stress levels? Many writers continue to write about the huge benefits of establishing a morning routine where we center ourselves and create intention for our day.

Evelyne is Head of Welfare and Community at a Financial Institution with thousands of employees.  Her quiet time in the morning is something very special to her.  She is up at 5am and spends time reading inspirational material and in prayer.  She tells me how this morning routine has made an instrumental difference to her inner peace and calm and at the same time it gives her time for herself before she is busy with the welfare of the entire organisation.

Hal Elrod is a strong believer of a morning routine after literally coming back from the dead, having been pronounced brain dead and suffering what the doctors presumed to be permanent brain damage together with physical disabilities.  Elrod turned his life around and since has run marathons and inspires others. Elrod defines Practicing meditation or another form of stillness as being integral to a morning routine.

What would be the components or elements of your morning routine?  How can we bring conscious awareness into our life starting with this morning as we awake?   What are the activities that we can do mindfully in the morning that can make the difference by dictating how we are in our day?.  A morning routine can be instrumental in helping us to make a positive start to the day and to anchor us so that we can be present in our day.

I wrote about my morning routine and quiet time that is important to me and how this nurtures me throughout the day - especially mentally and emotionally.  Golan Ben-Oni wrote me this response.  ”This morning time is so critical that I have found I need to do it mid day as well, as well as once in the evening and before sleep. At the end of the day I try to forgive and forget so that the slate is clean the next morning. After all we are all human and we must be given an opportunity to do better next time. This means learning not to judge, this means understanding the other from their perspective, and this means being a different person today than I was yesterday.”  This really resonates with me.  Incorporating quiet time regularly throughout our day.  Watching our self talk or inner critic which has judgment and criticism about so much.  To be able to and let go and know that we are doing the best we can.  We can learn, take action where you can, however badgering ourselves does not do a whole lot of good. Companies worldwide are incorporating mindfulness programmes.  Some of these programmes are very practical for highly busy and intelligent people.

Morning Routine Exercise

Imagine yourself at a fruit market choosing fruit for a health shake that you are going to be making.  Select the fruit that you most want to have in your shake and that you believe will give you the best nutrients.  Each moment is a moment for us to be intentional about what we do starting as we arise in the morning.

This is useful because it:

Helps us to focus on what ingredients we want to have as part of our morning routine

Having a morning routine is in itself nourishing as we are being proactive and mindful as to how we start the morning

Can help us get a productive start to our day with the things that are important to us at the front

Here is what you do:

Ask yourself:

How would I like to start my day?

Would I like to start with a new routine, adapt my current routine?

·

· Would I like to:

Include meditation, journaling, spend time thinking or preparing mentally for my day ahead?

· Check in by asking:

How am I feeling?  What sensations do I have?

· Is something preoccupying me?  What’s on my mind?

· How do I want to show up for the day?

When someone meets me today who will they be meeting?

·

Write down your thoughts about your choices for the day. What is important to you?  This can be on a value level and level of how you want to be.

Learning:

What have you learnt about yourself?  How can or does your morning routine support you to be a better leader and person?

Excerpt from the book I am writing for Mindfulness for Leaders and Coaches - a practical guide for applying mindfulness to work and life.



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February 2016
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