E J is a therapist and counsellor with Holistic London, specialising in relationships, emotional difficulties, and discovering life purpose.
For information about his work, visit here.
It is a common expression that first impressions are the deepest. And, in my experience, it is the same with how we start our day.
I have observed in myself that I can awaken from sleep, remembering the fleeting images of a dream, and then, within moments…. an onslaught of thoughts, worries, obligations, deadlines, etc all start flooding into my mind. Within seconds!
My coping strategy is even worse: I drag my laptop computer over to the bed and start checking emails, making me feel worse.... Modern technology has not certainly not helped me start my day.
The solution, I realise, has to be personal: I need to find a ritual for starting my day, to connect to my own energy and sense of Self. The purpose of this blog is not necessarily to prescribe what is best for you, but rather to explore the topic and urge you to find what works best.
Jack LaLanne, the fitness guru on The Jack LaLanne Show (the longest running television fitness program, for 34 years) had a routine he kept to the day before he died at the age of 96. He spent the first two hours of his day exercising (90 minutes lifting weights and 30 minutes swimming or walking). Every morning.
For me, since I am a therapist, my ritual may be less rigorous but meant to help sustain a connection to my inner self, feelings and energy. These are some of the Morning Rituals I have explored:
1. “Checking In” with myself: When I work with clients, I will often ask them to rate how they are feeling on a scale of 1-10 (10 is high) and why they gave that rating. Either writing my response in a journal, or saying it aloud, this has helped me start the day feeling connected to myself as well.
2. Affirmations: Sometimes, I want to get clear not just what I am feeling but how I WANT to feel. Upon awakening, I relax with ten minutes gently repeating phrases that reflect how I want my day to proceed. Phrases might include, “I feel clear, focused, and successful with my goals” or “Today is one of the best days of my life!” And guess what? These statements can set a great tone.
3. Chi Kung/T’ai Chi: A few years ago, I took a chi kung/t’ai chi class, which I found a bit overwhelming, with all of the movements that I had to memorise. So, I decided to proceed by practicing first thing each morning, starting with just 1 minute a day! Within a few weeks, I had increased that incrementally to 10 minutes a day without strain.
4. Above all: Don’t check email or texts first thing in the morning! Consider banning computers, and even smartphones, from the bedroom, and train yourself to not check these until after your personal morning ritual.
Have a Good Morning, and rest of your day!