Stress and being overproductive has come to define our society. According to statistics released by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), nearly one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression or substance-use problems – and this was before the devastating COVID-19 pandemic hit. It’s no surprise then that many are searching for ways to alleviate symptoms associated with mental health, with countless individuals turning to various mindfulness practices, including meditation.
When we’re spiralling down the rabbit hole of anxiety, practising mindfulness is a great way to bring our attention back to the present moment. It’s about grounding yourself in your body and letting those anxious thoughts pass right on by instead of getting caught in its sticky web. Mornings are an excellent time to indulge in a few mindfulness techniques, allowing you to start the day off on the right foot.
Here are just a few ways you can create a more mindful morning routine:
A Mindful Stretch
There are just some mornings that start like a whirlwind and can have you feeling as though you’re being pulled from one task to the next. Many of us tend to hop out of bed and get our day started without doing a proper check-in – just how are you feeling today? Along with a mental check-in, do a little body scan to see if your body is holding any tension or anxiety. A great way to work through these feelings is to journal through them. Starting the day off like this may do wonders for your mental health.
A Mindful Saying
Whether you want to call it an inspirational quote, mantra, affirmation, or showing a little gratitude, having an “attitude of gratitude” is a wonderful way to consciously start the day with thankfulness and appreciation in your heart. If that’s not enough to convince you, then perhaps 12 successful women may do the trick. According to a Forbes interview conducted with women leaders, many successful individuals appear to add a splash of gratitude to their mornings.
A Mindful Shower
Have you ever noticed your thoughts when you’ve hopped into the shower? Whether it’s thinking about your upcoming meeting or all the tasks you have to complete today, your shower thoughts can be chaotic and stressful. An excellent way to bring your attention to the present is by indulging your sense of smell. Adding a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus essential oils to your morning shower will help tickle your senses and provide several additional benefits too.
A Mindful Breakfast
Gone are the days when scarfing down your food was okay. Now, mindful eating practices are slowly gaining popularity, and for good reason. Enjoying a delicious and healthy breakfast doesn’t have to take hours to consume, so it seems pointless that we often feel the need to gobble our food without savouring the taste. Mindful eating is all about taking the time to enjoy every morsel you put into your mouth without distraction. This means putting away your phone and turning off the television.
A Mindful Journal
Adding gratitude to your daily routine is an impactful habit that is proven to have numerous benefits. Identifying your blessings will not only boost your mood but is bound to increase your overall satisfaction, decreasing your stress levels. Using a journal to expand on your morning mantra or affirmation is the perfect way to get into that mindset. If putting pen to paper doesn’t tickle your fancy, why not write down a few of your favourite things to be grateful for, toss them to a jar and pull a random blessing or thought each morning.