Who here is guilty of rolling out of bed when the alarm goes off (or child wakes up), perhaps resentful that your sleep has been interrupted? You are feeling tired, grumpy and annoyed? It’s Wednesday morning and you are just wishing it was the weekend. We live in a culture where we all hate Mondays but we all love Fridays. We love Friday nights but we hate Sunday nights. We are all desperate for some down time/play time/fun time. It’s a culture where we either work or we play and they are mutually exclusive. When we have this mindset, all we do is end up wishing away the week until we get to the fun part. When we wish away the week we also wish away our lives and this can keep us stuck in a rut.
Neuroscience tells us that “nerve cells that fire together, wire together.” Therefore, if we repeatedly think and act in the same way day in and day out our brain will become molded into a specific hardwired pattern. The issue here is that many people go about their day in the same way, think the same thoughts, do the same things but expect that something different will happen or they will feel differently.
If you wake up resentful, complaining and negative – guess what? This will spill over into how you feel about yourself and how you interact with others. Mood and food is inextricably linked. Imagine how you feel about yourself and your body when you are feeling more negative? How does that impact on your eating behaviours? And of course vice versa when you feel positive & optimistic.
Change occurs in baby steps. You will not wake up one morning and today will be the day that you are magically going to feel better about yourself, your life and the world. You need to take baby steps every day to get closer to who you want to be.
We know that we can’t go against science, so what do we do?
We need to become less reactive and more responsive. Being reactive means that we have no control over our lives, and our external environment dictates our internal environment (how we feel) i.e. the alarm goes off, we become resentful (because we are fighting it – “why me?”, “wish I could have some more sleep”, “why is it only Wednesday?”, “today is going to be a hard day”). We then carry this feeling at least through the morning, maybe even the day. What’s going on internally for us when this happens? It’s a negative response that can cause stress, and at the very least pessimism which affects our whole outlook on life. When we feel like this, consider what impact we are having on others (including our loved ones and children)? What behaviours are we role modelling?
Being responsive is when you’re in charge. The alarm goes off, and yes you may still be tired but instead of fighting and resisting it, you say to yourself “I’m tired, I wish I could sleep more but I need to get up for work. I may be feeling tired but I can choose the way that I feel and show up”. Here you are acknowledging that you are still tired (external circumstances) but you have a choice around your internal state (how you feel). If anyone tells you that you should be bouncing out of bed singing hallelujah and feel amazing and positive every single morning is unrealistic. There will always be good days and bad days.
The best thing you can do is to know that you have a choice in terms of how you want to feel. You are in charge!
Tips to start your day: Here are 4 ways for you to create a morning routine that only take 5 minutes to help you to get unstuck and take a step forward to be the person you want to be! You can alternate these or if you have more time why not do all of them 🙂
- Take 5 minutes each morning and do a mindful body check in. This is a body scan where you sit up straight in your chair, close your eyes, tune into your body and start to turn your awareness to your feet and toes, then slowly move your awareness to your ankles, calves, knees, thighs (keep moving through slowing with awareness), sitting bones, tummy, chest, lower back, middle back, upper back, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, neck, jaw, facial muscles and top of your head. It takes approx 5 minutes and it’s a great way to get out of your head and into your body.
- Visualise your future self – this is the you that you want to become. Who is this version of you? What does she look like? How does she feel about herself and her body? How does she start her day? (close your eyes and ground yourself – refer to body scan above if needed, then get an image of your future self. Step into that image as if she was the leading character in the movie of your life. The more you can connect with the feelings, the better).
- What are you grateful for? Think of 3 things that you are truly grateful for every morning (and night). This will just takes 5 minutes and it significantly changes how you feel about yourself and life.
- Create your day – Rather than sit down to a to do list, why not create your day. Write out your plan for the day. What are your goals & aspirations, how do you want to feel, what do you want to accomplish? This is a technique that helps you to respond (rather than react) by consciously creating your day the way you want it to happen.
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