I never really planned to begin my days mindfully. It happened quite by chance. I recently discovered the ‘Bedtime’ feature on my iPhone, and being a huge proponent of good sleep habits, immediately began to use it. If you haven’t used this feature, it allows you to set the time you need to wake up in the morning and the ideal number of hours you would like to sleep each night (eight for me, please), before indicating the time you would need to get into bed each night (with reminders, etc). It then asked me to choose an alarm tone. All my life I seemed to think that in order to actually wake up, I needed a tone that would jolt me out of bed. However, this time I chose the first tone I tried — ‘Droplets’. What a pleasure it was to be gently awakened in the morning by a soothing sound, as opposed to my usual tone that would almost shock me into the reality of a new day.

I noticed that I felt happier upon awaking each morning, because of the gentle sound to which I rose. This led me to think about making changes that may appeal to my other senses…and thus began my mindful mornings, which have positively impacted on the remainder of the day.

My suggestions for a mindful morning are as follows:

  1. Prepare as much as you can the night before so your morning is not rushed, leaving you frantic and setting a chaotic pace for the day.
  2. Treat yourself to bed linen that feels luxurious to your skin.
  3. Choose an alarm tone that will wake you up gently.
  4. Ensure that your wifi/mobile data is switched off the night before so you do not wake up to emails, messages and social media notifications. Save these for later on in the day. Technology-free mornings prevent distractions and your mood is unlikely to be impacted by possible messages or emails that may not be necessary to deal with at the time.
  5. Open windows and doors if you can to allow oxygen and natural light.
  6. Enjoy the sounds of nature.
  7. Savour your breakfast without distractions — you are more likely to enjoy and actually taste your food. Paying attention to what you eat is likely to lead you to make healthier food choices as well.
  8. Avoid phone calls during your commute. Rather use the time to set your intention for the day.

Basically to have a mindful morning means to pay attention to each of your senses and keep your mind in the present moment. Brooding over what happened yesterday or worrying about what may happen later in the day only serves to rob you of the present peace that you can choose to experience!

Originally published at medium.com