There are quite a few mindful habits that I have disciplined in the past few months which have undoubtedly led to a lot of positive change within myself; both physical and mental. However, if I have to talk about one habit that I have inculcated in my daily routine- it is not reaching for my phone first thing in the morning.
Before this nation-wide lockdown, just like everyone else, I was somewhat leading a mindless, reckless and undisciplined lifestyle. Every morning, instead of starting my day off with a few words of gratitude, I would instantaneously reach for my phone. My fingers would rigorously scroll through all of the social media and my email. And because of this very imprudent manner, every morning I could feel detached from myself. Instead of being present in the moment, my mind would wander around the post I saw on Instagram, or I would spend my morning worrying and deciphering the plan for some project I have to complete before the deadline.
And, I knew I needed change and, I also knew that this change will come from within and that until I don’t commit for my well-being, I will keep falling back to old habits. But, just then lock-down was implemented and I had an ample amount of time in my hand to work on myself, to work on becoming a more disciplined and evolved person. I read dozens of articles, books and listened to various podcasts that helped me in practicing the self-control I needed in my life.
In the beginning, I would always feel tempted to touch my phone. I had this fear that I might miss out on an important email, or what if there is a message that requires my attention. I would be consistent for a few days and then again on the 5th day, I would give myself false comfort and convince myself to check my messages, before even making up my bed. However, whenever I would fall back to my old habits, I was trying not to be too hard upon myself. After all, I am a human being and I couldn’t expect myself to transform within a few weeks. I had to be patient with my progress.
Talking about the present time, every morning I give myself an extra hour, to focus on myself. To focus on my wellbeing, my physical and mental health. As mentioned above, this did not come naturally to me. There are a few tricks and ways which helped me along my journey.
-Initially, I started sleeping with my phone in the other room: This way, every morning when I would wake up, instead of extending my arm to reach for my phone, I would sit in an upright position, close my eyes and say a quick prayer.
-I turned off mobile data/wifi: In the night, before going to bed I would turn my mobile data/wifi off so that in the morning, I don’t receive any notifications that would tempt me towards touching my phone.
-I stopped charging my phone in the night: Before this lockdown, I would always charge my phone in the night, so that in the morning, I didn’t have to waste my time in charging my phone. But, for the past few months, I gave up on this routine even if my phone had reached a low battery point. This would save me from spending the initial hours of my morning scrolling through social media, as I would leave my phone on charging and concentrate on practising a healthy morning routine.
-I gave myself constant affirmations: We are living in a world where phones have an upper hand in our lives. Basically, we are being controlled by them. Every night and every morning after saying my prayer and expressing my gratitude, I would tell myself that I am above all of those things which I believe I “need” in my life. And, that I am in charge of my life and nothing else. I know this can sound absurd to a lot of people but, trust me sending these constant affirmations evokes a sense of satisfaction and peace within ourselves and helps us in training our minds in a more positive and disciplined manner.
-Indulging in mindful activities in the morning: I realised that not reaching for my phone first thing in the morning, leaves me with an ample amount of time to spend on myself. I would concentrate the early hours of my day, on doing a quick-Tabata style workout, catching up on my reading and spending some peaceful time with myself.
And now, It has been almost 5 months and I feel more present and more aware of all the things I am doing. Whenever I would do a workout, my mind would focus on working on every muscle in my body instead of dealing with the clutter of thoughts. During my prayers, I would focus on expressing gratitude instead of complaining about the things I just witnessed on my phone. And, this was not it, spending my morning hours indulging in mindful activities instead of being on my phone, helped me in starting my day on a positive and optimistic note which in turn helped me in feeling more productive and focused throughout the day.
What I feel is that we all have the power of controlling and disciplining our minds, we just need proper mentoring, education and a little push from ourselves to turn these small healthy habits into a way of living.