3 Mindful Steps to a Happier Day
What is the first thing you do in the morning? If it is something other than checking your phone, cheers to you! I am certainly guilty of this. I peruse my email almost immediately after waking from my slumber. Seems so counterintuitive, to immediately inundate myself with the chaos of life after just waking from a peaceful sleep. Since technology has a way of pulling me in (i.e. a 2 minute social media check turns into 20 minutes), I have begun working on changing this habit, but it has been harder than I thought.
There are a few mindful practices I have learned over the years, but they have not yet turned into habits. It is difficult, especially when first starting, to be mindful all throughout the day. My mind tends to wander to all sorts of places, so I wanted some activities that bring me to my center and allow me to focus on the beauty of life!
Here's three steps that help make my life richer and more memorable.
Step #1: Do something that makes me happy first thing in the morning
Instead of looking at my email or social media, I make the first part of my day centered around me. Wake up, turn off my alarm, then spend at least 10 minutes doing something that makes me happy.
For example, first thing in the morning I make tea, cuddle with my cat, and maybe do some coloring for about 30 minutes. It is a relaxing way for me to fully wake up and get my brain into gear. I am going to be using some form of technology most of the day, so this time in the morning gives me a break from that and allows me to focus on myself.
This can be anything that is technology free! Read, make breakfast, color, sit outside, go for a walk, do some yoga, meditate, knit. Anything that makes me HAPPY!
Step #2: Three Thankfuls
Around lunchtime, I write down 3 things I am grateful for. If it is asking too much of myself to write them down, I at least start by thinking of 3 things. It is good to write them down because I am able to go back and look at this list whenever I am in a sour mood (I keep a gratitude journal).
Practicing gratitude allows me to acknowledge the goodness in my life instead of focusing on the negative; it has led to a happier me. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has found that people who consistently cultivate gratitude are physically and psychologically healthier, and benefit socially as well. This exercise only take a few minutes, and it brings out positive emotions! You cannot feel envious while feeling grateful.
I set a reminder or an alarm on my phone so that I remember to do this every day. We all have multiple bad habits, so it's important to start cultivating positive ones!
If you did not have a chance to read it, you might enjoy my blog post on how Gratitude Saved Me From Anger.
Step #3: Tell myself "I love You"
When I look into a mirror, I often find myself being critical and judgmental. There is enough judgment in the world that I do not need to be doing that to myself as well. At the end of the day, I look into a mirror and tell myself, out loud and consciously, "I love You." I look into my eyes and say it. It is more difficult than you think. And it helps me let go of the stress of the day and remember what a kind person I am. Then my body goes into a more peaceful, restful, positive place to regenerate while I sleep.
Let me ask you, can you look at yourself in the mirror and feel the same wonderful love you feel for your parents, partner, friends, kids, or your pet? You are more deserving of your love than anyone, because loving yourself makes you a stronger, kinder, more compassionate, and patient person. Start cultivating that love of self. You are so worth it!
I have found that writing a reminder on a sticky note and putting it on my mirror helps remind me to do this practice every night.
So here is my goal for you. If it is too much to start all three, pick one. Once the first one becomes a habit, add another. Love yourself enough to not overwhelm yourself. Starting small is better than never starting at all.
Thanks for reading! xoxo.