First a quick reminder of what mindfulness is.
Mindfulness is being fully present in the moment, accepting whatever thoughts and emotions you are experiencing, with openness and without judgment.
#5 Mindfulness helps you find space from your unhelpful thoughts
Unhelpful thoughts are the negative thoughts your mind throws at you to try to keep you safe. By safe I mean free from fear, rejections, and disappointment. For example, you might really want to ask someone out but your mind will try to protect you from rejection by telling you “He/she will say no” or “I’m not good looking enough or smart enough to date this person”. The problem is that what keeps you safe is also what keeps you stuck- not taking action. When you can find space between yourself and these thoughts, and look at them from a distance, you find the space nec-essary to make a choice. Is this thought helpful to me? Will it get me closer to what I want? If not, then I can choose to let this thought be there and not buy into it. I can choose to take action any-way and ask this person out.
#4 Increases Focus
Mindfulness is such a great way to start the day because when you live in the present
moment, you don’t miss what is going on around you. You are able to savor the little moments in life that you might normally miss when you are in your head worrying about what you should have done yesterday or what you need to do tomorrow. This could be anything from something funny your child says to a beautiful butterfly crossing your path. It’s these seemingly small moments that link together to make a wonderfully satisfying day.
#3 Living in the moment keeps anxiety from taking over
Mindfulness is about living in the present moment. If you begin your day living in the here and now, you are less likely to get caught up in worrying about the past or the future. This worry in-creases the symptoms of anxiety. By living in the present moment, you will be less preoccupied with yourself, and your worries, and more focused on things outside of yourself.
#2 Acting instead of Reacting
In your mindfulness practice, you can set your intentions for the day. You may have a coworker
who gets on your every last nerve, or tries to undermine you at every turn. Or you may have a teenager who pushes your buttons. In your morning mindfulness practice, you can determine
what you want your words and actions to stand for that day. Then you are ready if something happens with your coworker or your teen. You have predetermined how you want to act based on who you want to be. Now you are less likely to react in a way that you might regret later because it was not congruent with who you want to be (which of course can pull you out of the present moment and cause rumination, or worry, about the past).
#1 Sets you up for a fulfilling day
During your morning mindfulness routine, you can examine what is most important to you, or what you value most. Then you can prioritize those values for the day. Next, you can think about what actions will get you closer to what you value and any goals you have set in accordance with those values. Then you can decide to take 2-3 actions that will get you closer to those goals and values.
For instance, if my top values (what I want to stand for or be known for) are loving and caring for my family, and being a supportive, compassionate, and knowledgeable therapist, I will think of actions that will show that both of these are important to me. With regard to loving and caring for my family, these actions might be making a nutritious breakfast and lunch for my son, picking him up from school and talking about his day, and having dinner with my husband and learning about his day. To be a supportive, compassionate therapist, I decide to be fully present in each counsel-ing session with my clients, and research anything that comes up that I am not completely clear about. By setting my intentions for the day and acting in accordance with what is important to me, when I reach the end of my day, I feel fulfilled and satisfied with myself and how I spent my time.
The bottom line is that when you start your day with mindfulness, you set yourself up to act intentionally toward what is important to you.