Today’s post comes from the University of California, Berkeley’s The Greater Good Science .
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers, and beyond.
Up and at ‘em! Morning people are successful people. Just ask any CEO, politician, professional athlete or inventor out there – they all start their day at the crack of dawn, gaining a leg up on the competition. Create a routine and stick with it. Studies prove that willpower is the strongest in the morning before exhaustion and other priorities get in your way. Adopt a morning ritual and you will start to see BIG results. So hold off hitting that snooze button and read up on some tips to guarantee a more productive future!
1. Get Up An Hour Early:
There is a 25th hour in the day. You’ve just been sleeping through it. Getting up an hour earlier is going to take time to adjust to, but once you make it a habit, you will never look back. Research has shown, not only are early risers more optimistic and conscientious, they also anticipate problems and minimize them more efficiently. Which of course is crucial to success in the business world.
Early hours foster reflection. Enjoy the quiet and take some time to map out your day. Think through your goals and to-dos. Take whatever notes you need to ensure your day will be calmer and more efficient. Research has shown that even two minutes of visualization and positive thinking can improve your mood and clarity for the entire day ahead.
3. Eat Breakfast:
Time is a luxury, enjoy it and feed yourself a wholesome breakfast. Sit down with your family and enjoy a hearty bowl of oatmeal. Fuel your body for the tasks that lay ahead of you. It will help you maintain a steady focus throughout the day.
4. Say Buh-Bye To THAT One Big Task:
Reprioritize your to-do list, placing the most dreaded task at the top of your list. Instead of letting it loom over you all day save yourself the agony and stress and get it done first thing. You will feel a sense of relief and be more ready and willing to tackle any trivial task that follows. Besides, the morning is the time when you typically have the most energy and feel the most rested. Sounds like a win-win to me!
5. Motivational Mantra:
Step One – Dig deep and find out what inspires you. Step Two – Create a mantra. Step Three – Repeat that same saying to yourself every morning. Step Four – Breathe and relax. You will feel more motivated and focused than ever before.
6. Get Moving:
Morning workouts not only give you a boost of energy, they pump you up, ensuring your senses are up and running. You’ll feel ready to tackle any problem that comes your way. Studies have shown that people are less likely to come up with excuses early in the morning. So with fewer interruptions, you now have no excuse not to set your alarm 15 minutes early and sneak in a quick jog or a 5 minute workout. There’s even an app, Hot5 Fitness, that features easy and effective full body workouts.
7. Pack Snacks!
Eating fuels your brain, improving focus, productivity and memory. Plan your snacks ahead of time and drop some bars into your bag. I opt for a protein-filled KIND Bar which is completely natural and prevents my blood sugar from dropping. Smart snacking is critical for keeping your metabolism going and your brain working at full capacity through your busy day.
8. Toss It!
Learn to let go of the things that are cluttering your life. It’s one thing to try to clear your mind, but sometimes you have to physically toss something to feel lighter. So get rid of something – old magazines, junk mail, apps on your phone, old receipts or papers and watch how your attitude changes throughout the day. Our lives get cluttered so easily, but they can become uncluttered just as fast. Remember that.
9. Go To Bed Early:
If you want to watch one more episode on Netflix think again. Getting the proper amount of sleep is critical to not only your mental health and creativity but to weight control. When your biorhythms are off it wreaks havoc on your entire system. Getting the proper sleep your body needs sets you up for success in everything else you want to achieve. So rest up, you have much to accomplish tomorrow!
Waking up early offers you opportunities that few get to enjoy – watch the sun rise, hear the sound of birds chirping, and just be still. We are always on the move. Sit and enjoy the morning calm. It’s a brief time where you can be alone with your thoughts. Just breathe.