Starting the Day with a Positive Outlook

Have you ever switched on the news first thing in the morning and, confronted by what you hear, found yourself in a low mood for a good part of the day? Conversely, have you started your day with a cup of tea in the garden listening to the morning birdsong, or with a nurturing activity such as a walk on the beach, and found yourself in a positive mood for the rest of the day?

What we do first thing in the morning can have a profound effect on our outlook for the rest of the day. From a scientific perspective, what we do first thing sets the tone of our nervous system for the hours ahead. Drinking a cup of coffee whilst rushing out of the door for work may for example, leaving us in a rushed state of mind when we get to work, feeling rather unsettled through the day, and taking the potential joy out of the experience.

By focusing on something we find positive and nurturing immediately after waking up, we can create a more upbeat and optimistic outlook. For example, starting the day reflecting upon what we are grateful for, appreciating the valuable things we do have such as family and friends, can help us to feel more connected and grounded. Practicing mindfulness meditation can be a great way to wake up our body and our senses. Instead of looking at our phones immediately after waking up, we can sit in meditation and allow our mind and body to wake up gradually.

You might like to try the short practice as you wake up (or for that matter, any part of the day) .Start by bringing your awareness to your body as a whole noticing your posture and facial expression. Tune into how you feel and your state of mind, just noting, without judgement, how they are. Then, bring awareness to each f your senses, as if you are turning ip a dimmer switch for each one. For example, start by noticing the things you can hear, then notice what you can see, then what you can feel, smell and taste. Finish by feeling your whole body and mind waking up as if each cell of your body is switching on.

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