My Five-Minute Morning Mantra
Do you ever have one of those mornings where you wake up feeling great, but then somewhere between your bedroom and the bathroom something happens, maybe you stub your toe or one of the kids throws a tantrum, and then the positive attitude just disintegrate and somehow your serene morning has turned into pandemonium. Or maybe that’s just me …?
We had our second child a year ago, and so this last year has been a state of emergency as far as sleep and peaceful mornings are concerned. But finally, finally, the little one seems to get the hang of sleeping through the night (at least some nights), and we are slowly getting back to feeling somewhat alive in the mornings. On the mornings my husband gets up with the one-year old, I will inevitably wake up to the sounds of my family getting dressed and having breakfast. I used to stay in bed, desperate for those extra minutes of sleep, until my husband brought me coffee, but one day I woke up and realised I didn’t need any more sleep (gasp! the luxury of it!). It was the realisation that I no longer needed to make sure I got every single minute of sleep possible in the mornings, that prompted me to start this little five minute morning ritual.
The Morning Mantra
As soon as I wake up, and before I even have had a glance at my phone, I sit up in bed as if meditating, with a cushion under my bum. This allows me to sit straight, with my spine in a neutral position, without sinking into a slump because of the mattress.
I pick an attitude or a value I would like to focus on that day, and this gives me my mantra for the day. If I hear there’s chaos or arguments over clothing (a common theme in our house) on the other side of the door, I might want to prepare myself for that by using the mantra “I am calm and serene, a loving mum”. If know I have a busy day ahead of me, I might use the phrase “I am organised and productive, I get things done.” I will repeat this while I breath calmly and concentrate on how I feel and act in situations where I might be tested on this.
I didn’t really expect much when I started doing this, but I discovered that the mantra set the tone for the day and provides an anchor when I am about to drift off into the chaos of everyday life. If my five-year old is testing boundaries, I will repeat the mantra “I am calm and serene, a loving mum”, and it helps me revert to that calm state rather than get involved in an argument with her. By having a sentence to revert to, and linking it to the quiet feeling of the half-meditative state in the morning, I am able to carry the intention in the mantra long into the afternoon in a way I have never been able to from the positive feeling I randomly will wake up with.
As prescribed by the doctor
Interestingly, a few weeks after I started doing this, I came across a similar advice in a book I was reading at the time. The book is called Confidence, by Dr. Rob Yeung, a British psychologist. In this book, he suggests that:
early on in your day, you think back to the vision of the life you’d like to lead and the goals you’d like to achieve. Then decide on an attitude or mindset consistent with your values and goals that you will adopt for the day to help you feel more positive and confident. (…) This isn’t just wishful thinking. This is (…) a subtle encouragement to look at opportunities and situations in a better way.
Do you have a morning mantra or a morning ritual to set the day?