Since our bodies release the most stress hormones within minutes of waking in the morning (simply because we are thinking about the day ahead), we are wise to adopt a morning practice that connects us to our body and breath and ultimately helps to lower our cortisol levels.
Begin your day off right with a simple mindful morning practice that will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and decrease those pesky stress hormones.
Before you begin your day, sit in an upright position either in bed, on the floor, or on a chair and simply tune into your 5 senses. Notice what you hear, what you see, what you smell, what you taste and what you feel.
Once you move through observing the 5 senses, bring attention to your thoughts. Notice what thoughts are present, in your own mind, in this moment, here and now.
Now begin to find where in your body you feel your breath most prominent. At the back of your throat? At your nostrils? The rise and fall of your chest or belly? Somewhere else? Once you find that anchor spot, focus on your breath in that particular place.
Notice your mind wander and drift. Label it (thinking, planning, wondering, worrying, judging, etc...) and return to your anchor breath. Doing this anywhere between 2 and 5 minutes is all it takes to lower your cortisol levels and bring balance into your nervous system.
Take this practice into your daily commute, once you arrive to your destination and during transitions throughout your day to de - clutter your mind and to allow for more spaciousness, ease and flow as you move from one task to the next. Use this practice to avoid multi - tasking. Focus on one task at a time. Notice when you are multi - tasking or thinking rapids thoughts. Return to your breath and pace yourself. Create space in between each transition throughout your day simply by returning to your breath over and over again.
According to the latest brain research, neuroscientists claim that positive thinking really does change our brain and the science is called neuroplasticity. Because our minds are powerful beyond belief, our thoughts can either potentially wreak havoc on our nervous system or can create greater health and well-being. It is through positive thinking that we are able to create the latter. Repetitive positive thoughts can rewire your brain and strengthen brain areas that stimulate positive emotions.
Below are some suggested positive affirmations to use throughout your day.
1. I am whole and complete
2. I love myself as I am
3. I am healthy and strong
4. I am happy and content with my life
5. I am patient and calm and greet this day withe ease
6. I am productive
7. I am thankful for my life
8. I have all I need to make this a great day
Well - being is a learned skill, no different than learning to play a new instrument and we have everything we need inside of ourselves to achieve and maintain it. All we have to do is remember to practice.