Morning Routine

What’s your morning routine? Do you fall out of bed after hitting the snooze button a dozen times, jump in the shower, and rush off to work? Or do you take a few moments to wake up, drink tea or coffee, read or write, exercise, and prepare for your day?

I find that my morning routine really matters. If I start out rushed, frazzled, or running behind, so goes the day. If I give myself time to check in and get centered, then my day unfolds in a similar fashion.

In a world where we’re constantly asked to react and respond, where the work day can start any time and end whenever, giving yourself just a little time to wake up and re-enter the world could make a BIG difference.

Try giving yourself time to wake up, check in, and decide what matters today. Your mind and body will thank you later.

What he said…

This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson is so beautiful, it needs to be its own meditation:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Slowing Down to Get Ahead

A world famous baseball pitcher was recently interviewed after a record-breaking season. Asked to explain how he managed to pitch five shutout games in a row, he said, “I spent a year slowing down so that I could play better.”

He explained that slowing down allowed him to refine his form, build his stamina, and clarify his strategy. He slowed down his workout, he slowed down his practices, and he slowed down his pitches. Slowing down improved his concentration and enhanced his performance. It taught him how to think.

Slowing down to get ahead is anti-intuitive. Faced with a myriad of things on our to-do lists, it’s natural to think that we need to speed up, move faster, make quick decisions.

Today, if you feel overwhelmed by your workload, if your to-do list gives you agita, try slowing down. Focus in on what you’re doing right now. If your mind starts to race, take a few slow deep breaths and see if you can reduce the sense of urgency.

See if slowing down, just a little bit, can help you get ahead.

30 seconds of gratitude

If you’re in a situation that is stressful or you work with someone who really bothers you, it’s easy to focus on what’s wrong, and difficult to remember what’s right. Gratitude can be a powerful weapon in the battle against emotional heartburn at work.

Not sappy gratitude for things you don’t really care about; Not imposed gratitude from someone else’s list (as in “you should be happy you have a job.”) What counts is True Gratitude for the people and things that you appreciate.

You know, that parking attendant who always greets you with a smile, or your favorite coffee bar. Maybe you’re grateful for an easy commute, or thankful for a favorite song that you hear playing.

Consciously practicing gratitude can alleviate all kinds of stress. Why? Because an attitude of gratitude puts you in the NOW. It allows you to pause and appreciate what is — instead of bemoaning what isn’t. And what we focus on does tend to build. Today, try just 30 seconds of gratitude. Just 30 seconds of appreciating what is good in your life. You’ll be glad you did.

Do you unhook?

Unhooking is a system for changing your reaction to emotionally upsetting circumstances at work. It could be a difficult coworker, a demanding boss or an impossible client. To unhook, you have to stop waiting for the other person to change, and start taking back your power. The first step in unhooking is physical.

Unhook physically by taking actions to release the negative energy stored in your body from dealing with someone else’s bad behavior. Methods for unhooking physically include washing your face, taking a walk, playing sports, working out, doing yoga or simply breathing slowly and deeply. Try it today. If you feel your head throbbing, your neck aching, your stomach churning or your arms tingling, do something physical to unhook. You’ll be glad you did.

Good days, Bad days

Some days start off well and glide by seamlessly. Other days are stressful from the start. If your workday looks like the former, take a moment to really enjoy the ease of it all. Appreciate your work environment and savor your interactions. If your workday is the latter (highly stressful), take many moments throughout the day to B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Breathing is the easiest way to calm your mind and soothe your nervous system. Breathe in deeply (counting to three), hold the breath briefly (counting to three), and breathe out slowly (counting to six). Do this until you feel your body calm down. Breathing won’t solve everything, but it will help. Try it and see.