How do you start your day? Is it up-and-at-’em? A struggle? Slow and easy does it?
The transition from sleeping to full wakefulness should be neither a shock nor a struggle. Get it right and start with your mind in the right gear and things can flow more naturally and positively as you cruise through your day.
The ARISE method is a simple approach to a gentle and mindful start to your day.
When you wake up, before you start your day, sit upright, but comfortably in bed or on a chair. Keep this straight posture during the exercise, your breathing slow and regular.
Close your eyes and connect with the sensations in your body. Tune in to yourself in the present moment. Focus only on you, simply acknowledge distracting thoughts but don’t engage with them. Pay attention only to the moment. Be mindful.
After two minutes or so, reflect on the day ahead. Imagine you are detached from it, seeing it as if on a movie screen or TV, for example. Consciously fix your intention for how you’d like to experience the day. See yourself acting with purpose. This is not about WHAT you want to achieve. It is about HOW you’ll be and feel and appear as you go through the day. Keep it simple and focus on one main aspect of your feelings and behaviour (e.g. confident, approachable, modest…).
Stay with the image of HOW you intend to proceed through your day. Notice how you’ll be feeling, and how you want to appear to, or interact with others (e.g. confident, approachable, modest…). Pay attention to the detail of how you’ll be feeling and how others will respond to you; the richer this image is, the more likely that it will influence your day. Do this for around five minutes.
Before you come back to the here and now ready to start your day, pause. Take a moment to ’embed’ the inner experience you’ve just had. Do this by conjuring a single word or simple phrase (2-3 words max), which you associate with the ‘stay’ stage, above. This should be something positive that makes you feel good. It will become your mantra for instant recall as you go through your day.
Start your day
Use this for a minimum of seven days and let me know how it goes.
Resist the temptation to hurry. Be kind to yourself. Remember the ARISE mnemonic. Start your day with this simple mindfulness exercise. As you go through your day, from time to time, take a few moments to pause, breath, and recall your mantra.