Purpose can be defined as an intention, a plan, or an aim for you’re day. Often we don’t wake up with purpose. When you wake up in the morning, you probably are functioning on autopilot. You may wake up groggy, irritable, or disenchanted. You haven’t had your coffee; you probably grabbed your phone upon waking. From your brain’s standpoint, this autopilot behavior is a disconnect between unconscious impulses of the lower brain centers and slower, conscious, wiser abilities of your pre-frontal cortex.
Unfortunately, the unconscious brain is the one in charge of our basic decision-making and behaviors. The part of us controls the “autopilot,” but the good news is it can be retrained. Starting your day with purpose helps you align your conscious thinking with a primal emotional drive that the lower centers care about. This is why habit stacking and reward motivation work so effectively.
Starting with purpose—can change your day, making it more pleasant, and you will be more mindful and compassionate to yourself and others.
Try this practice first thing in the morning before checking phones or email. Place your phone out of reach the night before just to be sure you don’t immediately check it upon waking.
Upon waking, sit up in your bed in a relaxed posture. Close your eyes and connect with the sensations of your seated body. Feel the mattress or cushion beneath you. Notice the air on your skin. Make sure your spine is straight but not rigid. You want to be comfortable but awake.
Take three long, deep breaths—breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then let your breath settle into its own rhythm as you simply follow it in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe. There is no need to control the breath or make it special just relax into its natural rhythm. Start with doing this for 2 minutes and build from there.
Use an affirmation to set your intention. Say them out loud or to yourself a few times. Examples of affirmations are below, or you can use your own:
I have all I need to make today a great day.
I am happy and content with my life.
I am able to make smart decisions for myself today.
Periodically throughout the day, check-in with yourself. Pause, take a breath, and revisit your affirmation. Notice how the quality of your communications, relationships, and mood shifts as you become more and more conscious of your intentions each day. When we change, those around us ultimately change as well.
Stacey is a Meditation and Mindfulness coach specializing in Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). If you would like more information, you can follow her on Facebook @CoachStaceyTurknett. You can also reach her by email at Stacey.firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 850-879-1481.