When you start your day, it is entirely up to you how you will face it. Face it grumpily with little interest in anything happening? Face it anxiously with concern over what could happen? Or face it eagerly, with great interest in what may come?
All of these are up to you. Nobody but you can choose what your day will be.
I know that sometimes it feels as if the world is spinning out of control. Everyone has responsibilities, places to be, things that must be done which are not what they would desire most. Almost nobody wants to see the doctor, visit the dentist, go to the DMV, go to court, and so on.
Similarly, nobody wants to get a talking to from a boss, parent, or lover, let alone deliver one to somebody else.
Anticipation of the day ahead can be spun in whatever way you choose. You are empowered to decide if you are going to approach with fear or courage.
Will this new day be a challenge or an adventure? The choice is yours.
Decide to decide
When it comes to what you have any influence or control over in this life, the only thing which you have real control over is your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Nobody but you can think for you, feel for you, or act on your behalf.
Yes, outside influences can impact this. When you learn something that is a mode of thinking that you may not have been aware of previously, it can change your thinking. Likewise, if you get dumped, belittled, yelled at, thanked, or otherwise, it can have an immediate effect on how you are feeling.
Frankly, unless someone is forcing you at gunpoint to do something, actions are entirely yours and yours alone.
What all of this amounts to is that you get to choose. At the start of each day, you get to choose if it will be a good day, or a bad day. Where your thoughts and feelings take you belongs entirely and completely up to you.
This is what mindfulness is all about. Being aware of this opens the door to better decisions and choices for the approach to your day.
You’re awake. Excellent. The new day is ahead of you. Great. So now you get to decide just how you will approach it.
For some people, the thought of having to make a choice is intimidating. Why is this up to me? The thing is, having the ability to choose is actually very cool.
Choice is a very human thing
The rest of the animal kingdom on this planet has a pretty limited existence. Eat. Sleep. Procreate. Find food. Find Shelter. Repeat. Humans, on the other hand can live anywhere, do virtually anything, and have created incredible tools to increase those possibilities even further.
Unfortunately, even with this, our society has an unhealthy obsession with the past and the future. This, in turn, tends to open us up to depression and anxiety. As Lao Tzu said,
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
I know a lot of people who get hyper-focused on this. As such, as they start the new day, depression over the past and/or anxiety about the future meets them. Before they even get going, they have put themselves in a bad headspace. I know I’ve done this many times.
But you have a choice. You can allow yourself to feel blue and nervous about what is to come…or you can decide to be in the now, and instead work on seeing this new day for all the adventure and potential it represents.
Tricks and tips for starting a new day
Here are a couple of practical ideas for getting yourself into a better headspace at the start of a given new day.
· Gratitude. Before you get started, think of five things for which you are grateful. Say them or write them down and then read them over five times. Feeling grateful easily expands to feeling positive. This, in turn, can open you up to seeing the day for adventure rather than challenge.
· Breathe Deep. Before you get going, do some deep breathing. This can calm you, and allow you to fortify yourself mentally and emotionally. Just breathing deep can be surprisingly energizing.
· Stretch and move. Before you really get going, do some stretching, limber up, move yourself. Mental tension tends to turn physical, leaving you with stiff and sore joints. Stretching and moving gets your blood flowing, and as such opens your mind to the now.
· Be mindful. Ask yourself questions. What am I thinking? How am I feeling? First thing in the morning, before you are fully awake, you are more readily between conscious and subconscious thought. As such, it is easier to pull yourself into the here-and-now, from which you can choose how to approach the day.
No matter what you have ahead of you today, know that you are worthy and deserving of a good day. It is your choice to decide to take the day on, or let it take you on.
Whatever you do, work on being mindful and aware of the now, and know that you are capable of creating awesomeness. Have a great day.