Mindfulness as a trend has hit the roof in the last few years in the western world, with more and more people practicing various techniques daily.
In a nutshell, mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, your thoughts, feelings, and the elements around you, allowing you to externalise yourself from the frantic life we all currently live, especially if you’re a student facing stress, nerves, and homesickness. In itself, it is a simple form of (non-religious) meditation which doesn’t have any rights or wrongs: you don’t have to sit cross-legged and hum ‘aum’ if that doesn’t work for you; nor do you have to be in complete silence for it to function. Rather, mindfulness is a method of mental training that improves over time and allows you to observe without being critical, which in turn lets you enjoy a more relaxed, controlled, and positive day.
Here are some mindfulness tips and techniques that you can do in the morning to keep you aware of your surroundings as well as your inner thoughts and feelings as you go about your day.
Check in with your emotions and how you slept
Sleep is hugely underrated by students, where a lot of us tend to nap during the day, have restless nights due to heavy nights out, or will neglect sleep to pull an all-nighter in the library instead.
Sleep varies from person to person, and daily, so it’s worth keeping a log of how you’ve felt your sleep has been and how it’s made you feel upon waking. This is a great way to check in with your emotions as soon as you wake up; if you wake up feeling groggy or frustrated, getting this down on paper and thinking about why you feel this way allows you to address the issue and put it past you, allowing you to carry on with your morning routine. There are sleeping apps that are able to track your sleeping, and this can be an interesting way understand your patterns.
A lot of people are wary of meditation because of the images surrounding it, of religious and spiritual yogis sitting cross-legged with the ability to meditate for hours on end. Meditation isn’t like this at all. There is no need to think of it as a success of failure; rather it is a way for you to take some time out – whether you’re sat up in bed, lying on your floor or in the shower – and breath deeply letting any negative energy slip away. You can find videos on youtube, and many specialising in different healing issues.
Set aside some time in the morning to write down three things in your life that make you happy or that you’re grateful for, ranging from little things like a strong cup of coffee in the morning, to passing an exam with flying colours, to having a support network made up of friends and family. Beginning your morning with this list will help to set a happy and mindful tone for the rest of the day. Also, on those days when you’re not feeling 100%, you can revisit your lists to remind you of the positivity in your life.
Exercising in the morning can be quite the ordeal, especially when we’d rather lie in bed for that extra hour. However, getting yourself up early and being active gets your muscles moving and helps to wake up the mind. Light exercising such as yoga and pilates are great for the morning as they loosen up any tight muscles worsened from your sleep, and in practicing yoga (especially) you’re also meditating and checking in with both physical soreness and your emotions.
Avoid technology for an hour
We’ve all become accustomed to scrolling through our Facebook and Instagram feeds regardless of the time, day, or situation, and we’re just as likely to get straight on to social media as soon as we begin the day. Instead of getting caught up in social media lives, focus on the real moments right here, right now. Avoid technology for an hour in order to let you do all the above points, and clear your head allowing you to set yourself up, both mentally and physically, for the day ahead.
Hopefully with these tips, you can begin to understand yourself more and be on the road to ‘mindfulness’.