"Either you run the day or the day runs you."
If you're beginning each day on purpose, the first variable under your control is when you wake up. Once you master that, your first 60 or 90 minutes can be used productivity. Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day.
Intention refers to the underlying motivation for everything we think, say, or do. From the brain’s perspective, when we act in unintended ways, there’s a disconnect between the faster, unconscious impulses of the lower brain centers and the slower, conscious, wiser abilities of the higher centers like the pre-frontal cortex.
Given that the unconscious brain is in charge of most of our decision-making and behaviors, this practice can help you align your conscious thinking with a primal emotional drive that the lower centers care about. Beyond safety, these include motivations like reward, connection, purpose, self-identity and core values.
Setting an intention—keeping those primal motivations in mind helps strengthen this connection between the lower and higher centers. Doing so can change your day, making it more likely that your words, actions and responses especially during moments of difficulty, will be more mindful and compassionate.
4 simple Practices to Start Your Day with Purpose:
1. Connect with your body
On waking, sit in a relaxed posture. Close your eyes and connect with the sensations of your seated body.
2. Connect with your breath.
Take three long, deep, nourishing breaths—breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then let your breath settle into its own rhythm.
3. Set your intention for the day.
For example, “Today, I will be kind to myself; be patient with others; give generously; stay grounded; persevere; have fun; eat well,” or anything else you feel is important.
4. Check in with yourself periodically
Pause, take a breath, and revisit your intention. Notice, as you become more and more conscious of your intentions for each day, how the quality of your communications, relationships, and mood shifts.
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