Every day is game day: 4 ways to prepare your mind to be your best!
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
The morning may not be your favorite part of the day, particularly if you stayed up late watching late night shows or working. Anxiety and stressful thoughts of the day ahead may be crawling back in your mind as soon as your alarm clock sounds.
Out of habit, you follow a morning ritual. It helps you go through the motions in auto pilot. You wake up, stretch, make your bed and straighten the room, work out, wash up, get breakfast and here you are, ready to start your day, your best foot forward.
Do you do that for your mind? Do you wake it up, straighten it, wash it, exercise it and feed it? Here are 4 ways to prepare your mind to be your best:
Get your playbook:
Our modern society worships logic and rationalization, which is the realm of our conscious mind. Yet, 95% of the time, our subconscious mind is in charge of our life. When we just wake up, we are in an altered state of consciousness where we can access our subconscious.
Allow yourself to lie in bed for another couple of minutes and pay attention to the images, thoughts or remnants of dreams floating in your mind. They are messages from your subconscious, often in the form of symbol or metaphor, to assist you in processing certain situation, past or future. Decode or look up their meaning and get your playbook.
Increase your focus:
Some of our morning activities do not require us to think actively to accomplish them, such as taking a shower for example. Use this time to your benefit and practice an informal meditation. Start by focusing on your breathing, following naturally its rhythm. It may change, getting deeper or shallower, without any intervention on your part and it’s perfectly fine. Now concentrate on your physical sensations: the quality of your breath, the water running down your body, etc. If your mind wanders to the daily activities ahead, simply return your focus to your physical sensations. You may practice such informal meditation any time you engage in an activity that does not require your full conscious attention (walking the dog, doing the dishes, etc.). It releases your mind chatter and increases your clarity and focus.
Warm-up your brain:
Breathing fully and deeply is the key to enhancing our physical and emotional health. All the control mechanisms we learned growing to conform to accepted behaviors, fearful of disapproval or uncomfortable feelings, unconsciously tense our muscles, restricting our natural breath. The right nostril is connected to the left hemisphere which regulates our analytical functions such as logic and language. The left nostril is connected to the right hemisphere which regulates our conceptual or spatial functions such as imagination and intuition. Research indicates that by systematically stimulating both halves of the brain it promotes an overall more integrated brain functioning helpful to reframe our perceptions. The alternate nostril breathing technique, Nadi Shodhan prayanama, which means breathing technique to clear and purify the subtle energy channels, is a slow, methodical breath which works on the central nervous system. Here is a simplified step-by-step:
1. Sit or stand in a relaxed position
2. Close off your right nostril with your right hand and breathe deeply through your left nostril.
3. When the breath is full, close off your left nostril and exhale through your right side.
4. When the breath is again empty, inhale through your right nostril this time.
5. When the breath is full, switch and exhale on the left.
Set your game plan:
We set our goals, plan and work hard to achieve them. We organize our time and energy based on these goals and it provides us with some direction in life, where the future is always the focus. Goal setting is a valuable skill but it is also a source of anxiety! Are you going to reach your goal? Will you be happy then? What will be next? Setting your intention is quite different and not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead it focuses on how you are ‘being’ in the present moment, constantly changing with the flow of life. You set your intentions based on your understanding of what matter most to you. And you maintain your commitment to align your actions with your inner values. This practice allows you to purposefully work toward your goals with integrity, free of attachment to the outcome.
Focusing on your mental preparation, both conscious and subconscious, in addition to your physical preparation, gives you the advantage to make today a great day! It’s up to you to decide if you want to be your best.
Author: Carine Dieudé, C.Ht., Biostress Imagery LLC, www.biostressimagery.com