Day 3 of the 31-Day Mindful Wellbeing Challenge, January 2023

What you do the moment you open your eyes in the morning, has a significant impact on setting the tone for the day.

Over the years, I have cultivated a Mindful Waking Up ritual that has served me well .. I love the dreamy pause that I can simply rest in for a few moments, I love the delicious sense of being present in that stillness, and that I am calibrating my entire being (down to my cells) for a state of peace and harmony. This ritual is also a beautiful pathway to my morning meditation practice.

But, recently I listened to a wonderful Mel Robbins podcast with Dr Daniel Amen titled ‘Hacking Dopamine & Simple Ways to Improve Your Brain Health’  which inspired me consider other ways that I might support the wellbeing of my brain .. the supercomputer.

A Waking Up Ritual is a Mindful Wellbeing practice to help you truly RISE and SHINE!

Some Science

Waking from sleep, our brain first drifts through theta waves (which can occur when you’re drifting off to sleep or when you’re awake and in a very deeply relaxed state of mind) and through alpha waves which induce feelings of calm, increased creativity and enhanced ability to absorb new information – it is here where the bridge between you and your subconscious mind is most accessible.

The first 10-20 minutes after waking, when in alpha state, is when the mind has heightened imagination, visualisation, memory, learning and concentration, so it is an optimal time to train your brain to think positively and clearly envision your end goals.

Meditation and the practice of mindfulness are some of the most obvious ways to enhance an alpha state, but visualisation and affirmations are also both powerful tools for gaining clarity on your dreams, so you (and your brain) can then work towards creating them in real life.

Mindful Waking Up Ritual

1. Mindful Waking Up

The veil between dream-state and reality is thin, so wake up gently. Then, spend a few moments simply appreciating that you have woken, that you have a roof over your head, the sanctity of your bedroom, the cool or warm touch of your sheets against your skin, the soft receptiveness of your body resting, the quality of your breath, and the quality of your mind. A moment to acknowledge and give thanks before you open your eyes or utter a single word.

2. Morning Breath Check-In

This 2 minute Morning Breath Exercise establishes a deeper connection with your body and breath, at their most relaxed and gentle state.

*After waking, turn onto your back and rest both your hands (palms down) across your lower belly area 
*Feel the warmth radiating from your soft belly and skin into your hands .. and the weight and warmth of your hands resting on your belly. 
*Give thanks for this gentle rhythm .. the pulse of life. 

3. Breathwork for Waking Up

This 15 second breath exercise from Dr Daniel Amen, leading brain expert, psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist, is ideal for calming the mind and body quickly. Studies have shown that when your exhalation is twice as long as our inhalation, you trigger the relaxation response in your body. The breath pattern is:

~ Breathing IN for 4 Seconds
~ Holding your breath for 1.5 seconds
~ Breathing OUT for 8 seconds
~ Holding your breath for 1.5 seconds

4. Set the Tone of your Day

A healthy brain is vital for any of our wellbeing efforts, and a healthy brain directs our sense of connection, happiness and purpose – so, programming our brain into a more positive state will support our sense of wellbeing.

~ Visualise. When you visualise your ideal day while in alpha state, you are tapping into your subconscious mind with a clear request for what you want .. which gives your brain directions to drive actions and choices.
~ Affirmations. Want to set a positive mindset for the day? then, make your first thought a positive one and say it aloud: “Today is going to be a great day”, “This will be a wonderful day for me/my family/my work“, “I am healthy, abundant, successful and happy’.

I invite you to try these four Mindful Waking Up steps, which might only take 5 -10 minutes, and notice how your day’s unfold.

Key Take-Aways

Listen to the Mel Robbins podcast with Dr Daniel Amen, “Hacking Dopamine & Simple Ways to Improve Your Brain Health”

A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts,
and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.”
– James Allen