I wake up feeling underprepared and overwhelmed. It’s a busy day ahead and the psychological cogs are already in cranking away.
Running through my mental to-do list doesn’t help. If anything it induces a sense of doom which is difficult to dispel.
Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.
If we’re lucky, this ominous sense only occurs intermittently.
Perhaps its simply induced by a lack of sleep or an uncharacteristically hectic day.
For many, however, it’s a regular and debilitating event.
I experienced this sensation more frequently in my old physiotherapy role.
With a busy schedule packed full of patients, I felt I needed to be on high alert, subject as I was to high external expectations.
Despite my best efforts, I feared my patients might not have improved since their last session, perhaps due to the chronic nature of the condition or lack of adherence to their rehabilitation plan.
Immediately after waking, such mental time travel put me on edge.
I’ve since tried to develop morning routine to mitigate some of these sensations.
Admittedly, changing careers has helped.
No longer am I dealing with a desperate patient experiencing acute and life-affecting pain, but instead may only be managing an underperforming marketing campaign.
That said, I have tried to instigate morning meditation to ease such existential angst when needed. Here’s a brief synopsis.
Morning meditation and positivity
If you experience a racing mind, it’s often better to place your attention elsewhere, rather than confronting these thoughts directly.
Start, therefore, with a body scan meditation.
Move your attention from your feet up to your head. Focus on each part of your anatomy for as long as you wish.
I move quickly to experience the general energy field produced by my entire body, including the sensation of the covers on my skin and physical pressure points in contact with the bed.
After 1-2 minutes, move your attention to your breath.
Feel the inhalation and exhalation of air through your nose and into your lungs, including the gentle rise and fall of your diaphragm.
Choose a point, perhaps at your nostrils, to observe this phenomenon, but don’t move towards to the breath in your mind.
Realise that any psychological distance and the feeling of needing to get closer to the object of attention is simply mind-made.
Let it come to you.
After you’ve incorporated the two meditation techniques above, it’s time for the positivity component.
In this, I draw upon the work of Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho-Cybernetics, a cult classic in the personal development canon.
Although his advice mainly concerns techniques for developing self-image, I’ve found it applicable in other areas.
Firstly, visualise a moment in your life which made you feel happy or successful.
It could be something seemingly minor, like learning to tie your shoelaces or praise from a teacher, to getting a new job or winning a competition.
Remember this moment and internalise the concurrent emotions.
Now, inhabiting these sensations, visualise a successful upcoming day in terms of tasks completed or perhaps a more powerful accomplishment of a life goal.
Try to engage every sense perception available, making the mental picture as vivid as possible.
Depending on the day, I find the application of these techniques useful.
While you may face a nuanced situation and as with any advice from internet land, your mileage may vary, incorporating a reflective morning practice should pay dividends.