What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?” asked Sheryl Paul, MA Psychology, and founder of Conscious Transitions. She was conducting an informal survey, curious what people would tell her.
“My alarm is on my phone. Once I have my phone in my hand, I check texts, email, and Facebook.”
The smart phone.
The most common answer.
We all seem to hit the ground running, before our feet touch the floor, technologically speaking.
It’s hard to claim that any other gadget in history has changed how we function, spend time, and relate to ourselves and others more than this device. Most of us love/hate our smart phones. We need them and are lost without them. But is it wise for us to come into our own consciousness each morning, immersed in information before our brain remembers what day it is?
When we first wake in the morning, we’re in a vulnerable state, fresh from the world of dreams and the unconscious. We need a few minutes for our psyche to plant fully back into our bodies. To be aware, in touch and have time to welcome ourselves back into the “awake world.”
Instead we fill this soft, vulnerable time-space with the electronic world. The soundless chatter that emanates from scrolling through Facebook and absorbing the images and words of other people’s lives; the silent cry of news stories that scream the latest tragic headlines onto your screen; the boiling up of feelings that churn from reading a friend’s response to the email you sent last night; the rise and fall of self-esteem as you learn about news from work.
Sheryl Paul says she’s observed with her clients that the way they begin their morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. If we start our day by externalising our experiences—as inevitably happens when we reach for a device—we’re already sending ourselves the message that the world outside of us is more important than the world inside.
As an experiment, she invites us to begin our days by only turning off alarm on the phone. Set it aside and resist that strong urge just to “check.” Create a gap between the tender “being” realm of sleep and the fast-paced “doing” that defines most people’s days.
- Practice mindfulness. Even five minutes of peacefulness can set a calmer tone for the day. Mindfulness helps us come into the present moment and ground ourselves to the here and now (here I am in space; right now in time).
- Write down your dreams. Take part of this time jot down last night’s dream. This helps us honour the vulnerable space of morning and fills us with “soulful” energy instead of technology energy. Even if we don’t understand what our dreams are trying to communicate, if we carry one pleasant dream image with us throughout the day we’ll have that to tether us to that peaceful awakening.
- Journal. If we’re a writer or not, even writing down a few positive thoughts of what we appreciate begins a positive tone for the day. “I love to stretch in the morning” or “I’m so grateful for ________. A Journal leaves us more clear and grounded. It’s a great way to start the day.
- Open the window or step outside and let the light rush in. There’s nothing like fresh air and sunshine to reconnect us to our own nature – good, loving, and worthy. Blessed to be alive.
If we try these things each morning for even a week, we’ll find our morning-selves fill with positive energy. Or we can continue to pour technology over our not-yet-awake selves and bombard our souls with electronic noise.