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How to have a Mindful Wakeup

Intention refers to the underlying motivation for everything we think, say, or do.

In scientific terms, when we act in unintended ways, a disconnect appears between the faster, unconscious impulses of the lower brain centers and the slower and more conscious abilities of the higher centers like the pre-frontal cortex.

The unconscious brain is in charge of most of our decision-making and behaviours, and so this morning practice will help you align your conscious thinking with our primal emotional drive. You will be rewarded with a deeper sense of connection, purpose, self-identity and core values.

Setting an intention, while keeping those primal motivations in mind, helps strengthen this connection between the lower and higher centers. Doing so can truly change your outlook on life and how you approach your daily life, making it more likely that your words, thoughts, actions and responses — especially during moments of difficulty or under pressure — will be more mindful and compassionate. Setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals.

Morning sun peeking through blinds over a wooden bed, creating shadow patterns.

Let's start our day strong together. This practice is best done first thing in the morning, before checking your phone or email.

1. After waking up, sit up in your bed or a chair in a relaxed posture. Close your eyes, feeling the surface underneath you, and connect with each sensation of your seated body. Make sure your spine is straight, but not stiff.

2. Take three slow, deep, and nourishing breaths — breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, and gently exhale out through your mouth for 7 seconds. Then, let your breath settle into its own rhythm, as you simply follow it in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe. Feel your chest expand.

3. Ask yourself: “What is my intention for today?” Think about the people and activities you will interact today, and ask yourself:

How might I show up today to have the best influence, effect, and impact?

What quality of mine do I want to strengthen and develop?

What do I need to take better care of myself?

During difficult moments, how might I be more compassionate to others and myself?

How might I feel more connected and fulfilled to my family, friends, myself, and the world around me?

4. Set your intention for the day. What will you accomplish today? What mindset will you hold for yourself today? For example, “Today, I will be kind to myself and be patient with others.", "I will stay grounded, persevere and still have fun.” or anything else you feel is important to you.

5. Throughout the day, make sure to check in with yourself. Catch yourself throughout the day where you begin to feel less in tune with yourself. Pause, take a breath, and revisit the intention you had set for yourself that morning. As you become more and more conscious of these intentions you set for yourself each day, notice how the quality of your communications, relationships, and mood shifts.

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