Almost as soon as our day swings into action it’s very easy to get swept away by the routine, the urgent (not necessarily the important), the latest minor crisis or, most common of all, useless thought. And even though you may have started your day properly, it is simply so easy to become submerged and go back to our default state of unfocused mindlessness.

So, first things first, what does starting your day properly mean? Well, none of us leave home physically unprepared for the day ahead. We wash and dress ourselves – shaving or applying the odd dab of make-up as required! Conversely, we unwittingly leave the house each morning mentally unprepared for what lies in store. Starting the day properly means making sure that, first thing in the morning, you have taken the appropriate step or steps to clear your mind and focus your energy. I suggest approximately ten minutes mental preparation first thing. Find somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, sit and focus on your five senses – one sense at a time. This will enable you focus on what is really happening as distinct from the subconscious programs that otherwise run your life – those programs being your default state of mind.

OK, let’s say that you’ve got your day off to the perfect start, you’re tuned in, fully focused, mentally wide awake and primed for action. Little things like a delayed train, like heavy traffic, like somebody asking you for something unexpectedly – so many little things can upset us. To say nothing of the big things! It can be so easy to wander mindlessly into mental oblivion as the day unfolds. What we need to do is make sure that, during our day, we pause to catch our breath – literally.

Ancient wisdom emhpasizes the opportunity that our breathing affords us to clear the mind of useless noise and distraction and, in doing so, focus our energy. So, here’s an easy, quick and very practical tip – because, after all, you have to breathe anyway! Take a few moments – moments is all that’s required – during the day to turn your attention to the reality of your body as you breathe in and out. Focus your attention on what it feels like to breathe, how your body reacts with each breath that you take, how the air passes through the left, right or both nostrils. Give thanks for the reality that you are alive and breathing. Attend to nothing else for these few moments. If the worries or useless thoughts of the moment start crowding your mind, take three deeper breaths to refocus your attention. As you breathe, realize that whatever might be doing your head in right now will be completely forgotten in months, weeks, days or even hours. Appreciate that, with an focused, alert and ready mind, anything is possible.

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