The Secret to Changing Your #Mood? Morning Mantras.

Do you need a little help waking up on the right side of bed? I am NOT a morning person. Some people beg to argue with me on this one - just because I wake up singing show tunes at the top of my lungs doesn't mean it was any easier for me to awake from my sweet slumber. It just means I have to be that much more dramatic in efforts to convince myself that I'm ready to leave my cozy bed. 

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Once you start asking successful people about their morning routines, you'll begin recognizing some similarities. Their mornings are made up of a series of rituals that help set their day on a foundation of optimism, creativity and energy. This schedule of morning events often includes all the usual suspects like making time for a balanced breakfast, sneaking in some exercise and maybe even getting some reading or meditation in. 

Something I started doing in high school has stuck with me...and lately it's gaining traction in the self-love and care movements sweeping the wellness world. Morning Mantras. Yup, a saying that you can incorporate into your morning routine to set you up for success. Totally achievable, right? Heck, I can do this from the comfort of my own bed.

A mantra is a word, prayer, or sound vibration that’s repeated to create a state of concentration, consciousness, and connection. A therapist I love encouraged me to start the day with a morning mantra I can repeat 10x before leaving the house and to have an evening mantra I repeat 10x before bed. The morning mantra is an affirmation that empowers me to feel confident, stay focused and centered throughout the day. The evening affirmation helps me let go of anything that created stress or anxiety in my day, encourages me to give up control and leave it in the past before getting a good night's sleep. 

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Mantras seem to be everywhere these days—you can find them all over your Instagram feed, Pinterest, crew neck sweater, metallic bathing suit and all that #streetart I love to pose with. There's reason for all the buzz - motivating mantras have the power to provide you with benefits for your body, mind and spirit. They touch the heart and renew our minds. The truth is words of affirmation have the power to change the way we feel about ourselves...and let's face it, that is truly the most important thing we have the power to change. 

Wellness experts say that starting your day with a quiet moments, when you’re totally unplugged, is important for your health and productivity. For me, this means taking 15 minutes at night and 15 minutes in the morning without my cell phone. It sounds crazy, but even finding 15 minutes to put that thing down can be a challenge for me. It requires discipline and a dedication to putting myself first. 

Research backs up the mantra theory, proving that people who silently repeated a positive word or phrase significantly lowered their levels of anger, stress, and anxiety. Karol Ward, a confidence expert says, “Mantras also help you focus on what you want to create for that day and you can take a few minutes to return to your morning mantra when you need it any time of the day.” 

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Ready to develop your morning mantra? Here are 4 easy ways to get started...

Make an appointment with yourself.

Make a date to check-in with yourself. When's the last time you carved away a few minutes to just see how you're feeling and listen to your thoughts? Pull out a journal and unload your thoughts or enjoy 5 minutes of silence. You'll be surprised that when you are practicing solitude and reflection, you'll be able to connect better with how you are currently feeling in mind, body and spirit. Focus on an area of your body needs extra love and attention, maybe something you've been neglecting. For me, I carry anxiety in my lungs and my shoulders. It becomes more and more apparent to me when I am sitting still and reflecting on what I need. Rolling my shoulders back, doing some stretches and spending a few minutes doing breathing exercises help me feel centered and more connected with my needs. Need help with meditation and breathing exercises? I highly suggest the app Headspace.

Can you hear me now?

After you check in with your feelings and body, start thinking about the advice you long to hear. What comforts you? What empowers you? What motivates you? Reflect on quotes, scriptures, lyrics that may have brought you hope or a deeper level of understand in the past. Write these down. Try not to overthink it all and instead focus on the words that come to mind. Journaling comes in very handy right now. 

We all need somebody to lean on.

Having a difficult time coming up with a mantra? Start thinking about what your best friend, sibling, parent, co-worker or spouse might say when they build you up and talk about your traits. Maybe your best friend always tells you that you're kind, thoughtful and funny. That could mean that your morning mantra could be something like, "I’m a kind, thoughtful and loving person" or "My thoughtfulness makes people feel valued" or even "My ability to make others laughs brings people joy each day." These simple mantras remind you of your worth and the value you bring to the world. 

Copycat.

Why reinvent the wheel? If creating your own mantra feels like a burden, then peruse the internet - Google, Pinterest and Instagram are your friends. Much of the most life-changing wisdom I've come across has actually been on Twitter. Short, concise, memorable...what's not to love about 140 characters of positive goodness? 

Need some inspiration? Here is my most frequently used mantra, inspired by many writers and quotes I've read along the way, as well as my own thoughts (I like to switch them up every few weeks):

Everyday that I wake, I am a new person ready for another journey. 
I am excited by this beautiful life that I have been given. 
I am thankful for another purposeful day. 
I treasure my health, home, family, job and friends.
I have unlimited potential to create whatever life I wish for myself. 
The only limits I have are the ones that I place on myself.
Every experience I have shapes who I am. 
I learn from all of life's experiences. 

I am grateful for all lessons that I have learned through my past experiences. 
I allow myself to experience all of the emotions that arise in me.
I know that to help heal others, I must first heal myself. To do this, I choose to be gentle with myself today.
I release all emotions that no longer serve me. I replace guilt with acceptance. I exchange fear for love.
I am able to find peace in all areas of my life. I will no longer stress or strain to get what I want and need. I know that what I want desire or something greater will come to me at the perfect time.
I approach every person today with ease and grace. 

i will look for light in others today because I am a compassionate person who wants the best for myself and everyone around me. It is this compassionate heart that will allow me to relate to others today with peace, understanding, love and forgiveness. 
I see myself and others through eyes of love, compassion, empathy and equality. 
I believe that love is always the answer. 

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