Do you ever wake up in the morning grumpy, or even depressed? Do you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you start up the cycle of providing breakfast, organizing kids, rushing off to work, and facing a mile-long "to do" list?
The morning is a critical time for setting the tone of your day. You can start out of the gate frenzied, frantic, and flummoxed or confident, cheerful, and calm. Which way sounds more appealing to you?
You may not realize it, but you have a spa-like respite right in your very own home: the shower. And in that shower, you can find bliss. I'm not talking about tantric sex in the shower with your partner (although if that brings you bliss, by all means, go for it). I'm talking about using shower time as a moment to intentionally reduce your stress and start your day with more "ahh" and less "ugh."
Use one or more of these shortcuts to inner peace to calm your body and your mind:
1. Let Go: As you're rinsing off your body, name three things that are troubling you. Say, "I release this worry," and imagine it washing off of you and going down the drain. Trigger your body's relaxation response by heaving a big sigh of relief and then let the water carry away your concerns.
2. Gratitude: If you've ever been to a country without indoor plumbing -- or a youth hostel with limited hot water -- you'll know that your shower is a modern miracle. Be grateful that you can step into a tiled sanctuary, turn a knob, and have hot water rain upon you. Let your gratitude sink in deep and it will change the trajectory of your day.
3. Mindfulness: Bring your attention to all of the sensations on your body. Feel the water cascading on to your skin. Feel your hand on the soap. Feel your toes gripping the floor. Be completely present in your senses and notice how your mind clears and your body relaxes.
4. Inhale: Let the scents around you stimulate your imagination. Smell the tropical fusion shampoo, the honey citrus bath wash, the ocean breeze conditioner. Your shower is a veritable aroma therapy treasure trove. Redirect your mind to a place and time of calm and relaxation. Close your eyes and let each scent take you away.
5. Open Heart: Use the shower to generate loving feelings. Imagine the love that another has for you raining down with each drop of water. Maybe today you know and feel how your grandma loves you, your dog loves you, your partner loves you, or your kids love you (unless they're teenagers!). Saturate yourself in that love and feel your heart opening. Face your day with a heart full of love and all things will go smoother.
6. Sing: It may be cliché, but singing in the shower will lift your spirits and turn your day around! Choose a song that makes you smile and warms your heart. Try a holiday song, a top hit from your high school days or a ditty from summer camp long ago. Use this time honored tradition to shift your mood while the water calms your body.
With these six tips, you may find that shower time is the best part of your day. But don't stay in there too long, a fresh day awaits.
For more by Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.