Six Morning Intentions to Reduce Bad Moods & Increase Mindfulness

Learn from the dogs.

 

Ever since I stopped smoking I have been in a much better mood upon awakening. Even still, I like to have a few intentions that I make before I get out of bed. They help me to feel grounded and to remember that living a mindful existence is much more nourishing than constantly escaping the present moment. I would like to share some of them with you guys, in case you can benefit as well.

~Today I will look at my face for at least 3 seconds in the mirror without any judgement whatsoever. I will try to do this at least 3 times during the day.

~Today I will let a few voids exist without filling them with technology. I will try to pet the dog instead of checking Facebook at least a few times today.

~Today when I drink my first cup of water, I will take my time and acknowledge as I take each sip the fact that I am mostly made of it. I will ponder this until it temporarily freaks me out, and then I will know that I pondered it deeply enough.

~Today I will remember that things can happen one at a time, and they can even happen with a little space in between in which to appreciate the bigness of it all. I do not have to rush.

~Today as I eat meals and snacks, I will take at least a full minute beforehand. I will look at the food I am about to eat, and think about what it would take for me to make this food on my own. I will imagine growing the vegetables in the sun, I will imagine growing the wheat and pounding it into flower, I will imagine until I know that I cannot possibly fully imagine what goes into the food I eat, and then I will allow myself to feel gratitude for the thousands of pairs of hands and thousands of spirits that have contributed to the food I am eating, directly and indirectly. I will feel this gratitude and sense of connection as I chew, at least sometimes, today.

~Today if my computer freezes for a few minutes or my phone acts funny, I will pause before getting upset and realize that these are technological masterpieces, and a few extra minutes of waiting is nothing compared to the immense convenience that these things are offering me each and every day.

Now, I don’t fully verbalize all of these before getting out of bed, honestly. I sorta just think, “water, food, mirror, computer, rushing, dog-not-facebook.” I tend to make up new ones, but these are six keepers. The food one is particularly intense. I find that I do it each time I eat wasabi peas. I am still not sure how those are made, and wow, it would be intense to make them on my own. Having a sense of awe and appreciation for the things that we take for granted can be really nourishing. It can help us to stay awake and aware, and to help others to do the same.

I would love to know other little things that people do when they wake up to try and have a good day!

Five Things Cigarettes Will Never Do

For the past week or so, I have been quitting smoking. I have been rather successful, and I will say that the electronic cigarette is probably the main reason for that. It helps me during those moments when I may otherwise break down or just get fired.

As these days have passed and I have felt the rainbow of feelings that are associated with the physical and psychological aspects of weening myself off of cigarettes all together and nicotine gradually (because of the e-cig) I have come to some conclusions. To anyone who smokes, I know that you know these are true. To anyone who doesn’t smoke, well, maybe you can relate them to some habit that you feel addicted to. Either way, here they are.

 

1. Smoking Will Make My Bad Mood Go Away, and Probably All Other Bad Moods I Would Have, Till the End of Time

This is one of the thoughts that basically crossed my mind 134, 786 times during the first couple days of not smoking. I felt grouchy, I assumed it was from quitting, and I also assumed that smoking a cigarette would instantly fix the whole issue. Obviously, not true. Otherwise, I would have always been happy as a smoker. And really, I was a pretty pissed off smoker.

If you ever assume that going back to your habit is going to make you permanently happy, well, just imagine how you felt when you had the habit.

2. A Cigarette Will Make me Feel Better

Another thing I would assume at first while quitting, and, who are we kidding, it still crosses my mind, is that a cigarette will make me feel “better”. The only thing a cigarette will do is make me feel like crap, and make me want another cigarette with more of a vengeance than I currently have.

What helps is to actually look at what I want to feel better from. There were some issues with my job when I first stopped smoking. Even though it felt like a cigarette would make those problems go away, it would not. The problems would still be there, the cigarette would just be an additional problem. Perhaps distracting the attention away from the real ones, but still, it wouldn’t really fix them.

When I feel that a cigarette would make me feel better, now I try to look at what is actually going on, and the case remains true that a cigarette usually has nothing to do with it. This helps me to address the real issue, work with it accordingly, and let it freaking go, rather than stuffing it behind a cloud of guilty disgusting smoke.

3. I Can Have a Drag of a Cigarette and Then Not Do It Again for A Long Time

No. Plain and simple. I have known a few people throughout my life who are true “casual smokers” and they every so often have a drag or two and then don’t touch them again for months or years. Who knows. Those people are not me, and never have I taken a drag and enjoyed it on its own. It is only enjoyable because it introduces a craving that only it can fix. Then, the next one is enjoyable. But by then the addiction is back. Who needs it.

4. Smoking Will Stop Me From Getting Fat

This one happens to me all the time when I quit. I stop smoking, suddenly I have more feeling in my body, and I start to think that I’m getting ridiculously fat. I’m sure other ladies have had this happen as well, even while smoking. Cigarettes can replace food. You can get skinny while you smoke and stop eating, but then as you get older, from what I’ve seen, this pattern somehow reverses itself for some people. Either way, not a good long term plan.

The thing is that when you stop, you can actually exercise more. You can take walks and not be out of breath and you can do pushups and not stop before your muscles are actually tired just because your lungs can’t catch up.

So really, smoking is not going to stop me from getting unhealthy. Smoking is just going to make me want to keep smoking. Being healthy is a choice that is up to me, and smoking instead of eating food has never been a good way of staying healthy, for anyone.

5. Smoking Will Make Me a Better Writer, a Better Artist, a Better Anything

No it will not. Having an addiction means that for a big chunk of the day, you are thinking about that addiction. I would think about when I could smoke, where I should smoke, how much I was smoking, how guilty I felt for smoking, how many more cigarettes I had left in my tin, all kinds of things. Now, those thoughts do not have to come into play during the day.

Which means more time for thinking about other stuff. What I want to write about, how I want to learn to write, what I want to read, songs I want to learn, and countless other things. There is more time, there is more space, there is more health, and I can feel things. Nothing beats that.

So the bottom line is that I am happy with my choices at the moment, and I hope that I can soon apply them to other things in life. I hope that I will have great things to write about, and that all of you have a wonderful time letting go of things that you want to let go of as well!

 

-assuming that smoking would make me smarter, a better writer, a better artist, a better anything.