Five Minutes to Kick Start Your Day

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There’s a tonne of research about the benefits of meditation: it reduces stress, can ease depression, helps with concentration, triggers positive emotions and actually changes the physiology of the brain to slow its aging, to name just a few.

But did you realise that taking just five minutes when you wake up only adds to the good vibes? For a start, your mind is clear, body well rested, and it’s the perfect time to set daily intentions.

Plus, get in to a routine and you’ll discover automatically setting the tone for the day will help with the soon-to-arrive flurry of family breakfasts, streams of emails and getting yourself off to work.

The practice is easy enough. Sit up straight on the edge of your bed with your feet resting firmly on the floor. If you can open the curtains to let the sun shine onto your face, even better. Keep the environment as quiet and peaceful as possible.

Now, inhale slowly and deeply right down into your diaphragm. Then let the breath escape from your body ¬– you’re not pushing it out, but releasing it. When your lungs are empty, relax for a second or two, then let the new inhalation come of its own accord.

The aim is to clear your mind of everything. At first, you’ll undoubtedly be distracted by thoughts of what needs to be done that day or noises from the street. Keep at it though and you’ll soon be able to calm your mind as the practice takes full effect. You might even find you come to rely on it during the day when you’re feeling particularly stressed.

Finding it tough to get into? There is a litany of free apps available, but you might try the ones from Smiling Mind, which has a number of guided meditations of varying lengths, and Calm (it has a good range of free meditations, plus you can buy more if you want

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