A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Melissa Martin: Five things to say to yourself everyday; simple morning ritual can change your life

I am alive, I will choose my attitude for the day, I will be kind to myself, I will be kind to others, and I will not take anything personally. The goal is to begin every day focused on how you want to think, feel, act, and react.
 
However, the purpose is not a Pollyanna denial about our problems, or to put a guilt trip on ourselves, neither to pretend in painful situations. The point is to start each day with a cognitive plan.
 
I am alive today. The news is full of stories about people who die daily from tragic accidents, diseases, and murder or suicide. Acknowledge your presence in the world. Inhale in and exhale out. Breathing means you are in the land of the living.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love,” proclaimed Marcus Aurelius.

I will choose my attitude for the day. Order the grumpiness and grouchiness to take a hike. Dare dread to follow you into the shower. Flush irritability down the toilet.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude,” wrote John C. Maxwell.

I will be kind to myself today. Banish self-deprecating thoughts. Your brain believes what you tell it. Be kind to your mind. Welcome the body that carries you around. Hydrate yourself with water. No comparing self with others today.

“If your compassion not does include yourself, it is incomplete,” declared Jack Kornfield.
 
I will be kind to others today. Greet family members, neighbors, and coworkers with a smile instead of a scowl. Check your face for a grimace or glare. Offer words of encouragement and comfort to your children. Bestow blessings on others with sincere compliments. Mind your manners.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness,” surmised Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

I will not take anything personally today. People have egos, and sometimes we allow our ego to get bruised by the words and behaviors of others. We respond with hurt, anger, aggression, revenge, and we relay the story to anyone who will listen to our ranting of unfairness. People are flawed human beings. And we are not mind-readers and we don’t know the inner motives of others. Often, we presume individuals are intentionally being snarky or malicious.

“If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that sometimes our assumptions and preconceived notions are wrong, and therefore, our interpretation of events is incorrect. This causes us to overreact, to take things personally, or to judge people unfairly,” wrote Elizabeth Thornton.

Reflect upon a new morning ritual to get your mind, emotions, and body ready for the day. If you keep doing what you always do—you will get what you always got. Change the daily pattern of rushing and reacting.
 
Buzzzzzz. You hit the snooze button on the alarm. Wait! Your first thought and action will determine what happens next. Resist the urge to cover your head. Back to snoozing means losing. Push stressful thoughts away and begin the first statement.
 
Say the 5 statements before you open the front door to leave.

I am alive, I will choose my attitude for the day, I will be kind to myself, I will be kind to others, and I will not take anything personally. Practice this routine daily for 30 days.
 
A simple morning ritual can change how you experience the day. How will your morning be different? How will your drive to work be different? How will your day be different?
 
Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.

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