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Creating a Morning Routine

While you can't live your life totally removed from the world's jolts, you can create an environment that minimizes stimuli. If you can anchor yourself to a ship of tranquility, you won't be tossed about by the waves of stimulation.

One of the most important steps in reducing stimulation for the HSP is to create a morning routine. This structure will set the tone for your entire day and your evening routine will influence the quality of your sleep. If you arise late in the morning, hurriedly grab a cup of coffee for breakfast, and rush to your job, you're setting yourself up for tension throughout the day. However, by waking up only twenty minutes earlier and performing centering activities, you can begin your day in a serene and peaceful state. Then you will be better prepared to handle stimuli throughout the day.

Exercising Your Body

It's good to do some gentle stretching, yoga postures, or light calisthenics when you first awaken. Performing some physical activity upon arising has an energizing effect on the body. You may want to start your morning routine with some yoga postures. Yoga brings you into a natural state of tranquility and can improve the endocrine metabolism, which reduces stress and stress-related disorders (Lad 1984). Initially, you may want to take a class in hatha yoga to learn the proper techniques. Hatha yoga is not merely a physical exercise, the purpose of hatha yoga is to calm the body and mind in preparation for meditation. When studying yoga, be very gentle with yourself and never push yourself into a posture; only go into a posture as far as is comfortable for you.

Calming Your Mind

Once your body has been energized, try to do at least fifteen minutes of some type of meditative practice. You may want to do slow abdominal breathing. The following is a very simple five-minute practice that you can do in the morning or any time throughout the day.

Deep Breathing Exercise

Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Inhale slowly through your nose into your abdomen to the count of five... hold to the count of five ... and slowly exhale to the count of five ... Feel your body becoming more and more relaxed with each exhalation ...

Repeat the slow, deep breathing exercise again ... really experience how calm and peaceful your body feels with each exhalation ... Just observe the thoughts when they arise ... then calmly return to your breathing ... Inhale peace and calmness ... hold ... exhale any stress ...

During the breathing exercise you can mentally repeat a mantra, such as the word "peace" or "calm" with each inhalation and each exhalation. You may find it more comfortable to inhale to a count of less than five seconds. Arrange the timing of your breath so that it feels comfortable to you.

Once you're feeling calm, you may want to begin progressive relaxation, which is performed by visualizing all of the muscles in your body relaxing deeper and deeper. You can begin by relaxing your scalp, facial muscles, and jaw. Then continue relaxing all parts of your body down to your feet. With each exhalation, visualize the muscles becoming softer and softer. If you have difficulty concentrating on these techniques, listening to a relaxation tape or CD is an excellent way to begin your day.

The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide - Ted Zeff, PH.D. (pg 25-27)


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May 2012

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How to thrive when the world overwhelms you