Are you an Empath?

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I never watch the news in the morning. I shouldn’t say never because last week I did. Eager for an update on the situation in Florida during Hurricane Irma, I jumped out of bed quickly, skipping my regular morning routine to turn on the TV. I noticed changes in my body as I watched the drama unfold. Within a few seconds, I felt a rush of adrenaline, my heart beat faster, and I was fully alert, even a little bit excited. I felt uncomfortable in my body. I turned off the TV and switched to my regular routine of meditation and self-Reiki.

Here is the most interesting thing: my experience during the meditation and self-Reiki was completely different that morning from usual. My mind raced. I felt tense. It took me longer to relax, and I could not relax as deeply as I normally do.

The minute I wake up each day, before I even get out of bed, I give Reiki to myself while expressing gratitude. The meditation routine that follows is a time for receiving profound messages, clarity, and insight. My intuition is fully active, and I feel connected and inspired for the rest of the day. That morning when I started with a few minutes of storm news “downshifted” my energy and fed my fears and worries. Tapping into the pure universal energy with Reiki afterward helped me to neutralize my body-response and re-center myself a little bit. But I was far away from being connected with my inner wisdom and intuition or from receiving any inspiring messages.

Lesson learned:
Watching the news first thing in the morning dims our inner light and prevents us from enjoying a sense of connectedness with ourselves.

Our inner light is a source of enlightenment and expanded awareness within us. It’s a combination of our inner wisdom, inner strength, and intuition, and this light is the fuel we need to be the best version of ourselves and to shine.

Avoid the news and start your day with an inner light connection, especially if you are an empath or a highly sensitive person. Even if you’re not, getting updated on what is going on in the world can come later, once you feel centered, connected, and at peace. When we allow ourselves to find that calm state, we can choose better how we respond to difficult situations (with faith, optimism, and trust), rather than simply reacting (perhaps with fear, worry, and a sense of hopelessness).

Why is it important to pay attention to what you do when you wake up?

Start your day how you want to live your day

One of the foundational principles I live by and present to the women I work with is the importance of developing a routine that helps you start your morning with a positive state of mind and a grounded feeling that you can take with you into your day.

I have a lot of respect and appreciation for Louise Hay, a motivational author and the founder of Hay House, who recently passed at age 90 and was one of the most inspiring women I’ve known. In her book, You Can Create an Exceptional Life, she emphasized how crucial the first hour of the morning is. How you spend the first hour of your day will determine how you experience the rest of your day. In the book, Louise describes her morning routine and offers affirmations such as, “Good morning, bed, thank you for being so comfortable. I love you,” and “All is well. I have time for everything I need to do today.”

The first thing you do when you wake up is crucial.

I created a word cloud image of responses that 40 members from my Facebook community gave to this question: What are the first three things you do in the morning? (not including using the bathroom.) The larger the word is in the visual, the more commonly the activity was reported.

A few observations about the results:

  • It makes me happy that the most common activities are meditating, Reiki (because many people from my Reiki community are engaged on my Facebook page), and praying. They should be!
  • Other common activities are stretching, reading, expressing gratitude, checking emails, and looking at Facebook. The good news about those last two activities is that they are not the largest ones in the image.
  • Only one person reported watching the news. This person happened to be the only man who responded to my survey. Interesting, isn’t it? I wonder how different the results might be if there were only men in my tribe.

A word about stretching

A few years ago, I wrote about building confidence through body posture after watching a TED Talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy. Mornings can be difficult for many people, but Cuddy says they can be better if you stay mindful of one behavior: stretching.

“It’s obviously bi-directional,” she says. (In other words, the action might genuinely follow a good feeling, and vice versa.) “But the people who wake up like this?” here Cuddy throws her arms up in a V “are super happy, like annoyingly happy.”

“If you sleep in a fetal ball,” she says, “we have some preliminary evidence that people who wake up like that wake up much more stressed out.”

How about experimenting with stretching first thing in the morning? Before you even put one foot on the floor, stretch your body out as widely as possible.

Start seeing the first thing you do when you wake up as an opportunity to create a turning point.

You can wake up feeding your worries, fears, and concerns or you can wake up nurturing your wellbeing and tapping into pure, positive energy. If you notice that the first thought in your head when you wake up is, “Oh no! How will I find the time to do everything I have on my list today?” or “My day didn’t even start yet, and I am already tired,” use these words as an indication that it’s time to turn things around and start your day in the same way you want to live your day.

So let’s make it practical.

If you already maintain a grounding morning routine, pay attention to what you do before your morning routine and become intentional about the first three things you do when you wake up. Experiment with different activities, such as listing three things you are grateful for, stretching, or saying an affirmation before you get out of bed.

If you don’t follow a morning practice right now, how about creating one?

Waking up in the morning might be a struggle, but taking responsibility for how you start your day could vastly improve not just your morning but the rest of your day as well.

Every moment marks an opportunity to create a turning point.

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