We all know how important stretching is before beginning a workout. Stretching provides an opportunity for the muscles to warm up, reduces injuries, enhances flexibility, and increases range of motion.

Just as singers run their vocal cords through various breathing exercises and vocalize before singing, instrumentalists warm up their fingers by playing scales and arpeggios before performing, and athletes warm up their muscles before competing, we too must warm up our minds before beginning our day.

Now, I know some “lucky” people who never stretch before exercising or warm up before playing their musical instrument. They jump into their activity and never get hurt or suffer any consequences.

Likewise, many people jump out of bed in the morning, take a quick shower, gulp down a cup of black coffee, drive as fast as possible to work fight traffic all the way, grab their briefcase, rush inside the building, jog to their desk, and turn on their computer. While waiting for the thing to boot up-they drum their fingers impatiently on top of their desk; subconsciously or consciously, they’re demanding their mind and body to function at full capacity. At 8:01 AM, if anyone dares to poke their head inside their office they retort, “I’m so busy, busy, busy”. It’s almost like they expect their bodies and mind to act like the energizer bunny 24/7.

News flash, we’re not the energizer bunny! Black coffee and willpower can only sustain us for so long!

We can’t expect to stretch our minds unless we stretch our emotions, bodies, and spirits first.

In general, do you begin the day feeling that you’re already behind?
Do you feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up?
When was the last time you took time for yourself in the morning before rushing off to work?

When was the last time you began your morning with one or more of these stretching activities?
Practicing yoga exercises
Light stretching
Meditating (try podcast “First This”)
Listening to music
Watching some comedy segments on social media or TV
Painting or doing other art forms
Playing a musical instrument

When I received my first Seeing Eye dog, Miss Gretel, forty-six years ago, the trainer said, “The most important thing you need is to have daily consistency, love, and discipline.” He wasn’t talking about beating my pup up. He was talking about if I routinely did obedience every day, gave my dog unconditional love, and lightly disciplined for work errors, all would be well with our work and personal relationship.

Stretching body, mind, spirit, and emotions requires the same three attributes as well. I read recently that it’s not a diet nor is it exercise that helps one lose weight, it’s being consistent with both every day that’s the key! We must love ourselves enough to engage ourselves in the practices we say we most want to participate in. We must discipline ourselves because we matter.

I challenge you to do something different! The next time you find yourself hurrying through your morning routine mindlessly trying to get everything done yesterday, stop and think about how you can slow down and take a moment for yourself. Stretch, breathe, find a moment to love you. Give yourself the opportunity for your emotional, spiritual, and physical muscles to warm up. In this way, you’ll enhance and expand your mental flexibility. In consistently disciplining yourself to practice stretching and loving yourself every day you will naturally change the way you see and change the way you live.

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