Indeed, what one thinks in the morning shapes up one’s day. By ‘one’s day’, I mean the thought patterns for the day which define how one would react to situations. Situations, obviously are quite beyond one’s control. But the responses to the situations aren’t—they can definitely be controlled to suit one’s goals.

One very powerful way which has worked for me to regulate responses and build mindfulness is the ‘Morning Thought’. It is not an original concept. Several experts have already shared deep insights on what I refer to here as the ‘Morning Thought.’

Very simply, ‘Morning Thought’ is what one consciously thinks of first thing in the morning. I stress here on ‘consciously’. So far as I am concerned, as soon as I wake up, my chattering mind is all over the place— having just gotten free from its wild dream-world and into the cage of conscious existence.

A few years ago (no idea when), I realized that to regulate the day and make it productive, one should make the day’s plan early in the morning. I got into the habit of mentally listing out the tasks or activities for the day and my strategies to attend to those tasks. I would mentally list out priorities, set mental (or mobile) reminders as required. This helped me a lot to keep my focus for most part of the day and I realized the importance of the ‘Morning Thought’.

But planning the day’s activities only helps to manage one’s material life.

The next version of the ‘Morning Thought’ I adopted (maybe a year back) was of gratitude. This is an undoubtedly powerful thought to keep one happy during the day. Telling oneself that it’s a great day and mentally (or verbally) thanking God / the Universe for the little and large pleasures and comforts (home, kids, family, car, food, greenery, rest, job, money, etc.) is a wonderful way to calm the mind for the day. I continue my practice of saying thanks to everything in the morning.

About three months back, I came across another very significant ‘Morning Thought’. Surprisingly, it came in a management course I undertook.

I digress here to state that one thing I respect about the West is that they work towards building up spiritual practices into day-to-day material life. A lot of management techniques reflect inner practices of developing peace and spreading joy. I personally believe that spirituality should be practice-able by every person while doing their normal activities.

So back to the ‘Morning Thought’ which I use now.

It is: “What kind of a person do I want to be today?”.

This is then followed by a detailing of the question—some options which I could come up are:

  • Calm and Peaceful
  • Focused on work
  • Kind
  • Grateful
  • Happy
  • Relaxed

This then extends to how the chosen aspect/s would reflect in the day’s situations. For e.g.: “I will be a calm person under work pressure” or “I will maintain focus on completing all pending work and relax later” or “I want to be kind to my family and co-workers today”.

As long as the thoughts are positive, it will steer the day to happiness and contentment.

For me, this one thought— “What kind of person do I want to be today” – sets a great direction every day. It is a paradigm shift from activity-based thinking to character-based thinking. The ‘Morning Thought’ is powerful and potent. It is also a way of ensuring that one’s mind is under control from the start of the day.

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Subhash Iyer

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