Breathe, stretch, shake

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. In the meantime though, there is a lot of fuckery.

If you find yourself waking up with a tightness in your chest, the grim ache of a gutpunch, or the simple fear of progress undone, then do not slide into dread.

In the morning light: breathe, stretch, and shake.

Breathe: Find a quiet room that you can sit in for 15-30 minutes today. Download and listen to a guided meditation. This one from Tara Brach is one of my favorites. You can also download the Headspace app, which explains how and why meditation improves our health with brief, adorable animations, then guides you through a 10-minute meditation. The app also offers themed meditations for topics like stress, anxiety, and sleep. Focus on the rising and falling of your breath. Pay attention to the sensations in your body. Listen to the moment unfold.

Stretch: Write down three things for which you are grateful right now. Do this every day. For support, get the Five Minute Journal, which provides a short, daily gratitude practice. Dread narrows our vision, contracts our muscles. In time, persistent dread paralyzes, like micro-doses of poison dripped into a morning coffee. We must reach past nihilism, which doesn’t serve us, which has never served. Research suggests that gratitude journaling improves mood, focus, and progress toward personal goals. On some days, finding something you are grateful for will feel like a stretch. That is exactly what we want. Stretching makes us mobile.

Shake: Move. Get involved. Take a long walk. Ask questions. Find alternate perspectives. Listen more. Read more. Donate. Lend a hand. Misery loves inaction. If you feel sore, shake it out and get to work.

Breathe, stretch, shake. Each morning is an opportunity.