Day: 17 November 2014


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For every early bird there’s at least a few of us who can’t seem to wake up before a certain hour. Truth is, the majority of people up for school and work at 6am have trained themselves to do so. I’ve learned how good it can feel to have a successful, productive morning (I love to multitask), but that’s not to say it’s a total breeze! For some, literally having a “good morning” is easier than others. But no matter what’s ahead each morning, there are ways to streamline and improve the first part of your day for good.

1. Consider your sleep cycles.

Nowadays there are tons of apps dedicated to making you feel refreshed when you wake up. Because our bodies go through sleep cycles in the night, simply telling them to wake up at an exact time each morning isn’t ideal. With the Sleep Cycle alarm clock, your alarm goes off during your lightest sleep cycle so you don’t wake up in the middle of a deep sleep that would lead to that foggy, groggy feeling right off the bat. It should also minimize the time you spend hitting snooze because you don’t feel as exhausted, and snooze only worsens your issue!

2. Save decisions for the night before.

Remember when your mom used to lay clothes out the night before? It’s not a bad idea! While choosing an outfit seems simple, we all know it can cause a headache in the morning. And when you’re not fully on your game, those conflicts tend to waste more time than they should. This can also include prepping a meal or writing your to-do list the night before. Let’s face it, we’re not all there when we first wake up… Might as well leave the decision making for a more clear-headed moment.

3. Find your morning ritual.

Whether you take 5 minutes or an hour out of your morning to do something that you WANT to do, it makes all the difference. This could mean working out, going for a walk, sipping coffee, meditation, whatever helps you to calm and refocus, and possibly even energize you for the day ahead. Just make sure that ritual isn’t more sleep! 😉

4. Time the necessities.

Knowing how much time it takes to prep your hair or complete your beauty look is essential to streamlining your routine. Try timing your morning routine for a week straight and then analyzing the results – you’ll see whether you’re waking up at the appropriate time and whether certain things ended up being cut for lack of time (#3 is usually the first to go when you’re in a rush!). Then, you can continue to step 5:

5. Find a system.

Some people thrive on repetition and some are better with spontaneity, so I won’t say that you need to complete an exact regimen daily in order to have a successful morning. However, you do want to find a type of routine that works for you. That might mean performing your morning ritual right when you wake up or as a break in between getting ready. It could also mean washing your hair the night before to save time or switching things up a bit mid-week.

What’s your morning routine? Any tips?

Sara Dal Monte

Schermata 2014/07/23 alle 22.40.56

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I am not an expert on this matter. I am simply somebody who has dealt with anxiety for about 15 years now and have found meditation a near cure for my symptoms. If you’re currently on a path that works for you, I suggest simply adding meditation to your daily routine to see where it takes you.I’m extremely happy to report that I’ve been meditating daily since August 11, 2014, when I began the Oprah/Deepak Meditation Experience, and I really feel incredible because of it.

It’s been about two months now, so not super long, but most definitely long enough to have noticed a huge difference in the way my brain works, or better yet, the way my mind works floating somewhere inside my brain, and though I haven’t noticed changes anywhere else, according to this article Harvard Yoga Scientists Find Proof of Meditation Benefit, meditation has even affected my body.

Guided meditations were most definitely what I needed {and still need} to meditate effectively at this point, because I’m not disciplined enough to do it on my own, but I really enjoy the guided versions.

Although I fell a few days behind somewhere in the middle of the Oprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation challenge, I continued on and meditated every day after. Since the meditations in the program were available for 5 days after going live, I didn’t miss a single one. And I truly loved it. Like I said, I found that it was much easier to mediate with a guided meditation vs just going into a room and sitting quietly alone and focusing on my breathing. If you’ve been trying to incorporate meditation into your life but haven’t found your rhythm, try a 15-20 minute guided one instead.

I specifically LOVE Deepak’s meditations as they each begin with a few minutes of positive words from Oprah & then Deepak, which lead to a centering thought for the day {like Happiness is my true nature}, then offering a mantra {like ananda hum} to repeat during the meditation, and finally leaving the listener with a calming musical background to focus on the mantra and the meditation. It not only made it so much easier to focus and meditate, it really made me look forward to each day’s meditations.

I feel like this sounds a little cheesy, but in all honesty, it’s amazing… and I completely recommend it to anyone specifically struggling with anxiety and/or any other mental dis-ease.

What took me so long to begin meditating daily was that no matter how many times I read or heard about its amazing benefits, once I began {and would maybe go for 3 days straight}, I didn’t get an immediate result that I could physically see or feel {meaning, my anxiety didn’t disappear immediately, etc.} and so making it a habit was quite difficult. It’s not like taking a Xanax, for instance when you feel like you’re spiraling out of control, and it levels you down in a way, but over time, when it finally does kick in, it works far better than a Xanax does.

But like beginning a healthy diet or workout regimen, it takes patience to see the results from meditation, and sometimes that’s the most difficult part. The 21 day challenge motivated me to do it daily and thus helped create the habit that I now look forward to every day. Seriously

“The present moment is eternal because it endlessly renews itself. ~ Deepak Chopra”

I can’t really put my finger on exactly what has changed within, but it was somewhere at the beginning of month two and it has something to do with clarity of mind, feeling like there is quiet in the space in between the thoughts, and less {or NO} overall rapid negative and fearful streaming thoughts… the ones that cause anxiety and worry and lead to more fearful thoughts that lead to more anxiety as well as the ones that keep me up at night.

There’s room now for balance in a way I can’t even really explain. The constant and overall fear that went with me everywhere was just suddenly not there. It was something that just happened over time and then one day I noticed that I wasn’t making decisions {small and large} based on fear anymore and it felt truly amazing. Honestly, it’s been over ten years since I’ve had this kind of clarity within, this quiet, this balance, and I have to give all the credit to meditation.

I’ve had a few moments where my old programming and swirling negative thoughts have crept back in in a moment of weakness and rather than allowing my mind to quickly spin out of control as I would have in the past, feeding the negativity with more fear and then worrying about anxiety or being anxious about something, I seemingly have had a whole new bag of tools and vocabulary that immediately flood in and calm me down without much effort at all. I am surprised by it every day.

But meditation’s slow like honey approach didn’t make all of this happen overnight, yet it’s only been two months and somehow I am free from the grip of the overall fear and the fear of anxiety itself. I worry that even talking about it like this will somehow jinx it into not working anymore and it’s so incredible that I don’t even want to go one day without it.

It has also kept me more level-headed during events that would normally fire me up or make me angry… I find myself calm, level-headed, and far less emotional overall.

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. ~ Deepak Chopra”

Since the free meditations ended though, I’ve been on the hunt for more by Deepak, with only a little luck. I’ve found a few great ones on Youtube, but the other day finally broke down and bought 2 different Oprah/Deepak Meditations to download to my phone {Expanding Your Happiness and Perfect Health both $49.99ea}, and downloaded the free Meditation Experience app so that I could access them any time I wanted to… and even though I did it reluctantly, I’m so happy with them I kick myself for not doing it sooner.

Generally I meditate as soon as I wake up, while I’m still in bed, cozy and relaxed. If I have to get up in a hurry and don’t have time, I’ll usually meditate sometime around lunchtime, and sometimes I take 15 mins in the morning and 15 more at lunch… but I never miss it now. I also found this 46minute video The Secret of Healing – Meditations For Transformation and Higher Consciousness on Youtube which I put on and stretch/do yoga to at night to relax before bedtime. Stretching before bed is something I’ve done since I was about 18 years old, but my commitment to it hasn’t been at full capacity for years and I get lazy. I rarely skip a night now that I have this to accompany it. It’s so soothing, completely free and fabulous. In fact, sometimes if I’m having trouble sleeping at night, I listen to it on my iPhone in bed.

Free Deepak 10-20 Minute Meditations on Youtube…

These may help you decide if you like his style and find him as helpful as I did. I really tried a few others I found too, from different people, but none of them resonated with me the way his did.

* Deepak Chopra – The secret of Attraction meditation about 12mins
* Oprah/Deepak 21 Meditation the whole thing free on youtube!
* Random Meditations with Deepak and a few more.

To begin, all he says is make yourself comfortable and close your eyes… and for me, this means I don’t have to sit in any particular way to meditate as I thought prior. In fact, unless I’m stretching through it at night, I lay flat on my back, and that seems to work for me just fine.

Try it… I’m telling you, it’s kind of incredible!

Sara Dal Monte

Schermata 2014/07/23 alle 22.40.56

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