Many people struggle with getting motivated to start their day off with a sense of mindfulness, calm, groundedness, and ease. There are plenty of reasons why this happens. Some people simply don’t know where to begin. Others may not know what to do or how to start. Still, others may feel too tired to even think about starting something new. Whatever the reason, there are several simple steps you can take to motivate yourself to create a more mindful morning.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a quality of awareness that recognizes the present moment, including thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. It focuses on the here and now, rather than being caught up in past or future events. Mindfulness helps us to live in the present. It is a skill that can be learned and cultivated over time.
Mindfulness is a term used to describe being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and actions. Mindfulness is the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and without criticism or judgment. It involves being fully engaged in the here and now, rather than getting lost in thought or daydreaming.
Benefits of a mindful morning ritual
Mindful mornings are a great way to start your day off on a positive note. Being mindful helps you live in the present moment and appreciate all that exists around you. A mindful morning ritual can boost your energy and make you feel calmer and more centered throughout the day. You will be more productive and motivated. Your mind will be primed for positive thinking and creativity.
Being fully aware of where you are right now will allow you to make decisions based on reality rather than emotion. This allows you to act from a place of wisdom rather than fear. Plus, research has associated the regular practice of mindfulness with increased memory, focus and concentration and decreased emotional reactivity.
How to create a mindful morning routine
A mindfulness routine doesn’t have to be complicated or require too much extra time. If you’re looking to create a more mindful morning, try starting small. Start by setting aside just 5 minutes each morning to practice a mindful morning task or technique. Start with one thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to fit everything in right away. Just pick one aspect of your daily routine and see how it goes. Then slowly build from there. Try to add another small thing to your routine to make it more meaningful.
If you are having trouble motivating yourself in the morning, try to remember the last time you felt truly excited about your day. What was it that made you feel like you couldn’t wait to get going? Try to recreate those thoughts and feelings as you go to bed and right when you wake up.
10 ways to make your mornings more mindful
To-do lists can feel a bit overwhelming from time to time. Sometimes it seems like the more you get done, the longer your list gets, and prioritizing what to do can feel like a herculean task. But how many of those items on your to-do list are actually serving you? Rarely do we bother to think about what we could do for ourselves. If you don’t take care of yourself, everything else gets harder. I’ve found five essential things to put on my to-do list that make my days more mindful, productive, and healthy.
1. Get enough quality sleep.
The success in cultivating mindfulness in the morning rests on a foundation of having enough sleep and a nourishing nightly ritual. Waking up rested and refreshed allows you to have the mental clarity, physical energy, and motivation to incorporate mindful moments as you get ready for your day.
2. Wake up early.
Try waking up 5–15 minutes before you need to leave for school or work to create space for more mindfulness in your morning. It will be very difficult to add to your morning routine if you don’t start by adding a bit of extra time. Plus, by not rushing through your morning, you might find yourself feeling more energized, less stressed, and ready to take on the day. If you wake up late, you will create a frantic mental state and an unproductive mindset, which makes it harder to stay focused and calm throughout the rest of the day.
3. Set an intention or goal.
Get clear on what you want to achieve by adding more mindfulness to your morning. Setting some kind of intention, affirmation or goal provides enthusiasm, motivation and to get out of bed and start your day on the right foot.
4. Do something slowly with your full attention.
The quickest and easiest way to add some mindfulness to your morning is to hack your existing routine. You can practice mindful awareness as you make your bed, brush your teeth, drink a cup of coffee or tea, or eat your breakfast. Whatever task you choose, work on slowing down, focusing all of attention on your breath, body movements and other senses as you do this task.
5. Move your body.
Carve out at least a few minutes to move your body every single morning, especially if you work a desk job. Go for a walk, do a 10-minute yoga sequence, attend a full hour-long class at your local studio… it doesn’t matter how you do it, just get up and get moving. Regular movement can help you maintain a healthy weight, fight off heart disease, maintain low levels of cholesterol, keep your blood sugar down, and so much more.
6. Take a breather.
Adding five to ten minutes of meditation to your morning routine is ideal, but even taking time throughout the day to focus on your breath can be extremely powerful in helping you reduce stress and manage anxiety. Next time you are in a long line at the grocery store or stuck in traffic, rather than stressing about the wait, use the pause as an opportunity to connect to your breath. Even if you are having a busy morning, taking time for a few deep breaths can make all the difference between being able to handle whatever comes next with ease versus getting overwhelmed. You can experiment with the different types of yogic breathing exercises to bring more energy or inner-calm to the start of your day.
7. Practice gratitude.
Gratitude has been scientifically proven to lead to healthier relationships, better physical health, better psychological health, higher empathy, lower aggression, better sleep, higher self-esteem, and more mental strength. So whether you start keeping a gratitude journal or just pause for a moment in the morning to remind yourself what you are grateful for, gratitude should absolutely be on your daily to-do list.
8. Spend time in contemplation.
How often do you sit down with no other agenda than to sit and contemplate? We are always moving, doing, and acting, often with little or no time spent considering why. By giving yourself just five minutes to sit with your thoughts, you can bring intention to everything you do. Ask yourself questions like, “What do I need?” and “Are my thoughts and actions helpful?” When you contemplate questions like these, you clear the way for more meaningful and focused behaviors.
9. Embrace silence.
Recent studies have shown that silence can be incredibly beneficial for our brains and bodies. By adding silence to our morning routine, we are giving our brain some much needed TLC. I like to wake up before the rest of my household every morning and sit with a cup of tea and a journal, just contemplating in silence and writing anything down that might pop up. I know others who prefer to sit in silence for a few minutes before going to bed. Even just showering in silence instead of playing music can be a worthwhile change to try. Adding just a bit of quiet time to your morning can make all the difference to your day!
10. Practice kindness and compassion.
Being compassionate for yourself or another person can be a form of mindfulness. The first step of compassion and kindness is attuning to the feelings of yourself or another person. The more present you can become to these feelings, the more understanding, acceptance, tenderness, kindness, and love you can bring towards your expression of compassion.
Practice every day
I created this list as a framework. It has a few general ideas of ways to improve your day every day, but don’t become obsessed with trying to follow this (or any) to-do list. Every day is different and we are all imperfect beings, so take it day by day and minute by minute. While I think this to-do list can be extremely powerful if practiced every day, the real goal is to learn to take care of yourself and carve out a little bit of time every morning to do things that make you a happier and healthier person.
What activities or practices would you add to this list? How has creating a mindful morning routine improved your life? Share them in the comments below!