The alarm clock goes off and wakes you from your sleep. You grumble something unrecognizable, hit the snooze button and turn to the other side.
Then the same thing happens again 5 minutes later. You hit the snooze button one more time, but it’s not the same. You turn to the other side but in the back of your mind is that agonizing feeling that you need to get up.
You start fighting with yourself again. You need to start your day, go to work, cross items off your to-do list. But sleeping feels so good. This bed is so cozy and warm. It is almost torture to get up.
We’ve all been there.
That is the moment where your mind is not yet fully aware and awake, while your body screams for mercy and demands extra 5 minutes of sleep. In that moment you could find a hundred reasons to stay in bed but not a single one to wake up.
However, when you finally get up, you blame yourself for sleeping that long. You promise yourself never do that again while you quickly shower, put on some clothes and run through the door with a cup of coffee in your hand.
If there’s only some simple way to wake up on time and start your day with ease.
Mindfulness can completely transform your morning
Maybe this is not you at all. Maybe you are the person who is awake and up before the alarm even starts. Maybe you wake up every morning happy and excited to start a new day and new adventures.
Maybe you’re somewhere in between.
Whatever the case may be, here are some ideas on how to turn your morning routine into a mindfulness practice. And in the process create a more peaceful and enjoyable morning.
“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
~ Sharon Salzberg
If you identify with the first scenario, maybe you will need to put some extra effort. I know that feeling of waking up tired and arguing with yourself in the morning. I’ve been there. In that moment, being mindful is not that easy. But the comforting thing is that this gets easier with time and practice.
Also, with mindfulness, you will be able to detach and just observe those thoughts and feelings more easily. That arguing will happen less frequently because you will be able to accept the situation without judgment.
In time, you will be able to start your day with ease.
In time, mindfulness will transform your morning completely.
You may also consider being mindful of your evening. What are your activities before bed? How do you end your day? When do you go to sleep? By being mindful of that, you will be more rested in the morning and able to wake up and start your day more pleasantly.
#1 Mindful breathing
With that said, the first thing that you can add to your morning routine is mindful breathing. You can use this simple practice to start your day.
Mindful breathing requires your presence and focus in every breath.
You can do this before you even get out of bed, or if it feels more comfortable, you can sit upright.
Start with bringing your attention to your breath. There is no wrong way of doing this. Let your breathing be natural and just observe it without any judgment or story about it. If those, or any other kind of thoughts come up, just let them pass without engaging with them. Observe your breath and how it flows through your body – your nose, chest, and abdomen.
After a few breaths, set your intention on your abdomen. Start taking deeper breaths through your nose and fill your whole lungs and abdomen. Hold your breath for a few moments or however long it feels comfortable to you, and then slowly exhale through your mouth.
If you find it difficult to focus on your breathing, and your mind becomes overactive, you can attach a simple word or a mantra to your breath. This can be as simple as “In” or “Inhale” when you breathe in and “Out” or “Exhale” when you breathe out. This can help your brain to calm and focus easier.
Do this for however long it feels comfortable. If you like, you can set a timer for 3 or 5 minutes, or you can count your breaths.
This practice can help you start your day in a calm place, more relaxed, peaceful and stress-free. You will also fill your body and your brain with more oxygen. It’s a win-win.
#2 Mindful showering
Your bathroom is a perfect place to practice mindfulness every day without interference. Most likely, you will be alone in there, at least for the most part.
A morning shower can be a beautiful daily mindfulness practice.
Come to your senses. Start with the feeling of water running down your body. Observe little colorless drops bouncing off your skin. Notice the temperature. Is it warm? Lukewarm? Cold?
Feel the soap on your skin. Become aware of your hands touching your skin. How does your skin feel under your palms? Witness the foam and bubbles it creates. Breathe in the aroma of the soap. Do you recognize the scent?
Visualize the water clearing all negativity, cleansing other people’s energy that you absorbed, and washing away the past.
When you finish showering, bring your attention to the little drops of water on your body. Notice how the light reflects on them. Feel the towel on your skin and become aware of your motions. Notice the softness of your skin while you put on the lotion or oil.
Observe your body and its shape without any judgment, without any story. Express your gratitude for it and everything it does for you. Our bodies are miraculous and deserve acknowledgment for that.
When you notice that you started thinking about the day ahead of you just gently return to the now moment. Whatever thoughts arise, observe them without any attachment, without any judgment, without any engagement. Simply let them pass through your mind.
Try to be present in the moment and in the activity with all of your attention and awareness.
Apply that mindful approach to all of your morning activities – brushing your teeth, washing your face, shaving, putting on makeup, getting dressed. Whatever you do, try to do it mindfully. Try to be present in the moment and in the activity with all of your attention and awareness.
#3 Mindful breakfast
Apart from being the most important meal of the day, breakfast can also be a morning mindfulness practice.
Being mindful includes not skipping breakfast just because you’re running late, not eating on your feet while chasing a bus, or just drinking coffee and calling it breakfast. When you’re mindful about your body, its signals, and needs, you will probably notice that breakfast is one of them.
Try to be mindful of your schedule and give yourself enough time for breakfast. That doesn’t mean that you will smell and taste your food for 10 minutes or chew every bite 100 times. That can be healthy and meditative but is not practical in everyday life.
Mindful eating means paying attention to your body and the food you are eating, before, during, and after your meal. It means eating when you’re hungry and noticing what food your body needs. That includes distinguishing the difference between your body’s needs and your mind’s cravings. It also means eating without any distractions such as TV, newspapers or radio.
All of that sometimes requires some practice and time.
Try to eat your breakfast in a peaceful place. Start by observing the food on your plate. Breathe in the smell, become aware of the texture, notice the colors.
Express your gratitude for that beautiful, tasty, nutritious food and the fact that is keeping you alive in a most pleasant way possible.
Take a bite and really taste it in your mouth. Observe your body and your stomach. Notice when it’s full and then stop eating. Sit for a moment or two and let yourself enjoy the fullness.
Also, notice your thoughts and emotions. Observe them without any judgment. Just be present, be in the moment and aware of them. Accept whatever shows up and allow them to pass on their own.
Find a practice that works for you. Find something that is most suited to your circumstances. Whatever you do, always keep returning to the present moment.
Until next time,