Practicing mindfulness is one thing people usually say they want to do more of, but it’s easier said than done. When your alarm goes off, you’re probably hitting snooze or feeling rushed to get the day going already. But taking a step back in the morning, a moment to yourself, or bringing some awareness to your existing morning habits, will get you feeling more connected to yourself and to your daily responsibilities. Since mindfulness seems like a less tangible habit than others, it can be hard to know where to start. But once you begin, you’ll feel more present in your body, in your relationships, and honestly, in everything you do. Here are three ways you can get started practicing mindfulness in the morning:
- Morning Check-In: You might be in your feels or they might seem to all of a sudden come on, but are you checking in on what you’re thinking about and why you’re feeling certain emotions? Try examining your emotions first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Rate your mood on a scale of 1-10: 1 being the worst you’ve ever felt and 10 being the best. This not only slows you down before you begin your hectic day, but it also allows for a more honest start. If you’re at a 3, for instance, you shouldn’t expect yourself to perform at a 10. Understanding your mood first thing may help you better understand some irritability you have with your boss later on or some impatience you’re having with a customer. In all, it’ll help you have a bit more clarity from the get-go.
- Use the five senses: Instead of feeling dreadful for what the day has to bring, do your morning routine in a more intentional way. Start by closing your eyes and taking deep breaths before you get out of bed. As you begin your morning routine, feel the consistency of your cleanser as the tips of your fingers lather your face (Notice: are you doing circular motions? Moving the soap vertically up your neck and face?). If you’re really trying to engage, listen to the water run, the soft pump of your lotion, and the opening and closing of your cabinet or drawers. Anything can be a mindfulness practice when you become more aware of what you’re doing.
- Spend time outdoors: Yes, even if it’s cold, take a moment to go outside in the morning. Let the cool air hit your face and breathe in the crisp air. Face the sun (but obviously, don’t look directly at it!) and feel its warmth on your face. If you have time for a walk, shift your focus to the pattern of your steps, or the sounds of the leaves rustling in the trees. Need some help getting to a calmer space? Put on a guided meditation to get your body and mind better synchronized and find awareness in your movements.
How are you going to start your mindful morning tomorrow?
Stay Well, Catherine van Eyck and Cristina Sapienza