Sarah is a certified Hatha, Vinyasa, & Kundalini yoga teacher. She is an artist who believes in the importance of living a creative life.
Morning Is a Time of Pure Possibility
The morning is a very special time of the day. It is a moment of full potential when the day is new and everything is possible. The morning is also a very powerful time because it tends to set the tone for the rest of the day. How often have you rushed through your morning, only to find that the rest of the day feels very rushed and compressed as well?
The Dalai Lama said, "just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day."
If we even take just a few extra minutes each day to come into a place of peace within ourselves, it will be much easier to hold and carry that sense of calm throughout the day. From this calm and centered place, we are more equipped and able to easily navigate through the twists and turns of daily life. Enjoy the following techniques and practices that you can begin to fasten into your own morning routine and set yourself up for your best day.
Look Out the Window Before You Check Your Phone
Window gazing is an incredibly easy, and yet incredibly powerful way to start your day. This is because when we gaze out the window at a natural open space, our bodies come into a feeling of daydream and can sense an opening to new possibilities. You are going to want to do this as soon as you get out of bed, and it only has to be for a few seconds! This is a wonderful practice for those of us who have the habit of checking our phones before we have even put our feet on the floor. These first few seconds of the day are so important for setting the tone within our bodies and minds. When we check our phones or e-mails first thing, it sends the body the message that we are already working for someone else and everything that follows begins to feel like a task or chore. Give these first few seconds to yourself and know that your inner peace is a priority.
Meditate for One Minute
Another practice you can incorporate into your morning is a one minute meditation. Often it is hard to sit and meditate because we feel as though we don't have the time. However, even a single minute can have a beautiful rippling effect throughout your day. Simply sit in any comfortable position, gently close the eyes, and bring your attention to your breathing. Allow the breath to become deeper and longer without forcing. Sometimes, just by bringing your conscious awareness to the breath is enough for it to become more even and easy on its own. If you like, you can set a timer or just count 10 breaths. Enjoy this minute for yourself and know that you can come back to your breath at anytime throughout the day.
Write Three Things You are Grateful For
Journaling is an excellent activity to do at any time. A good writing practice for the morning is to simply write three things that you are grateful for. This will automatically shift your focus from things that you don't have, to appreciation and gratefulness for what you do have, and the things that are going right. Some days may be harder than others to think about what you are grateful for, but these are the days when a practice like this matters the most. You could bring your attention to the beautiful weather outside in any of its forms, the people or animals in your life, or perhaps simply that you have food to eat and a roof over your head. Otherwise, you can write about any thoughts or feelings that you have when you woke up. If you have an extra minute, it can be nice to look back and reflect on previous days. With this, you will begin to notice patterns and learn more about yourself.
Nourish Your Body
When it comes to food, everyone's body and needs are different. For some, not eating in the morning or having a light breakfast works well. For others, a hardy and filling breakfast fuels them for the day. Notice what works best for you. Choose high quality food that is organic if possible. Then, make this time its own little special ritual. Use your favorite mug, light a candle, and set a place for yourself at the table. Taking a few extra minutes to do this will be much more nourishing for your sense of mind than rushing through Starbucks on the way to work. Practice eating mindfully by eating slowly and noticing the taste, texture, and smell of the foods. Thank yourself for taking the time to nourish yourself on all levels.
Read an Inspirational Quote or Poem
Whether you have a book of inspiring poetry, or simply your favorite quote written on a post-it note, reading something uplifting in the morning will help to set a positive mental attitude. Avoid negative or emotional new articles. Find something that really excites you each time you read it. This activity should not feel like a chore, but rather something you can look forward to. Another alternative to reading is to look at inspiring images. This will also have the same effect and is great for more visual people.
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
— Maya Angelou
Keep It Practical
It is important to make a routine that works for you and your personality. Start by just incorporating one or two of the ideas above, and you will see the great difference it makes to the start of your day. You may not always have time to do everything, but even just focusing on your breath as you get ready in the morning will have a calming effect. Be kind to yourself and everything else will follow!