Most of us wake up, stumble to the kitchen and pop on the coffee pot before we even realize what’s happening. We do most of our morning routine on autopilot. We eat breakfast, brush our teeth and often get dressed half asleep, all while making mental lists of what we need to do for the rest of the day. Before we know it we are in our cars on our way to work.
We do all of this without checking in with ourselves first to make sure we are ok. If you can relate to this type of behaviour you might benefit from a guided morning meditation.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking and planning as soon as we open our eyes. I used to start every day like this, in a mild panic about what I needed to get done or who I needed to speak to. I was living and breathing in full-blown autopilot mode. Now I prefer to start my day with a guided meditation or any other form of morning meditation for that matter.
At some point, I realized that I needed to slow down and get in touch with myself before I started my day. This meant not running straight to the kitchen for coffee as soon my feet hit the rug. I started small and made myself a promise, I would get up and take 5 minutes to focus on my breath or do a short guided meditation before I allowed myself a morning coffee.
This went against everything that I had done in the past, the first couple of mornings were hard, I got out of bed and listened to my meditation. If I didn’t feel like using guided audio to meditate I would simply sit down and focus on my breathing for a couple of minutes.
I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.
– J.B. Priestly
After my first session I felt the change almost immediately, I felt calm, relaxed and my day started with a sense of newfound awareness, I felt focused and ready. Now doing a morning meditation has become my ritual, it’s like my morning coffee except it has many more benefits and when I’m done I still get to enjoy my coffee.
There are many debates about when the best time to meditate is. We covered this specific question in this article if you are interested?
Life is full of challenges so when you decide to make meditating in the morning a part of your life you will inevitably run into your own little obstacles. Most of these you will discover are created by you.
You might think that you need 30 to 60 minutes for your meditation but in actual fact starting with 5 minutes is more than enough. Remember you are the one making the rules, 1 minute, 2 minutes or 4 minutes it is really up to you and I encourage you to do it slowly. If you can manage to consistently start your day with meditation, no matter how long it is you will see benefits and eventually you will start adding time to your practice.
If you feel like you do not know how to meditate then you can simply do some guided meditations. I started my practice with guidance, there’s nothing wrong with following along as someone walks you through the process. I still use some meditation audios and have now started creating my own for you to use.
We do not practice meditation to stop thinking or to reach a place of bliss. We meditate to observe our thoughts, to recognize thinking as thinking. By recognizing thoughts as thoughts we become less reactive to them. We can never stop our minds from thinking, that’s not possible. The best we can do is learn to observe and know when we are thinking.
Meditation practices are increasing in popularity as more and more people discover the benefits and experience them in their daily lives. I thought I would list some of the many benefits meditation can offer you, perhaps one of these might resonate with your personal reasons for wanting to try meditation yourself.
This is probably the most popular benefit, it’s what draws most people to try meditation for the first time. Many studies have been conducted that prove meditation causes a reduction in stress.
In one study, over 3000 individuals completed a Mindfulness Meditation programme and showed evidence of stress reduction. You can find the study here if you are interested in the details.
If you want to lower your stress in life, meditation may be just the thing you need right now.
Stress fuels our anxiety, we know that meditation reduces our stress levels and when we can minimize our stress levels we can automatically reduce our anxiety levels.
When you practice regular meditation you may also find benefits relating to anxiety disorders, OCD, phobias, panic attacks and more. I’m not trying to imply that meditation is a miracle cure for all our problems, but it can definitely help us to reduce our stress factors in life.
Ruth Baer from the University of Kentucky conducted a study involving 174 adults. They completed an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course and the results showed decreased levels of stress and anxiety. Here are her findings.
Confident self-image, balanced self-esteem and a positive outlook on life are what makes up your emotional health. Meditation bolsters up your intrinsic feeling of worth and that is important. There is nothing more powerful than feeling confident and assured by your own self.
Participants in this study which lasted three years noted a long term decrease in depression and anxiety disorders. This study followed a mindfulness-based stress reduction programme, you can read about that study here.
When we stop and take time out of our day to sit and breathe we are getting to know ourselves a little bit more. We are allowing our bodies and minds to connect in a new way. We aren’t headless chickens for a few moments of the day.
Through mindfulness and meditation, we can go deeper, we can start to understand our bodies and our minds because we allow ourselves to be still. In this stillness, we can learn about what makes us tick or how we might be perceived by the outside world. We can grapple problems we might be facing or experience creative inspiration.
By practising meditation you are learning to listen to yourself, almost like being your own psychiatrist. We may not always like what we find in our minds but from the discomfort, we can learn more about who we are.
I recorded this guided meditation and took inspiration from mindfulness and working with the breath. I added in some gratitude practices toward the end. It’s a great way to wake up and get oxygen into your system whilst being aware of your breath.
This particular meditation has some background music promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. Give it a go!
The below audio is a mindfulness body scan. There is no music in the background because that can distract you from scanning the body. Body scans are wonderful tools that can be used to get to know your body.
In this guided body scan you will learn to identify sensations throughout the body. This allows you to become more aware of what is happening inside your body at any given moment.
Body scans help us to connect with our bodies, become more aware of our bodies and it promotes an overall awareness of our bodies.
Equal breathing is a breathing technique that is used to refocus and centre yourself. It is a short exercise that you can do at any time and anywhere, whether you are stuck in traffic or having a bad day at the office.
In my experience, I have found that making a small change to my morning routine has drastically shifted the way my day turns out. If I skip my morning meditation I can feel it throughout my day. I can usually rectify this by doing a quick 5-minute meditation or a snappy breathing technique.
If you find it difficult to stick to meditating as soon as you wake up, feel free to push your time back, remember you are making the rules.