A morning meditation is a great way to begin your day. The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of the day and even your week and its been proven. I am sure you have heard about all the benefits of having a meditation routine. It is scientifically proven that mediation changes the brain in fundamental and long lasting ways.
People who meditate are more likely to feel happy, energized and have an improved sense of physical and mental well-being. So if you want to experience a positive and productive day, every day, try my morning mediation routine.
Meditation is much like exercise, so it is beneficial no matter when you do it. However, in my personal experience I have found much better results when I meditate as soon as I wake up. After my early meditation I feel relaxed, my mind is clear and I approach the day in a more productive way. What I have also found is that a few hours after I meditate I have a sudden burst of energy that seems to last well into the day.
Research has also shown us that you are the most productive in the first three hours of your morning. It makes sense then to say, if you want to make any positive changes to your life, change your morning routine.
Before I started meditating it would take me a few hours to get myself into work mode. I’ve always struggled with mornings as I’m not a morning person, I would wake up grumpy and always felt like I needed more sleep. Getting into the habit of meditation (challenge on its own) changed the way I now experience my mornings. Don’t get me wrong I’m still grumpy as soon as I wake up, but after I do my meditation I feel much better and I jump right into work mode.
I am aware that many of us struggle with busy schedules, little to no “me-time” and stress. Work, family responsibilities and children don’t help either, but I want to challenge that thinking right here. Meditating for only a few short minutes a day can give us that much needed boost and inspiration we currently lack.
Morning meditation will not only assist you in becoming more efficient, productive and calm, but will help you to have more time for the important things in life. Whether its quality family time, more time for yourself, or improved focus and success at work.
Everyone is different. Some people struggle to wake up in the morning and others are bright and cheery as soon as they open their eyes. You need to decide what is the best time for your morning meditation. The “old” me would open my grumpy eyes every morning and grab my phone. I would scroll through social media, look at my emails and shuffle into the kitchen to make coffee. This ritual took about 15 minutes. 15 wasted minutes. Now I meditate as soon as I wake up.
A friend of mine prefers meditating once all her morning tasks are done or after she has dropped the kids at school. My husband sometimes meditates in the car between meetings. The wonderful thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere. Figuring out what time works best for you is trial and error, it needs to be practical and sustainable. Please bare in mind that life will happen and you may need to adjust your meditation from time to time and that is okay.
My suggestion is to start by setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. In the beginning of your morning practice start by spending 5 minutes with your eyes closed and just pay attention to your breath (see the 5 minute meditation exercise below). Once this becomes comfortable you can move on to the guided meditation I provide below or find a meditation you prefer on youtube.
The next step is to find a spot that works for you. I like to sit on the edge of my bed but if you have a quite room that you prefer or a comfortable spot outside go there. Another great idea is to make a dedicated mindful spot in your house. This could be a corner of a room or an actual room that you devote to meditation and mindfulness. Add a meditation cushion, incense, candles and surround yourself with meaningful objects. The aim is to create a safe and contemplative space just for you.
A guided meditation is when you are guided by a trained practitioner or narrator through written words, video or recorded sound. The aim of this meditation is to elicit a specific change in your life. More often than not you are guided through an imaginative scene in your mind, your brain does not distinguish between an imagined event or a real one so it feels like you are having a real experience. The scenes are always positive therefore your experience will be positive too.
Guided meditations work well if you are a beginner and you dont know how to meditate. All that is required is that you listen and follow along. I still like to do guided meditations especially when I am tired. Guided meditations are great because it takes you on a meditative journey step by step, almost as if someone was holding your hand and leading you along.
“Meditation is not just for relaxation; it’s primary purpose is to develop the capacity to respond skillfully and gracefully to life’s difficulties as well as it’s joys” – Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
If you were like me, you may find the idea of meditation daunting. I used to tell myself that meditation took too long and I didn’t have the time to do it. I never felt I was good enough at it and I could never “clear my mind”. Honestly I was ill informed, I actually had no idea what meditation was. In reality it is a very simple exercise that is profoundly beneficial. Meditation can be done in any way you like, you set the rules for yourself. So let me enlighten you on a few things.
If it’s important to you, you will find time. If you can’t find time, you will make time.
I often get told, “I never have enough time to meditate”, I call bullshit. We are all busy people, and we all need things to be convenient. Many of us don’t have a spare hour to meditate. It is a misconception that you need to sit down for at least 30 minutes to an hour to meditate anyway. By just adding 5 minutes to your morning meditation routine, you will immediately experience the many benefits. The trick is to stay consistent. Besides, before you know it you will be adding more time to your practice.
I know many people who can’t sit still for long periods of time, and find the “meditation pose” uncomfortable. Meditation can be done in a number of ways. For those of you who really struggle to find the time and energy to dedicate time to meditating why not try these other exercises instead:
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment”
Mindful Walking – Mindful walking is a simple meditative exercise that can be done anywhere. It is the simple action of being aware while you walk. Focus on each movement your foot makes. Notice your breath as you inhale or exhale, and become aware of any sounds, smells and sensations that you pass while walking from point A to point B. Whether you schedule dedicated time to walk outside or if you are walking from one office to the next – try this out. When thoughts pop into your mind gently bring your mind back to the present moment and refocus on your step and breath.
Mindful Cooking – Mindful cooking is becoming aware of your movement in the kitchen. Try and stop your mind from racing by becoming fully immersed in what you are doing. Notice the smells and texture of the food your are preparing. What does it sound like when your are frying and chopping the vegetables and meat? Try do things one at a time. Put your phone away and be present with the food.
Mindful Eating – Mindful eating is the practice of eating mindfully. this means that you pay attention to each bite of food you consume. When we eat this way we appreciate our food and the nourishment it provides as well as understanding the journey our food has taken to get to our plate. Mindful eating encourages us to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and experience a meal with all of our senses.
Mindful Drawing – Mindful drawing is an exercise that helps you bring your attention to the present moment. This is done by focusing on how you are drawing, the feeling of the pen or pencil in your hand, the sound it makes against the paper and the smell of the ink or lead as you sketch. The focus is not what you draw or how well you draw, rather the journey you are taking as you doodle.
Mindful Coloring – Mindful coloring is similar to mindful drawing in that it is the purposeful act of bringing your awareness to the activity in front of you. When we mindfully color we purposefully let go of negative thoughts and put our energy into coloring a picture. The color itself plays an important role in our emotions, color influences our feelings and behavior. Colors such as blue or green are associated with serenity and relaxation. While the color yellow has been known to energize people and make them feel happy.
I read some powerful words in the book: Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to finding peace in a frantic world, “meditation is not about clearing the mind it is about seeing patterns in our thinking”. Your mind does not have to be blank to reach a meditative state. Thoughts will come, and it is completely normal to feel frustrated. Here is the trick. When thoughts and feelings come, and they will, acknowledge them and gently let them go. Do not criticize or berate yourself.
If all you do in the beginning of your practice is train your mind to kindly acknowledge what thoughts come up and compassionately bring yourself back to your breathing , then you’re dong it right! Mindfulness teaches us to accept the endless chatter in our mind. In time you will notice that by turning your attention toward the noise and becoming fully aware of it, you will be given more flexibility in your meditation. The biggest achievement in meditation is to notice the small changes you’ve made. Be proud of yourself for trying.
It is a common misconception that you have to be a monk to experience the benefits of meditation. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can experience benefits the first time you meditate and in the first few days of daily practice. Simply taking 5 minutes to breath deeply will already go a long way to make you feel calm and relaxed.
“Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness we know what to do and what not to do to help.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Once I started meditating in the morning my life changed. Now, I am not going to promise some miraculous life-changing event. What I can confidently say is that meditation has made me a lot more relaxed. I feel more energized and I have become much more productive. I am less snappy toward my son, and I have more time for my partner. There is no magic pill in life, but meditation comes pretty close.