How do you create the best mindful morning routine?
And what will that do for you?
To answer that question, it helps to be fully aware of what your current morning routine is or isn’t doing for you.
What are your thoughts when you wake and finally turn off the alarm?
Those thoughts likely determine how you spend the first five minutes.
The tone you set with mindful mornings helps with everything from anxiety to depression to your relationships with everyone in your household.
How Can I Practice Mindfulness in the Morning?
Of course, meditation is a valuable mindfulness practice, but how do you meditate first thing in the morning?
Or do you at all?
Maybe the idea of a wake-up meditation makes you feel instantly tired. How will you think clearly about the present moment a few minutes after waking up?
And what if you fall asleep in the middle of it?
Even if you do drift off a bit (which you probably won’t), there are several benefits to starting your day with morning mindfulness meditation:
- Waking up before everyone else gives you quality alone time.
- You can enjoy the (relative) quiet — or the ambient sounds of your choice.
- Mindfulness meditation awakens your mind to gratitude
- Mindful gratitude in the morning affects your thinking throughout the day.
When should you meditate in the morning? The sooner, the better. You can prepare yourself with a brief routine of preparation, but don’t put it off much longer.
The best way to make morning mindfulness meditation a regular thing is to make time for it within minutes of waking up.
But meditation isn’t the only way to be mindful in the morning. Every experience, habit, feeling, and thought presents an opportunity for mindfulness.
Read on to see how to create a routine your sleepy morning self will be happy to start.
Morning Mindfulness Routine: 11 Mindfulness Exercises
What are some mindfulness exercises you can add to your own morning routine? And what are some morning habits you can practice more mindfully?
Use the following as a starting point. You’ll likely think of other things you can do after your meditation to ease into the busier part of your morning. That part will come soon enough.
1. Wake up earlier.
Set your alarm at least half an hour earlier to give you some time for a short but powerful morning mindfulness routine. Or wake up even earlier to enjoy a more leisurely routine before others in your household wake up.
Start with half an hour for your morning routine. As you work on making it a daily habit, you’ll get a sense of whether you want more time and what you’d like to add.
If you’re waking up earlier, don’t forget to go to bed earlier the night before to ensure you get the sleep you need. A mindful nighttime routine helps with this.
2. Put your phone on hiatus.
Your smartphone doesn’t have to be part of your morning routine unless you prefer to use an app for background noise or guided mindfulness meditations.
For the most part, your phone should remain in the background. Otherwise, it can distract you and blunt your awareness of what’s going on in and around you.
Your phone can help with alarms and reminders to help you stay on track from waking to bedtime. But it can very easily be something you depend on for entertainment, keeping you in a semi-conscious bubble that insulates you from both your inner and outer worlds.
This is your time to reclaim awareness of both.
3. Move slowly and mindfully.
This is not a time to rush around and try to get as much done as possible while you’ve got the morning to yourself. Give yourself enough time to do all the things slowly and mindfully.
Doing something mindfully requires full and patient awareness of everything surrounding it — whether you’re drinking a glass of water, brushing your teeth, or settling into a 15-minute breathing meditation.
4. Prepare your mouth for the morning.
Brushing your teeth helps you wake up and feel refreshed. It also prepares your palate for the first sips of your morning drink. Closing your eyes while brushing enables you to focus on your movements and the sensations in your mouth.
Take it slowly and focus on being both gentle and thorough. Rinse thoroughly and mindfully and replace your brush in its holder.
5. Wash and moisturize your face.
If you have time, refresh your face, too, with a gentle cleanser, a soft towel, and a facial moisturizer. Then take a moment to appreciate your clean, dewy skin. If you can manage a smile, so much the better.
Wash and moisturize your hands after caring for your face and neck. The extra step prepares your hands for all you’re about to do with them.
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6. Prepare your morning drink.
Whether you prefer coffee (freshly brewed within minutes of your waking) or tea, pay attention to the movements involved in preparing your first (and every) cup.
If you’re brewing a pot of tea first thing, notice the details that go into it, from filling the kettle to adding your tea to the strainer to pouring out your first steaming cup.
Pay attention to what you see, feel, smell, and hear. Tasting comes later after it cools a bit.
7. Find a comfortable seat.
Bring your drink to a comfortable seat and set it where it’s not likely to spill or be disturbed. Then situate yourself and take a moment to mindfully take what you’re sensing, thinking, and feeling. Take some deep breaths to settle in before you reach for your cup.
Whether you’re reclining or sitting up in a half-lotus position, pay attention to how your body feels, from your head to your feet.
8. Mindfully enjoy your drink.
With cup in hand, make it your goal to mindfully enjoy every sip and all the sensations that go with it — the gentle rush of hot liquid into your mouth, the flavors swirling around your taste buds, and the warmth from throat to belly as you swallow.
Again, this is not a time to rush. You’re not drinking just to benefit from the caffeine or the hydration. Take each sip mindfully to experience all of it.
9. Spend time in mindfulness meditation.
Take some deep breaths in and out and pay attention to how your body feels with each inhalation and exhalation. If necessary, blow your nose to make nasal breathing easier.
Use a mantra if it helps you to focus on something in yourself or in your immediate environment. Keep breathing comfortably, taking deeper and more measured breaths when you feel a need to calm yourself.
Thoughts will come and go, some of them leaving you with an agitated feeling.
Acknowledge and accept it. Your mind is always working — sometimes with chosen thoughts and other times with transient ones. You’re only responsible for the former.
10. Make gratitude an essential part.
When your time for mindfulness meditation is up, finish it by thinking of something you’re grateful for.
You can use this as a sort of launchpad for your morning gratitude journaling. Or you can simply choose to begin your day, post meditation, with thoughts of gratitude.
It beats worrying about what the day might bring or whether you’ll get everything done. Think how grateful you are to be alive and having this quiet moment to yourself.
11. Write in your journal.
When you finish with your meditation, take out your journal or open your planning page and write down some of your reflections for the morning.
You can also write a list of gratitude statements, including any that came to mind during your mindfulness meditation.
Or you can write about other thoughts that came to mind and that warrant a few more minutes’ exploration.
Take a moment to express some appreciation for your new morning routine and think up some ideas for making it even more rewarding.
Ready to create your morning mindfulness routine?
Now that you know what a morning mindfulness routine can look like, what would you like to add to make it uniquely yours? Or what would you change?
You won’t know the best answers to these questions until you try the routine yourself. How early will you wake up tomorrow morning? And what will you do this evening to ensure you still get enough sleep?
After all, the best preparation for your morning is a nighttime routine that helps you ease into a restful sleep. May this evening set you up for the best morning yet.