Harness your breath and thoughts to start your day off right and boost your energy and motivation.
Do you have your morning routine down? Maybe you drink some water, get in a quick workout and hit the shower before work. It doesn’t leave a lot of room, I’m sure, but there’s something to be said for starting a morning meditation practice. After all, many of us have some time back now that we’re no longer commuting to the office. And let’s face it, these days, couldn’t we all benefit from more peace of mind? Meditation is a medically proven way to reduce stress, supercharge the brain and boost your mood. Yet, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 10% of adults in the United States actually meditate.
“Meditation is a medically proven way to reduce stress, supercharge the brain and boost your mood.”
You're probably thinking: who's got the time or patience to meditate? That’s how I was. But here's the thing: Starting your day mindfully will gently release grogginess and help set the groundwork for a calmer and less stressful day. Whether you wake up at five or 10 am, you've got the time to incorporate a daily meditation. And you'll soon find that it becomes a grounding anchor on days full of unpredictable situations and variables.
And for those non-morning types, you may find that taking just a few moments actually helps you wake up. You don't need a meditation room or a fancy cushion, just a few minutes - it takes about as much time as you spend brushing your teeth. To get you started, here’s my foolproof three-part plan.
Find a Spot
Although you can meditate lying down, you'll want to sit up in order to wake up in the morning. Plus, according to experts, it's easier to do it if your spine is straight. It's helpful to designate a space for your meditation, to help put you in the right mind frame. Sit on a chair in the corner of your bedroom or on the side of your bed with your feet on the ground.
Forming healthy habits is hard and for them to last, you want to be consistent. The more often you meditate, the easier it gets and the deeper and more enduring the benefits. So set a low bar starting out to ensure you can maintain your commitment. And one minute is the complete opposite of intimidating. What's more, it's scalable - after one minute of meditation, you'll likely think to yourself: I'm already here; might as well keep going a bit. And once you opt in for more, you're meditating out of actual interest, making it much more likely to have a lasting effect.
Find What Works
There is no one-size-fits-all method to meditation. I started by just focusing on my breath and my body, trying to empty my mind of any random thoughts, but also not fighting it when they crept in. In fact, sometimes it's during this brief time that inspiration will strike. I place my hands on top of my thighs and bring my awareness to my breathing - counting to five as I inhale and five as I exhale (and repeat). The Headspace app offers hundreds of options that include everything from deep-breathing techniques and guided walking meditations, to semi-guided and completely unguided meditations.