“4:00 am: Morning wake-up bell.”
This was the first thing I read on the timetable for the Vipassana course I had joined. Vipassana is a Buddhist meditation taught by S. N. Goenka. Not being much of a morning person back then, I thought I would likely quit by day two.
By day 10 (the last day of the course), I was amazed by my body’s ability to adapt to new habits and I recognized the importance of forming a structured morning routine.
Establishing morning habits can be challenging at first. But, with time, it becomes clear that a morning routine can set the tone for the entire day. A daily, regular practice helps to improve productivity, as well as health—on all levels, mental, physical, and even spiritual.
Thankfully, one doesn’t have to be a morning person to set up a daily morning practice. Whether someone wakes at 7:00 a.m. or at 10:00 a.m., it all boils down to how they use their time.
The first steps are always the hardest, but without them, it can be difficult to shed the old, unproductive way of doing things. Before hitting the snooze button, remind yourself that it only takes a few days for your body to adapt.
Here are some of the ways to begin your day off right:
1. Open Your Eyes, Not The Phone.
Most of us involuntary pick up our phones first thing in the morning. The truth is, there’s so much to accomplish instead of aimlessly scrolling through social media. Establish a habit of not having your phone close by while in bed. You could also turn it off for at least 30 minutes when you first wake up to help you stay focused on other, more important morning activities.
2. Set an Affirmation.
Verbally setting an intention in the morning can become a daily practice—it only takes a few seconds while you’re still in bed. You can express gratitude for being alive, send positive energy to your loved ones, or envision how you’d like to see your day unfold. Words have a powerful, vibrational frequency that can affect your emotional and physical health.
3. Drink Plain Water.
Something as simple as drinking water in the morning can be a powerful tonic. Two cups of room temperature water are enough to make you feel energized and refreshed. In fact, water has been proven to cleanse and stimulate the bowels, preparing the body to get rid of its toxins.
4. Clean the Space Around You.
Your surroundings highly reflect your emotional and mental states. That’s why having an organized space can help you feel happier and more at ease. You can make your bed in the morning or lessen the clutter around you. The sense of accomplishment you feel afterward is important for creating positive mental energy and momentum to for the rest of the day.
5. Nourish Your Spirit.
We all lead busy lives that leave us feeling overwhelmed at the end of the day. We often wake up with the same level of anxiety for what another busy day will bring. Consequently, it’s beneficial to start your day with practices that prepare you for the hustle and bustle ahead. You can meditate, practice yoga, stretch, walk, or read a book. Anything that puts your mind to rest and calms any emerging anxiety is of great benefit to help harness your positive mental energy.
6. Connect With Nature.
We don’t really need to live in the woods to properly connect with nature. Trees, flowers, and plants in your normal, everyday environment can do the job. Observing them, communicating with them, or touching them will increase positive feelings and reduce stress levels. This could be as easy as stepping outside for some fresh air, going for an early morning walk or enjoying your morning coffee or tea over some light reading
7. Connect with people.
Hug the people you live with and express gratitude. Greet your neighbor and take time for a little chitchat with coworkers. Positive interactions with people—especially in the morning—is a reminder to stay kind, loving, and appreciate those around us. I’ve realized that maintaining nurturing connections with friends and family is a necessary part of my morning routine that reminds me of my purpose, lifts my spirit and enhances my mental wellness.
Following this list exactly isn’t necessary. However, once you have a basic morning routine in place, you should try other practices to see what suits your lifestyle best. Do what feels right for you, whatever it is that sets a positive, healthy tone for the day. Be patient, but be persistent, and most importantly, consistent.