Starting the day with Mindfulness

It’s 6:00 AM. Your alarm clock starts ringing and you grab your phone to turn it off. Immediately, you begin to scroll through Instagram, then Facebook, then all the rest of your social media accounts. Soon enough, you’re checking your emails, and you happen to glance at the time. 6:34 AM. Oh gosh, going to be late… You jump out of bed, get ready as fast as you can and head out the door to go to work.  When you finally get there and start the day, you don’t feel settled or grounded and your mind is all over the place, but, as they say, the show must go on…

This excerpt of a day is a very easy routine to fall into; it might even sound similar to what you experience in your morning. However, by using a few minutes of your morning to become fully aware before starting anything, it can be easier to manage this culture of busyness that has become so standard. Starting the day with a mindfulness practice may look different for you than what it looks like for me. Nevertheless, here is a list of a few things that may help you bring some more mindfulness to your morning routine.

Check-in with yourself.

Before getting out of bed or checking your phone for notifications, take a few moments to check-in with yourself. How are you feeling today? What emotions are you recognizing within yourself? Is your mind calm or is it already racing? Is there something you are looking forward to today? Is there something you’re nervous about today?
Taking that time to check in with oneself can be very difficult nowadays, with so many distractions around us, as seen above. Here’s an idea that you can consider: buy a digital alarm clock and leave your phone charging in another room before you go to sleep! Give yourself the challenge of achieving at least 10 minutes of no electronics in the morning, before starting your day. It might make a world of difference!

Be fully present in your morning activities.

Instead of thinking of your to-do list for the day while running through your morning activities, think about the intention behind those actions. When you’re in the shower, getting dressed, brushing your teeth, notice all the senses you’re activating and the care you’re giving yourself. When you’re making yourself coffee in the morning, how is it helping you start the day? Taking those few moments to slow down and bring intention into your morning can help ground your pace for the day.

Take time to practice meditation.

This may not be for you and that’s okay! Meet your mind where it’s at. However, if you have the extra time and are curious about trying a guided meditation in the morning, there are many resources online including our own guided meditations you can find here. There are many benefits to practicing mindfulness, of which we talk in our Evidence-Based Mindfulness posts. In the short and sweet version, meditation and mindfulness can boost memory, reduce stress and anxiety, protect against the effects of relationship conflict, and many other physical health benefits.

Whatever your routine looks like, taking the time in the morning to be intentional and present can help get you out of that “auto-pilot” headspace that often leaves us feeling rushed and stressed.  Do you already have a morning mindfulness practice? I invite you to share your experience and tips with our readers by commenting below!

This article was written by Ana Clouatre, a medical student at McGill University and member of the Mindful Medical Learner Team.

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