Five Tips for Mindful Mornings

In the craziness of life today — amidst the hectic commutes and constantly buzzing phone, expanding responsibilities and a twenty-four-hour news cycle – it is not always easy to be present. But to be mindful, to actively center yourself in the present, is more important than ever before. It’s not always easy, or rather, often it doesn’t seem easy. Like any skill, mindfulness has to be learned, practiced, and honed with intention. Every morning is another opportunity to practice mindfulness.

1. Breathe.
It might sound silly, but learning how to breathe properly, how to focus on your lungs filling with air, is one of the most important parts of being mindful. Throughout the day, as any number of stressors might come at you, taking a moment to focus on your breathing is the most fundamental way of staying in that present moment and giving yourself the best chance of working through whatever roadblocks seem to have been put in your way. Practice taking five deep breaths first thing when you wake up in the morning, before you’ve even gotten out of bed. This will ground your morning.

2. Do something for yourself.
We all have different morning routines. For some it’s that first cup of coffee, for others it’s a breakfast bowl outside in the fresh air. Some want to work out before doing anything else, while others want to listen to the radio. Whatever little ritual you have, whatever little morsel of you time that you need in the morning, it is important that you make space for it. Giving yourself what you need increases the likelihood that you can show up for the world around you in the way you need to on any given day.

3. Get organized.
What do you have to do today? Contrary to what you might think, sometimes being present actually means thinking ahead. If you do not give yourself a framework from within which to work, you run the risk of being busy but not productive, stressed but not efficient. You do not want to waste energy, and if you are too exhausted and feel as if you are simply treading water, you are not going to be able to be mindful. So set yourself up with a plan for the day, and give yourself the best chance of success even when curveballs come your way.

4. Meditate.
So now that your morning is fully underway, it’s time to get centered again before going out into the world. You’ve practiced your breathing and you’ve done something for yourself. You’ve gotten organized and you’ve put on your clothes and have gathered your work for the day. But the time (even if it’s only twenty minutes) between when you woke up and when you are walking out the door can still be stressful in itself. So make yourself breathe and focus your mind just before you start your day properly. And remember – you are never too busy to do this! If you are running late, even thirty seconds can make all the difference.

5. Prepare to be flexible.
You’re going out into the world now. The day ahead is full of infinite possibilities, it is true, but things won’t always go smoothly. Remember your morning mindfulness training whenever you feel yourself focusing too much on the problem but not the solution. You might have to be flexible. You might have to recalibrate. But if you stay present, it will be okay. Remember, just breathe – in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out.

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