After a good night's sleep, the body and mind are well-rested and ready for the new day. And the first hour after waking up is an especially great time for self-reflection and setting clear intentions to start your day.
Here we'll look at five inspiring morning rituals — that are especially useful for cultivating a positive attitude and uplifted state of mind. By engaging in one or more of these first-thing-in-the-morning practices, we can infuse all of the activities of our day with the freshness and clarity after a good night's sleep.
From the spacious quietude and clarity that you cultivate through these early morning rituals, inspiration and joyfully creativity will naturally emerge. Your right mindset will be fully in place!
You can try just one of these, or do several of them in sequence — whichever feels best on a given day.
1. Sit Quietly for 5 to 10 Minutes Upon Waking
Right as you wake up in the morning, and before doing anything else (except, perhaps, taking a trip to the bathroom), sit quietly. You can sit cross-legged on your bed, or move onto the floor or to a straight-backed chair. Allow your spine to be naturally upright and then bring your attention to the movement of your breath.
With a relaxed, spacious, and appreciative attitude, observe the breath flowing into and out of your body. If you have a hard time maintaining a gentle focus on the breath, say to yourself the word "in" with each inhalation, and the word "out" with each exhalation.
Appreciate the fact that the body's ability to function depends upon this continuous exchange with the external environment. Generate a sense of gratitude for the infinite intelligence of the body that knows how to transform oxygen into cellular energy — and for the earth's atmosphere, that providesexactly what the body needs.
2. Make a Cup of Tea (or Coffee), Mindfully
Keep a nice variety of tea in your home: green tea, black tea, Darjeeling, oolong, herbal tea, matcha — or whatever other favorites you have. Or, if you're a coffee guy or gal, keep an inspiring variety of grinds in your cupboard.
When you come into your kitchen in the morning, open the cupboard or pantry and gaze upon the jars or boxes of tea — letting yourself be drawn to the one that most appeals to you, right now.
Boil some water, choose a cup, place the tea leaves or bag in the cup, pour the hot water over the leaves, and then — as the tea-leaves steep for two or three or five minutes — observe the surrounding water (in the cup) becoming more and more deeply infused with the color and scent of the tea.
Enjoy the first sip. And then the second and the third, noticing the smell, the taste and the feel of the tea, as it swirls on your tongue and along the inner edges of your cheeks, and then makes its way warmly down the passageway of your esophagus, into your stomach. Appreciate this multi-sensory experience of drinking a cup of tea.
3. Take a Walk Outside, at Sunrise
Greeting the sun as it first appears in the morning sky is a beautiful daily ritual. Make it a habit of being there, when the sun first appears — from your front porch, or a neighborhood park, or a nearby trail, or simply strolling around the block.
Enjoy the quietude and settled energy of the day's first hour. Enjoy the freshness of your mind, and the warmth within your legs and belly as you walk — either slowly or briskly — first thing in the morning. Maybe your walk will only be five or ten minutes, and perhaps it will be a half-hour. In any case, make sure to say hello to the sun — as you would to a good friend — when it first flows over the horizon.
4. Write in Your Journal
Devote 10 or 15 minutes to writing in a journal, sometime before leaving for work in the morning.
You can use your journal to record the dreams you remember from the previous night. You can use it to write poetry. You can use it to make a gratitude list. Or you can merely free-write, beginning with a stem-sentence such as "What I want to say is ..." — And then completing this sentence, again and again. In any case, allow your creative energy free rein!
5. Set Intentions for the Day
Before leaving your house in the morning, devote five or 10 minutes to contemplating your intentions for the day (along with the week, month, year, and lifetime, if you'd like). You can write these down in your journal — or articulate them clearly in your mind. Clarifying your intentions in this way helps you become clear about your priorities, and setting out a direction for your day and life.
Once you've set your intentions, then let them go — and trust that the GPS of your human mind-body will skillfully guide you through the day's actions.
By making it a habit to start your day by engaging in one or more of these morning-time rituals, you'll nourish self-awareness and the true spirit of zen.
The Bottom Line
What you do and feel and think first thing in the morning — in the first hour or so after you wake — sets the stage for the entire day. If you use this time to create an uplifted and empowered state of mind, that will be your default setting for the whole day.
When you sit quietly and invite a contemplative mood, you're connecting with the most profound source of power and creative genius. You're connecting with the fertile field within which you can plant your most cherished intentions — and see them germinate, sprout and bear fruit. That is the critical piece of advice in Napoleon Hill's classic textbook, Think & Grow Rich, on generating a mindset for success in all aspects of life.
And now you know the secret to start your day, too. Have fun with it! And remember that a comfortable mattress and high-quality bedding also help set the stage for productive and enjoyable morning rituals.Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact us.