How you start your day tends to be how your day continues. If you begin your day by waking up late and feeling rushed and stressed, chances are that is how the rest of your day will go. If your day starts with intention and thoughtfulness, you are likely to have a great day. Beginning your mornings with mindfulness is a great way to ensure you are giving yourself the best start to the day that you can.
The first way to ensure that you have a mindful morning really starts the night before. Make sure that you get enough sleep for you to feel fully rested in the morning. That will make hopping out of bed so much easier. The right amount of sleep is different for everybody, but seven to eight hours is usually sufficient.
Instead of waking up to a blaring alarm clock, use an alarm app on your smart phone to wake you up to a favorite song. Most of the alarm apps have a setting that plays the music at a low level that increases in volume until you turn it off.
Don't hit the snooze button; get up as soon as the alarm goes off. Immediately open the blinds if it is light outside or turn on the lights if the sun has not yet risen. Bright light, preferably natural light, signals the brain that it is time to wake up and you will feel more alert.
Take a few minutes each morning to sit down with pen and paper and set your intention for the day. It's easy to drift through each day without really focusing on what you want to achieve that day or what goals you are working towards.
Ask yourself what you want to do or be that day. You may be working on a big project for work and your intention for the day is to complete a small piece of it. Your intention may simply be acting as a loving, calm parent to your kids or to do something extra special for your spouse.
It doesn't matter what your intention is. It only matters that your intention is moving you closer to the person you want to be or the life you want to live. Setting your intention first thing gives structure and purpose to your day.
Don't discount the importance of silence during your mornings. If you are in the habit of turning on the TV or music as soon as you wake up, try leaving it off for a few days. You may think that you love catching up on the news first thing, but it can be a distraction to the mindfulness you are striving for. Eat your breakfast in silence or encourage your family to talk to each other in quiet voices. Explain that you are trying out a calm approach to the day.
When each morning is more or less the same, it is easy to rush through it without thinking too much about it. But try to remember to slow down and enjoy the start of the day, either by yourself or with your family. Thinking to yourself that "this" particular morning will never come again helps you to enjoy the mundane and simple moments that make up a life.
It's hard to be mindful and present in every single moment. But if you dread the mornings and rush through them you are really dreading and rushing through a significant portion of your life every day. Turn mornings into something to look forward to, time to enjoy the new day and all the possibilities it brings.