You’ve probably noticed that how you begin your day sets the tone for your day.
I used to hit snooze on my alarm at least 3 times, sleep until the last possible minute, and rush to get ready. By the time I arrived at work, I felt frazzled, distracted and tired — and it was only 8:30.
I never felt like I had it together. That sensation stayed with me throughout the day and I often felt scattered and overwhelmed right through dinnertime. I would stay up too late because I needed more time to wind down and just set myself up for a late wake-up the following day and another rushed morning.
Most of us have a morning routine we repeat each day without too much thought. Routines can be good for that. They help us get stuff done so we don’t have to stop and think about what comes next — like eating breakfast, brushing teeth, putting shoes on, etc.
But, many of us don’t make the time for a morning ritual. Rituals connect us more deeply to ourselves and to the world around us. They can anchor the start of a busy day and ground us so we can experience our lives in a more deliberate, calm, and purposeful way.
When I began to fold some of the centering rituals listed below into my morning routine, I was able to be more present to my life. Instead of rushing from one task to the next, I could now think more clearly. I was less reactionary, I had more energy, and I could even fall asleep faster.
Here are four morning rituals to help you feel more grounded so you can have a better day:
1. Hydrate and eat a healthful meal.
Begin the day with a glass of water to hydrate the body. Then, allow yourself time to sit and savor breakfast. Give thanks for the meal and tune in. Notice how you feel 10 minutes after eating and how you feel two hours later. Do you feel energized and clear-headed or, do you feel hungry, shaky and sluggish? By noticing how food affects your body, you can choose the foods that help you feel best and avoid the ones that decrease your energy.
2. Writing or meditation.
Devote time at the beginning of the day to clear your head. A writing or meditation practice allows us to connect more deeply with ourselves and develops the skills we need to help process uncomfortable feelings and thoughts.
We take in so much information throughout the day, we need to have a method of releasing it. Meditation allows us to create space from our worries. A daily practice can help quiet the monkey-mind that keeps us in a state of worry and over-thinking. Writing, or journaling, can help us sort through negative thoughts, difficult experiences and troubling headlines.
A good workout gives you a mood and energy boost, no matter what the time of day. Exercising in the morning may help you feel more accomplished — you can begin the day knowing you’ve done something really important for your health. You may feel more empowered and strong. Plus, studies have shown that regular exercise boosts verbal memory and learning.
4. Observe a quiet moment.
Quiet moments are times that we pause and take in the beauty of everyday life. The way bare tree branches look against the lightening of the morning sky. The feeling of hot water beating down against your back. For many of us, life seems to go by in a blur of chores, responsibilities and work. But, when we pause and observe seemingly mundane moments, the small pieces of life, we can see and feel grateful for the life we’re living — the whole, beautifully messy thing.
My frantic mornings slowly became more mindful as I committed to 20 minutes of journaling every day. In time, I looked forward to this simple ritual; I folded into my morning routine and gave me the grounding I needed to begin my day with intention.
Create morning rituals that allow you to be more present in the moment and help you to thrive.
Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to life fully in each moment. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Originally published at medium.com