Morning Mindset

May 26, 2021

 by Sarina Mizutani

Morning Mindset

Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

This is the attitude Dalai Lama suggests having every day when you wake up. It is an important reminder that how you begin your morning is how you live the rest of the day. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything, and that is true from the moment you wake up in the morning. As important as it is to have solid habits and practices in your morning routine, it is just as crucial to examine your mindset and inner state as you do these things. Beginning your morning with feelings like gratitude, presence in the moment you are living, and desire to grow can majorly impact your mindset and the outcomes for the rest of your day.

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Gratitude is one of the most powerful forces you can use to feel good in the moment and attract more blessings into your life. As Oprah Winfrey says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more, if you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.”

Beginning the day with a sense of gratitude will imbue this powerful feeling in everything you do that follows, and impact your life in a meaningful way. Additionally, gratitude is very good for your mental health, helps to cope with change, and alleviates stress. According to, people who regularly practice gratitude experience less physical symptoms of illness, anxiety and depression; and more optimism and attainment of goals. Here are some ideas about ways to practice gratitude in small ways in the morning:

  • Keep a gratitude journal, and every day add an entry about something you are grateful for. Some days you may list vast, general things; like the opportunity to wake up another day, your health, your family, a roof over your head. But some days you may choose to focus on the small things, like another driver letting you into their lane in traffic or an encouraging word from a colleague or friend. Both are equally as important and powerful.
  • Make a gratitude list over your morning coffee with a loved one, taking turns to name 3 things you are grateful for on that day. This is very similar to keeping a gratitude journal, except that in this case you are sharing your list with another and thus doubling the amount of gratitude you feel!
  • Challenge yourself to find something to be grateful about in a situation that isn’t ideal for you. Perhaps your car has broken down so you have to walk to work. Find gratitude for the opportunity to move your body, get some fresh air and maybe enjoy some sunshine. 

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In addition to practicing gratitude in the morning, practicing mindfulness and awareness of the present moment is important in setting yourself up for your day. A morning meditation or yoga practice can be a great step in this direction, but the important thing about mindfulness is that it is a constant practice. Some practices you can use to be more mindful in the morning include:

  • Avoid technology for the first hour of waking: smartphones and laptops have literally been designed to distract us from ourselves and can set a frantic or rushed tone to the beginning of your day. This is especially true if the first thing you do when you wake up is roll over in bed and check your emails on your phone. Imagine the difference it would make to take the first half hour or hour of your day for yourself before reaching for the phone? Those emails and messages will still be there if you make them wait. It is worth it for your peace of mind.
  • Be aware of your thoughts as you move through your morning. Notice not only the external things- the weather, your bedroom, etc; but also the internal- your thoughts and how you feel in the morning. This is very good for dealing with stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Headspace suggests, “to manage anxiety you need to consistently check in with yourself about what you’re worrying about, then address it. Just as we create routines with exercise for our physical bodies, we should do the same for our mental health. One way to do this is scheduling ‘thinking time’ to think through any problems or worries weighing on you instead of letting them build up.” Using the morning to notice your thoughts and even think through solutions can help put your mind at ease so you move through the rest of the day in a more relaxed and grounded way.
  • Focus on one task at a time. It turns out that multitasking isn’t actually as efficient as many people believe, since you only end up giving a fraction of your attention to each thing you are trying to accomplish. Instead of trying to rush and multitask in the morning; focus on one activity at a time. Not only will it boost your focus and mindfulness, but you may find that you get through things faster by dedicating your full attention to each task and then moving directly to the next.

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Another important quality of your mindset that you want to awaken in the morning is your ability to be productive. Morning habits set the tone for how successful and productive you will be during the day. For example, snoozing your alarm and going back to bed 4 times before actually waking up communicates a sense of “dragging your feet” when it comes to getting things done. This approach will dog you for the rest of the day and you might find that you drag your feet when it comes to getting other important tasks done. Instead, make a promise to yourself to wake up when you said you were going to! Accomplishing the first task of your day- waking up to your alarm, will put you in an "accomplishing" and "achieving" mindset for the rest of the day.

The same principle applies to the practice of making your bed. If one of the first things you do in the morning is make the bed, it signals to your subconscious that you have accomplished something, and you will be hard-wired to accomplish much bigger things throughout the day.

Another hack to help you feel more productive in the morning is to ensure your hydration levels are up. Nutritionist Rania Batayneh states that one of the biggest causes of low energy and lethargy is dehydration. Starting the morning off with a big glass of water will help avoid this lethargy, especially since your body is naturally dehydrated from not taking any water in while sleeping.

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A mindset of gratitude, mindfulness and productivity in the morning will go a long way in the rest of your day. Take the time to set yourself up by focusing on the quality of your mindset in the morning. The more that you make this type of mindset a habit, the more likely it will stick with you throughout the day and in moments of adversity- when you need it most!

Did this post inspire you to do something good for yourself in the morning? Check out the MYKW blog for more information about self-care in the morning. We have several posts related to self-care in the morning posted to help spread awareness and prepare for the CAMH Sunrise Challenge. The Sunrise Challenge asks participants to rise with the sun and do something positive for their mental health every day for a week from May 31st-June 6th 2021. The donations raised from the challenge will go toward the CAMH's research and treatment for individuals struggling with mental health. Find out more, join the team or donate to the MYKW team at: