“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.
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 mindful.org, 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:
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:
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.
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: http://give.camh.ca/site/TR/Events/2021SunriseChallenge?team_id=4631&pg=team&fr_id=1180