One of my goals for 2020 is to become more mindful in my daily life. That means, making a conscientious effort to retrain my mind toward positivity, gain more control over thoughts, and become more aware of my feelings.
Over the years, I’ve done sporadic meditation practices but never made it a daily morning routine. A few weeks ago (as I was undergoing a few major personal challenges), I decided “now is the time to make a change”. So I signed up for a 21-day Manifesting Challenge by Gabrielle Bernstein (an NYT Bestselling Author & widely-acclaimed self-help guru). After doing this morning meditation routine for 21-days, I was hooked!
My Morning Meditation Routine
My morning meditation routine not only helped to shift my perspective (which enabled me to handle challenges with greater ease and to get centered each day), but it also gave me insightful tools that retrained my thinking patterns and change my programmed behaviors.
As I committed to doing a morning meditation routine, it became a peaceful, contemplative time each morning that I started to look forward to. I noticed that I became more clear-minded, focused, and open to new ideas that helped me on a personal and professional level. I also felt more grounded, less emotionally reactive, and less prone to allowing outside influences or situations to affect me.
Instead of checking emails or going on social media, when I wake up now, the first thing I do is start my morning meditation routine. This entails following a guided meditation (via an app like Calm or Audible) or reciting an internal mantra (that focuses my mind toward positive words and mental imagery) while listening to calming music. I also practice deep breathing with a mindful approach, which means – I imagine myself letting go of stressful thoughts and breathing in positive, inspiring thoughts.
Here are 4 reasons why a morning meditation routine can change your life.
- Stress Relief: A morning meditation routine can help relieve mental stress, anxiety, and worrisome tendencies. When we become more aware of our thoughts (and realize we have the power to let them pass without reacting to them), we gain mastery over our mind. This enables us to escape the typical “fight or flight” syndrome, which often happens when we feel stressed or fearful. Often times our stress comes from mental future-tripping, which means worrying about the future. My college psychology teacher (who was the Sports Psychologist for the US Olympic Ski Jump team) always reminded us of the acronym “F.E.A.R.: Future Events Aren’t Real”. This is a great mantra to remind ourselves when stressful thoughts creep in.
- Mental Focus: A morning meditation routine can help us improve our mental focus and clarity. By learning techniques that train us to become more mindful, our ability to think clearly, focus on the task at hand, and become less easily distracted improves. This helps us in the workplace and in situations where the mental focus is important. Given that we live in a fast-paced, tech-forward world, distractions are a part of life. That’s why learning how to improve our mental focus helps us become more successful and productive more easily.
- Emotional Stability: Feelings follow thoughts. Once we realize this basic fact, we start to understand how important it is to stay mindful of our thoughts. The reason why we often get stuck in patterns is that our brain gets wired to respond a certain way to stimuli the more often we react the same way. As an example, your Mom might push your buttons every time she tells you what to do. It’s like an old home movie being replayed over and over. She says something that frustrates you and you respond by getting angry at her; the cycle continues until you consciously break the pattern. The next time she says something that usually gets under your skin, as you start to feel your emotions rising up, you instantly decide to change your reaction. Instead of reacting, you take a deep breath and mentally let go of the negative feeling. As you do this, your outlook toward her shifts, you break the mental-emotional response pattern, and you become less prone to emotional reactions. This emotional stability helps you gain control over your thoughts and feelings, which helps you stay centered.
- Increased Creativity: Another benefit of a morning meditation routine is that our creative thinking increases and we become more receptive to new ideas. As we become more mindful, we tap into different parts of our brain. We start to gain new insights into solutions for problems, we become open to different ideas that can help improve a situation, and our creative juices start to flow more easily.
For more tips and techniques, visit the Personal Growth section on Inspirations & Celebrations.