Mornings are important for many apparent reasons, but those reasons can quickly fall by the wayside when each morning actually arrives. Maybe you’re one to oversleep and barely make it out of the house on time. Or you have kids who refuse to get up for school, and you have to flag down the bus as you finish packing their lunches. Mornings aren’t everyone’s favorite part of the day.

Regardless of what keeps you from enjoying your mornings, you can rise to the challenge by adding mindful activities to your daily routine. Put simply, practicing mindfulness means that you’re fully present in each moment of your life, when you choose to be.

Mindfulness practice looks a bit different for everyone, so if you’re thinking of working it into your life, it’s a great idea to consider the list below and see which of the following mindful activities might make a difference to your mornings.

Keep a morning journal

Many of us probably kept diaries as children, and when we think of journaling, we might imagine writing daily notes to ourselves before bed each night. While that’s a wonderful way of processing your daily activities and keeping track of what you’ve done, flipping this around to the a.m. hours creates a new mindfulness practice.

Carve time out each morning, if only for five minutes, to write an entry in your journal. Write down your feelings and your goals for each day. Ask yourself what you want to get out of the day. Write positive affirmations to encourage yourself when you need to pass a test or give a presentation at work. By taking the time to think about the day before it unfolds, you’ll find yourself much more present throughout the whole day.

Try some new stretches

Woman stretching arms in front of window - Rise and shine

The thought of stretching in the morning might not come as second nature to you, unless you’ve slept in a bad position the night before. But stretching presents the perfect opportunity for experiencing some moments of mindfulness. As you try out different stretches, you can focus on what your body experiences. Feel your lungs expand as you breathe, and pay attention to your limbs as they lean into each movement.

Stretching doesn’t have to take up much time, but devoting just a few minutes to it each morning will keep your mind present and keep you feeling good.

Practice early-morning meditation

Meditation and mindfulness go hand in hand, so if you never meditate, but want to implement mindful practices in your life, now’s the time to try it! Take the time to read about meditation and how it can set you up for the day ahead. Find a quiet place to sit or lie down when meditating, and attune yourself to your breathing and what your body is feeling.

After settling into your meditative state, notice how your thoughts move and what thoughts you linger on. If you find that you worry more often in the morning, you can remove that negativity by inviting positive thoughts in. By doing so, you’ll centre yourself and enhance your ability to focus on what you want to accomplish that day.

Take a daily walk

If you’re worried that meditation might rock you back to sleep, you can find an alternative exercise, like walking, to help kick your mindfulness practice into gear. Rather than speed-walking your way through the neighbourhood or around your block, take some time to just wander around the area in which you live. Listen to the chirping of birds, the squirrels scampering across the leaves or the wind whistling past you.

You’ll find that being present in nature during the early-morning hours can help recentre you before the rest of the world wakes up.

Do some Yoga

Woman doing Yoga on mat, on grass - Rise and shine

Yoga is an excellent mindful activity for those who want the benefits that meditation brings, but require a little more movement in their routine. If Yoga interests you, you might choose to join a local morning class or follow along with videos online to get the hang of the basic movements and rhythmic breathing.

If you already know some Yoga moves, try them outside in your backyard or on your porch. While doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy the fresh air while stretching and focusing on what your body is telling you.

Your spine health is directly linked to your quality of life, so the fact that Yoga poses stretch the spine make it an all-around beneficial practice for the body and soul. After just a few postures, you’ll feel more prepared to take on whatever’s happening during your day.

Savour your breakfast

You might already have a consistent morning routine that helps you wake up and face the day. For many people, this type of routine includes exercising, showering and/or walking the dog.

If you typically eat your breakfast during the car ride to work, it’s best if you free up five minutes to sit down and eat that breakfast at home.

Practicing mindfulness doesn’t mean that you’ll need to completely change your current routine, but it might mean that you’ll need to tweak it a bit. For instance, if you typically eat your breakfast during the car ride to work, it’s best if you free up five minutes to sit down and eat that breakfast at home.

After you sit, immerse yourself in the experience of eating your meal. Connect with your meal by taking the time to consider where your food came from and all of the people and steps involved in bringing it to your kitchen table. Also, consider the nourishment it’ll bring to your body throughout the day.

You can focus on your breathing and savour the food you eat by resting your fork between bites. Savouring your breakfast will cause you to be present and aware of what you’re doing and what you’re eating. It’s an easy way to work in mindfulness, if you’re not looking for too much change in your morning routine.

Talk yourself through your goals

Sometimes, to really feel the weight of something, you have to say it out loud. For that reason, you may want to talk yourself through your goals as you go through your morning routine. You can also verbally go through each step you’ll take towards conquering the root of your stress.

As you talk things out, they’ll become simpler and easier to conquer, and you’ll find yourself more present in your abilities and strengths. If you use the morning hours to reconnect with yourself in this way, you’ll be able to let go of worries, remind yourself how awesome you are and face your daily routine without your usual stress.

Peace is around the corner

Once you’ve implemented one or more of the eight mindfulness practices above, you’ll begin to feel the difference each one can make as you go about your day. After seeing the benefits that come with a few minutes of added mindfulness each morning, you’ll only wish you’d started these practices sooner!

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