Morning meditation: The amazing health benefits, how to get started, and tips for sticking with it
- Morning meditation is one of the healthiest ways to start your day.
- The benefits of morning meditation can include a mood boost, improved focus and productivity, and lower levels of stress and anxiety later in the day.
- Here are a few different ways to practice morning meditation, with tips for how to get started and stick to a consistent practice.
- For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
How you begin your morning matters, and many people are becoming more mindful of their morning routines. A 2019 survey, which polled 2,000 Americans, found that 36% of people start their day with meditation.
Morning meditation can help boost focus as soon as you wake up, and possibly even keep stress levels down throughout the day. Here's more on the benefits of morning meditation and how to practice it.
3 benefits of morning meditation
A daily meditation practice can have many mental and physical health benefits. And, if you do your meditation first thing in the morning, it may help you set an intention for the rest of your day, and be easier to come back to each day.
Here's how morning meditation can benefit your health:
1. Lower levels of stress and anxiety
If you tend to feel morning anxiety about the rest of your day and stress about your "to-do" list as soon as you wake up, try meditating in the morning and see how it impacts the rest of your day.
In fact, morning meditation may improve your ability to manage stress and anxiety later in the day. That's because meditation can reduce amygdala reactivity, which is the part of the brain responsible for your stress response.
2. Improve mood
Research has found that as little as 10 minutes of meditation a day can boost mood and reduce stress levels.
By starting off your day with morning meditation, you may feel an immediate mood boost, and as you stick to this routine every morning, the benefits can translate to a larger portion of your life.
3. Boost productivity and focus
Some high-performing entrepreneurs, like Oprah Winfrey, include meditation as part of their morning routine to get in the right mindset and prepare for the day ahead.
Research has found that meditation can increase levels of focus and boost productivity. Even though these benefits may not be felt immediately, a daily morning meditation may be able to make you more effective at work over time.
3 ways to practice morning meditation
There are many ways you can practice morning meditation. Here are 3 different types you can try out to see what works best for you.
Remember, it's normal to feel sleepy sometimes during morning meditation, so try to choose one that will help you stay alert and engaged.
1. Mindfulness meditation
With mindfulness meditation, you'll be focusing on the inhale and exhale of your breath. You can do this for as little as five minutes, or as long as 30 to 45 minutes — whatever you need to clear your mind for the day.
Keep your awareness on the movement of your chest or belly, or you can simply say "in" as you breathe in, and "out" as you breathe out.
Research has found that mindfulness meditation can improve levels of attention and focus, while decreasing symptoms of anxiety or depression.
2. Gratitude meditation
Begin by taking ten deep breaths, and think of three things you are grateful for. Then spend the next 5 to 10 minutes giving thanks to these parts of your life, directing positive energy towards them. End the practice with ten deep breaths.
3. Walking meditation
Walking meditation increases our awareness of the world around us, and encourages us to slow down and take our day one step at a time.
To do this, take 10 to 15 minutes to walk, either inside or outside. Instead of focusing on your breath, focus on each footstep on the ground as you walk. You can even say "right" as your right foot touches the ground, and "left" as your left foot touches the ground.
Tips for sticking to an effective morning meditation
It may be easier to start a daily meditation practice in the morning, as it can be a time with less distractions and interruptions compared to later in the day.
But it can also be difficult to motivate yourself in the morning, or wake up in time to get your meditation in. Here's a few tips to help you stick to your morning meditation routine:
- Get comfortable. Take the time to get out of bed, and go sit in a dedicated meditation spot. This could be a separate room, or on a terrace outside, whatever helps you feel like you are actively meditating.
- Avoid distractions. You can shower or make yourself tea beforehand, but try meditating soon after you wake up, without looking at your phone or any e-mails. This will help you get right to your practice without any potential distractions.
- Stay consistent. Try waking up at the same time every day. This will help encourage you to keep up the meditation practice. And if you wake up later one day, do not use it as an excuse to skip meditation that morning. Keep up the habit, and you will reap the benefits of a clearer and calmer mind later in your day.
- Be gentle with yourself. Some mornings can be harder than others, and it's okay if you miss a day or two. Bring kindness to yourself for missing, and then renew your commitment to continuing. Any strong practice takes time and effort, so don't expect instant results.
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