The Mindful Morning Ritual: the 5 things you can to do tomorrow and every day for a healthier mind a
Scenario number one: Your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze button. It goes off again, and you decide to wake up. You reach for your phone and immediately check emails, texts, or scroll through social media. Your mind quickly jumps to all the things you need to get done, which inevitably starts to either stress you out, brings your mind to a negative place, or both. You begin to think things like, "I have so much to do," or "I really don't feel like going to work today," or "I'm probably going to be late." You start rushing around to get ready and get yourself out the door, during which, more thoughts continue to preoccupy you and race through your mind.
Scenario two: Your alarm goes off, and you slowly sit up in bed. You take a brief moment to stretch your neck, roll your shoulders back, and take a deep breath. You consciously quiet your thoughts, and instead, think about one thing you're grateful for. You get out of bed and make a mug of hot lemon water. As you take your first soothing, hydrating sips, you spend just a few seconds setting your intentions for the day. You prepare your Clean and Green Smoothie, or grab one from the fridge that you've pre-made. You drink your nourishing smoothie slowly as you get ready for the day, in a calm, positive mindset.
It's obvious that morning two sounds a heck of a lot more pleasant than morning one, however the great majority of us can relate much more closely to that first scenario. But, who has time to have the peaceful, mindful morning in the second scenario? Believe it or not, you do. It's easier than you think, and we promise you have the time to do it. It just takes some simple shifts in your current routine to make a mindful morning your new ritual. Not only does it put you in a far better headspace, but in turn, it has an impact on the tone you set for your entire day, which then affects how well you handle situations, how effectively you communicate with others, and how efficiently you accomplish tasks. It's a long-term, cascading effect of positivity and productivity. Ok, off the soap box. Here's what you can actually start doing tomorrow to shift to the Mindful Morning Ritual.
1. Don't hit the snooze.
We've heard this advice a million times, yet we always hit that snooze button to get "just a few more minutes of sleep." Having a few extra minutes of sleep does not greatly impact how restful you feel. In fact, snoozing can make you feel less rested, because you'll be waking up when your body hasn't completed even the first phase of a sleep cycle. While the few extra minutes of sleep won't impact you significantly, having a few extra minutes in the morning can be hugely beneficial. For one, you'll feel more refreshed and less groggy if you just sit up in bed on that first alarm. Secondly, you can take just 30 seconds of those few extra minutes to complete number 2 of the Mindful Morning Ritual, and use the other bit of extra time to simply slow down a little.
2. Quiet your mind with gratitude.
By grabbing your phone first thing when you wake up, you are immediately flooding your brain with an overload of images and text, leading you to very quickly become over-stimulated and over-flooded with stressful thoughts of all the things you have to do, how overwhelmed you are, or how you compare to others. This is a sure-fire way to trigger anxiety, which only makes you more distracted and less focused on the things you want to accomplish. Instead, start your day with gratitude. Take a brief moment to be in the present rather than become worried about what hasn’t happened yet, when you haven’t even left your bed! Quiet those stressful thoughts, and prevent them from creeping in by thinking of what you are grateful for. This can be as quick as 15 to 30 seconds (far less time than you’d take to lie in bed hitting the snooze button or checking your phone). We recommend sitting up in bed, straightening your posture, rolling your shoulders back, rolling your neck side to side, and thinking of a thing or two that you are grateful for. This puts you in a calming, centered place to start your day, as opposed to a tense and frantic place. In turn, you are more relaxed, you can think more clearly, and your mood is improved.
3. Hydrate and alkalize with hot lemon water.
It is so simple, yet it has so many advantages. Just fill up a mug with warm water, squeeze in the juice of ½ of a lemon, and reap the benefits (Ideally, you'll take a probiotic here, too). It’s quickly hydrating due to the fact that you’re taking in water of course, but also because you’re getting the electrolytes that lemons provide. Hydrating first thing in the morning is crucial, as we wake up in a dehydrated state. In addition, better hydration improves skin, cell function, digestion, helps regulate appetite, and even can improve mood. This brings us to benefit number two: better digestion. The warm liquid, along with the citric acid, gently stimulates your digestive tract. A daily regimen of lemon water also boosts your immune system, thanks to lemons’ vitamin C and potassium content. Lastly, lemon water is alkalizing. Alkalized water is cleansing for the body, and in addition creates an environment that’s optimal for cell and muscle function and an environment that is anti-aging and anti-cancer. You can read more about the benefits here, as well as a recipe for a lemon water detox drink.
4. Set your intentions for the day.
This doesn't cost you any extra time. You can set your intentions for the day as you take your first few sips of your hot lemon water, or even as you start to make your Clean and Green smoothie (more on that in number 5). Even better, you can take the time to actually put pen to paper and journal them if you'd like. The reason we say "set your intentions" for the day, rather than "make a to-do list" or "mentally run through your schedule for the day," is because the latter two can trigger that stressful mindset again. Thinking of your intentions is a bit different. You are not arbitrarily listing things you have to do and places you need to be. You're grounding yourself and taking a moment to hold yourself accountable to what you want to accomplish that day. Your intentions can certainly pertain to your "to-do list” like, “Today I want to take care of my body by exercising,” but you also can think deeper, like "Today I want to listen, pause, and respond instead of instantly react.”
5. Nourish with a Clean and Green smoothie.
Having our Clean and Green smoothie for breakfast is something we personally incorporate regularly and we also recommend to all of our clients. Starting your day with an ultra nourishing breakfast like this gives your body and your brain the best fuel to power through your day with high energy levels and a sharp mind. You can get the recipe and read all about the benefits here. To name a few, having this super cleansing, nutrient-packed smoothie helps to improve skin, hair, nails, and overall energy levels due to its high amount of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes . Plus, it has lots of fiber to keep you full and help with digestion. To really see and feel these benefits, we suggest having it at least 4 times a week, but feel free to have it every day! If some days you'd prefer to have something else (like eggs, steel cut oats, or avocado toast) you can still work in a small portion of the Clean and Green smoothie in addition to get in a little extra nutrition. It takes less than 10 minutes to make this smoothie on the spot, but if you're tight on time in the morning, you can pre-make 4-5 portions that will keep well for about a week. Store them in the freezer, and thaw each portion in the fridge the night before. Efficient!
These 5 simple shifts can seriously change the way you feel and operate in your daily life, whether it be the improvement in your mood or energy levels, in the way you react and respond to people and situations, or in your productivity and work performance. Try going through all five steps of the Mindful Morning Ritual the rest of this week. If it seems to be too overwhelming all at once, just try the first two steps then build from there! It's all about small changes and incremental gains, not instant perfection. And when the Mindful Morning Ritual becomes a habit, you won't look back.