In the general psyche, meditation sometimes gets a bum, or at least inaccurate, rap. People envision Buddhist monks chanting for hours, maintaining uncomfortable yoga poses, and all sorts of other challenging versions of concentration and otherworldliness. Meditation, then, seems like a wholly (and holy) intense experience rather than something simple and painless to do. It doesn’t have to be an act of endurance or discipline.
Morning meditation can, in fact, be a rather blasé part of our routine, like a shower or breakfast or brushing our teeth. Still, it can truly enhance our experience of daily life. It can improve our overall outlook. It can reset our minds to take each day on anew. It can literally provide that moment we all need to catch our breath. And, more to the point, we can all make that happen right at home, right in the bedroom, without buying any equipment or taking any classes.
In other words, there is nothing to lose and a lot to gain from giving morning meditation a go.
- Mental clarity seems a no brainer. When we give ourselves a moment to check out (of the world) and to check in (with ourselves), we are able to realign our thoughts and get back into a clear state of mind. Stress, anxiety, and depression are all relieved by regular meditation. The more routine — such as every morning — this practice becomes, the more it stays with us throughout the day.
- Energy levels rise for those who meditate. The act of engaging our brain in the activity creates a chemical reaction within us and, in layperson’s terms, promotes our juices to get flowing. There is an endorphin rush after doing it. In the same breath, because it calms us down as well, people who meditate tend to sleep better. Better sleep means we are more rested, and that equates to more energy, too.
- Focus is another obvious attribute of meditation. Not only are we able to focus during it, adjusting how to prioritize what we think about, but also because of these moments of mindfulness, we have better attention spans at other times as well. We naturally begin to address our thoughts throughout the day as we do when meditating. This makes our lives happier.
Going back to sleep for another twenty minutes, however, doesn’t provide any of these benefits. The shock of the alarm breaking our “snoozing” only adds to the fretfulness. We get out of bed disoriented and less prepared for the day. Meditation starts us off on the right track.
Meditating in the morning can easily become just another part of the routine, and some would even argue a much more valuable part than many of the practices we commonly have, such as painstakingly styling our hair or drinking three cups of coffee. Generally, a good session of meditation clocks in at 20 minutes, but even five minutes can be hugely beneficial.
- Designate a space for the activity. The space should be tidy, quiet and comfortable. It shouldn’t intrude on partners or kids or even pets. It should likely be out of bed, a small sacrifice to start the day rather than possibly falling back to sleep. Sitting on the floor or on a cushion of the floor is likely the best option. Good posture is useful but comfort is equally so. And, pajamas are great for that.
- Set a timer. Rather than being distracted by time, worried over being late or counting down seconds to completion, it’s helpful to set a timer and let go of needing to monitor the minutes. The timer will go off, so you won’t be late. You won’t stop until the timer signals you to do so, so there is no need to look at the clock ticking. It’s all taken care of, and that’s one less distraction. When the time goes off, slowly allow reality to come back in.
- Begin by focusing on breathing. Admittedly, for some this feels a bit too spiritual, but it isn’t. The idea is to be aware of what our bodies are doing. Some people like to play with their breaths, elongating inhales and exhales, while others choose to breathe naturally. Whatever the case, the idea is that our thoughts move to our breaths. We can follow the flow of air into our bodies. We can simply be aware of the fact that we are breathing and must continue to do so.
From this point, there are many directions in which to go. Guided meditations are available for free on the internet. Even the basic notion of focusing on breath going in and out, allowing other thoughts to pass through but moving back to the breath, is enough and actually more difficult. Another option is just checking in with our bodies, acknowledging each body part and each thought. This truly is about doing something positive for ourselves, and others will benefit from a better of us as well.
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