In the undertaking of living mindfulness in your everyday life, there's some hard truths you'll have to face. Among these, is an honest look at your daily regimen. How do you live your life? Better yet, how do you start your day? The answer, of course, lies within.
Before we get to our top 10, let's take a look at two ways we tend to live:
Living in the moment
To imagine the first, picture yourself setting aside time to get up early. Rising to catch a glimpse of the sunrise, you witness the sun breathe its radiance over the morning sky.
You feel empowered by its subtle warmth on your skin, hairs tingling at the touch. Its scattered light soothes your mind from wandering away, honing attention to the scale of the bigger picture.
Your meek existence is humbled to your root nature, discarded of all these false pretenses that your culture slathers you in. Free to explore the wonder, you mindfully embrace the present moment.
Wouldn't it be nice to be in that state every morning? There are no worries about what is to come, or what has been. You simply are. Sadly, it's often the case that you end up in the second aspect.
Living in Distraction
You wake up to the incessant sound of your alarm, jolting you out of sleep. Out of sync in the dark you're seemingly depleted of energy. Still you must plop on your daily mask, costume, and head out to work.
A Drifting Mind
The early hours of your morning are preparing to work for others and following regulations set forth by entities that merely exist inside your own head. "That's just how it is." Nonetheless, you keep your head down and--for lack of a better phrase--slave away.
At work your mind wanders off to potential things you could be doing--what you'd rather be doing. You're neither there at work, nor where you want to be. So you keep dreaming.
Focused on relaxation
Coming home, you're exhausted from a long day. You try to rejuvenate your sapped energy by focusing on relaxing, easing the stress built up from the day, rather than increasing work for yourself. Why would you want to do more work, anyway?
So you fit into your groove and let the habits sink in. You squeeze in what you can do in this time, but you're not reaching your full potential for lack of energy and time. You overdo it and stay up later than wanted, only to repeat the day again tomorrow.
The weekend starts to sound nice. You stick to your routines throughout the week so you can pursue what you'd really like to do later when you're "free." It's no longer a time for work, but relaxation. Any task that must be dealt with is done quickly, so that you may return to your fix of freedom. But you're not really free, are you? You've given everything up in the process. So what's the difference between these two ways of life?
The Difference is Choice
A life of distraction doesn't mean you must cut the elements out of your life completely. You wouldn't quit your sole source of income, would you? That wouldn't fix anything. Nor would stopping all action and running off into the wilderness.
What is important here is your perspective from moment to moment. You must align yourself on a path of mindfulness, anchored out to thoughts of purpose and clarity.
In the first example, you could easily have been distracted and payed no attention to the sunrise. Maybe you felt pain from the x-rays penetrating your skin. Your thoughts may have been geared toward finding ways to avoid the suffering. Perhaps it was spoiled by mist or rain. Any one of these experiences are the same kind of happenstance as you'll see every day at every point in time.
What do you choose to attend to?
How you perceive your environment is very much a choice of attention, and where you direct it. This is powerful in its own right. When applied to our morning, it determines the greatest outcome of the day. Between taking action to live mindfully or souring your mind to a life of distraction, our desired path is clear: to live fully in abundance (not in material things, but in self realization).
On narrowing down our attention, we'll share our top 10 morning rituals that you could use to elevate your own life.
1 - An Early Awakening
It goes without saying that early waking means early rest. The earlier, the better. It requires a commitment to act, but also instills purpose: we no longer wake as part of routine but tactical ritual.
Staying up late to enjoy you-time, only to stab yourself in the morning by cutting off your sleep, is the most detrimental start possible. Therefore shifting to the morning gifts us all the time we need, with leftovers throughout the day.
The benefits of waking up early far outweigh all further actions in the day, because what you can accomplish with the day starts from your current state of mind. It influences your coarse of action all day long. Sleeping in slows the day down, forcing you to catch up or rush beyond your natural rhythm.
By waking up early, the world is still dormant. You get a head start with a clear canvas. The streets are empty, the home is quiet, and your environment is at ease. You're able to concentrate more fully on what matters to you, wasting no time on matters that distract you. That precious you-time now has its dedicated time slot.
2 - Journal
Reach for paper and jot down your dreams, visions, and any happenstance that flows through your mind.
As disconnected as you might think you are after a long sleep, this is crucial to see where your mind was, and where it will be going.
We learn about ourselves and can pinpoint exactly how we feel, addressing the nature of our intent for the day. Without being conscious of this process, we leave the day unfocused. Keep your vision in mind by journaling.
Logging your everyday has a compounding effect. You see trends and currents of emotions that linger beyond weeks and months. Looking back, you can pinpoint the causes and effects of your actions. As a tool, we have a personalized feed of information to alter our daily efforts. Using it we can reforge our mistakes or gain awareness of ourselves like never before.
3 - Meditate
After writing down your thoughts or determining how you felt, moving on to meditation can be the reset we need. You'll gain an inner calmness before the day takes off.
If undone, we may spoil our state of mind to the energies around us.
This is the most important action you can take with a mere 10 minutes of your time (or 1 minute here).
If you need help in learning how to meditate, try reading our free eBook. You can also listen to music to set your mind right, follow a guided meditation, or adjust your bodily rhythms with the aid of binaural beats.
If you have trouble staying awake early in the morning, we suggest applying meditation after the following rituals.
4 - Disrupt Your Intensity, Get Extensive!
Be bold in life. Seize the moment. There is no surrender, no retreat. There is only conquer or be conquered, victory or defeat. Anything less is to be forgotten to history.
In other words, take that focus of yourself and project it externally. After delving inwards for some time, getting out of your mind and into your body allows you to take action. Let the warrior grasp the helm, leading the charge of your next stage. Go out and conquer your goals, seizing the moment per your hearts desire.
Tackling one obstacle before us is a great way to steamroll the afternoon. Instilling in ourselves a renewed confidence, we may focus our energies on what lies next. It only takes one task to accomplish in pursuit of our purpose and direction to re-energize our momentum in life. The bigger the accomplishment, or even progress that we make, the smaller all other difficulties appear throughout the day.
A half-hour spent in the morning on us, makes sure that we accomplish what is most important first. Everything else from work, to our gifts, is secondary. You cannot perform at your height without raising your own energies.
5 - Feed Your Starving Mind
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” --Anonymous.
If you don't learn anything new, then you repeat your days forever. We may not think we carryover to the next day without learning, but it happens.
We keep ourselves busy, and think by keeping up with everyone else by scrolling Facebook feeds or chatter between friends and other random individuals, that we're continuing to grow. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
By forgoing learning today, we are stumbling today and even greater tomorrow. Losing this potential momentum halts a positive progression of our daily rituals. If you're looking for substantial knowledge, check out our book recommendations at Polymath's Library.
6 - Shock Your System With A Cold Shower
You'll have to try it to believe it. You may have been scared away at the icy freeze, but next time remain in place. Amplify your courage for just a minute and see what happens. You may very well experience the following:
- Cardiovascular improvement
- Reduction in muscle soreness after physical intensity
- Mental Awareness/Alertness
- Strength of willpower
- Marvelous hair and skin
- Faster showers and less water waste
By opting out of purely warm showers and integrating the cold, we increase our body's capacity for growth. Our reaction to the temporary shock increases blood flow, which bounces us into action. From there, everything accumulates.
An Opportunity for Mindfulness
Monitor your breath.
As the cold water rushes down your parts, a tightness in chest will constrict your breathing. Don't break away, but persist.
After you overcome the initial barrier, breathing becomes fluid and invigorating. If you can master breathing exercises here, think of what it could do for you meditating!
7 - Savor Earth's Refreshment by Hydrating
Our bodies are over 60% water. It's a mistake to bypass our bodies greatest need for water. Even our natural foods are composed of water, which is why a healthy diet is imperative.
When active in the heat, your performance is impaired once less than 2% of your body's water content. Your mood goes down, and you'll develop headaches. The cause is simply not drinking enough water. But it's so easy!
How to stay hydrated?
The best way to stay hydrated is to drink a half gallon or more of water daily. This may seem a bit challenging from the onset, but once implemented into your daily ritual, meeting it is quite straightforward. Take a swish as you wake up, get moving, and before you engage in any activity. If you're thirsty, you're already behind.
If you get bored of just water, mix it up with fruit infused water. Use the leftover fruit for smoothies later!
8 - Brace the Natural Light
If a cold shower wasn't enough, natural light may be your answer to feeling more awake and alert.
Your biological clock (suprachiasmatic nucleus) runs on a 24 hour timeline, whether you receive light or not. This can be good or bad.
If you're not regulating your sleep time in accordance with natural light, or the diurnal cycle, you'll feel interruption just as you experience jet lag. This is a delayed circadian phase. In other words, your biological clock is not in sync with your current lifestyle.
Office workers in windowless areas reported poorer sleep than window counterparts. If you're away from natural light during the day, try to take breaks to expose yourself to more light. A source of blue light will also enhance your ability to stay awake. Just try to avoid it before bed so you may still get up earlier.
Managing your behavior cycles is a key factor in avoiding dysmetabolism. Messing with your internal clock opposed to the environment leads to becoming un-synced, which can cause obesity, metabolic syndrome, and more.
Just 1 hour in the morning is enough to improve performance of your circadian rhythm. Temperature may also help, as your clock monitors it. So be sure to cool down before bed, keep it nice and dark for melatonin to kick in, and sleep on time with nature.
9 - Brush Your Teeth With Your Non-Dominate Hand
While there is some debate on the subject of whether neuroplasticity gains any significance with your non-dominate hand, one things for sure: you're more aware of brushing.
Non-dominance gives us the perspective of a newcomer at a task seemingly so simple, yet profoundly immersive. Mixing your routine up shifts our attention back to the moment, which is the height of our daily practice.
Anything that brings us back to our present, is worth the effort. By committing to this small change, you'll see a boost in creativity and intuition by activating your opposite hemisphere.
Also brushing without dominance eases the damage on our gums from over brushing and excess pressure. We get used to brushing, and forgo the long-term effects. Just remember, a healthier mouth lessens the distractions to your life. That's just one more thing you don't have to worry about.
10 - What Are You Grateful For?
Your day just began, how can you be grateful already? That's the kind of mindset we don't want to be in. It's not about attaining anything, but in what value we do have. Focusing in on this moment can make or break our day. From a mindset of receiving, we reforge ourselves into positive thinking.
Do you have something now that in the past you always wanted? Are you the kind of person you wanted to become? At least making progress towards that?
If not, you can even be grateful for the fact that you're alive. Each new day brings with it a new vibrancy if only we choose to see it. By opening our eyes to what's around us, we spend time in acknowledgement. Sometimes we just never make the time for it. Interweaving it into your daily ritual means that you're leaving your mark on every day, and every moment.
It takes time to build this perspective, so don't worry if you're not there yet. Once settled, we manifest a new vision for ourselves and others. Our own potential seeps into our daily actions and develops a charged viewpoint for everyone to prosper. Our focus shifts to our gift to the world, and that's precisely where real growth begins...
Are you feeling grateful about anything right now? Scroll down to the comments below and give us your 2 cents! Try filling this out to start: "Today I'm grateful for..."