Between triggering news cycles, stressful jobs, and a global sense of unease, finding tools to help optimize our mental health and regulate our inner landscapes is more important than ever.
With so much unknown, many people are becoming more mindful of their morning routines, often looking to a meditation practice to help them find equilibrium and groundedness in an increasingly turbulent world.
Morning meditation is often an elusive, intimidating subject for people. The good news is, no practice is alike. It’s completely possible to find techniques to meet your own specific preferences and needs, making your practice both accessible and sustainable.
Whether you’re looking to boost focus, keep stress levels down throughout the day, reduce grogginess, or simply start your day off on the right foot, committing to a morning meditation practice can be a transformative addition to any daily routine.
What is Morning Meditation?
Originating from ancient Eastern wellness practices, meditation is a habitual process aimed at training your mind to focus, and learning to redirect your thoughts with the goal of achieving a state of present consciousness.
In layman’s terms, it is a wellness practice focused on creating an internal environment of mindful attention and awareness.
Sometimes it helps to define a term by describing what it’s not. That’s especially true with meditation. With so many misconceptions about morning meditation acting as barriers to peoples’ wellness, let’s find out what meditation isn’t.
What Meditation is Not
Meditation is often viewed as an unapproachable, ambiguous topic for a lot of people—largely due to many of the common preconceived notions and misguided interpretations of what the practice actually entails.
By dismantling these common preconceptions, approaching your own practice may start to feel more accessible.
Meditation is not achieving a completely blank mind.
This is a very common self-imposed barrier to entry when it comes to committing to a regular meditation practice. It’s important to understand that the “goal” of meditation is not to rid yourself of thoughts, but rather to impartially observe them without attachment, and let them pass.
Meditation will not take years of practice.
Meditation isn’t something to be achieved, and it doesn’t look the same for everyone. Keep in mind that meditation can take many forms, and even a couple of minutes of mindful attention each day is enough to reap the benefits.
Focus on setting reasonable goals and remembering that as long as you commit to consistency, you’ll start to see results almost immediately.
Meditation is not exclusively a religious practice.
Although meditation’s roots originally tie back to Hinduism and it has historically been linked to many religions, the practice itself is not inherently religious. Whether you are religious or not, committing to a meditation practice is a completely appropriate choice.
Guided Meditation Practices
Guided meditation is exactly what it sounds like—a meditation practice led by a teacher or narrator. This type of meditation is a great option for beginners because it doesn’t require any previous training or knowledge to partake. The narrator may provide instruction on what to focus on—like the sensation of the breath. They may also utilize guided imagery to enhance and provide some structure to the experience.
Unguided Meditation Practices
Unguided meditation is an individually directed experience in which the meditator dictates what is visualized and focused on throughout the practice. An accessible practice for experts and novices alike, all it takes is a basic understanding of the fundamentals of meditation to start. Unguided meditation gives you the freedom to experience the benefits of meditation free from the confines of structure any time of day.
Scientifically-Supported Benefits of Meditating in the Morning
Starting your day off with a feeling of calm is not only valuable in the moment itself but can also provide benefits throughout the rest of your day and beyond. Here are just some of the scientifically-proven ways that a daily meditation practice can bring value and sustained changes to both mind and body:
1. A morning meditation routine can boost your energy levels.
Practicing meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, releasing energy-boosting endorphins that provide a more sustained feeling of energy than drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
2. It can help reduce stress levels throughout your day.
Meditation activates the pituitary gland—the part of the brain that’s responsible for releasing endorphins, or “happy hormones”. As a result, those with a regular meditation practice have a greater capacity to find feelings of calm and contentment and are better equipped to handle the inevitable stressors of day to day life.
3. Daily meditation can help with focus and attention span.
Regular practitioners of meditation produce increased amounts of alpha waves in the brain which operate the way we use our sense organs in response to external stimuli. By cultivating a morning meditation practice, filtering out the “mental clutter” is much more achievable, due to our brains being relatively free of distraction when we first wake from a good night’s sleep.
3 Easy Morning Meditation Techniques for Beginners
It’s important to remember that there is no “wrong” way to meditate. Because there are so many different meditation techniques, curating a practice that feels good and sustainable to you specifically is completely possible.
These 3 methods are particularly accessible for beginners:
1. Breathing meditation
There are countless types of breath practices that can help you find a meditative state, but here’s a simple breathing exercise to help get you started:
- After finding a comfortable seat or posture, let yourself become aware of your surroundings for a few moments.
- Begin the breathing meditation by emptying your lungs.
- Take a deep inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds. Note that slowing your breath may be easier by pursing your lips, almost like you’re sipping through a straw in reverse.
- Repeat this exercise for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
2. Mantra meditation
A mantra is a syllable, word, or phrase that is repeated during the meditation session. Its purpose is to give your mind something to focus its attention on other than your thoughts. When a thought inevitably comes along, the mantra acts as a tool to return your focus to the present moment. A mantra can be anything you want, but using an affirmation or intention for your day can be particularly impactful.
Here’s a quick minute morning meditation to practice this meditation technique:
- Begin with a few deep breaths. Allow your mind to focus on how your body feels with each inhale and exhale.
- As you continue this mindful breath pattern, begin to repeat your mantra to yourself—either out loud or silently, depending on what is most effective for you.
- Allow your breath and mantra to settle into a natural rhythm.
Turn this technique into a Gratitude meditation by making your mantra a word or phrase like, “I am thankful” or “love”.
3. Guided meditation
Guided meditations are great tools if you’re feeling aimless and overwhelmed by the thought of approaching a morning meditation practice on your own. Once you find the guided meditation that’s right for you, simply find a comfortable posture, and allow the narrator to take you through your practice step by step.
5 Helpful Tips for Morning Meditation
Here are just a few expert insights to help you get into a daily routine.
1. Rid yourself of self-imposed barriers.
It’s easy to create reasons why meditation is not an accessible practice for you. So often, our internal narrative is a version of “I don’t have time” or “it’s impossible for me to clear my mind”.
Try to free yourself of this thought pattern by remembering that even just a few short minutes of meditation each more can be incredibly impactful. It’s completely normal and expected to experience passing thoughts during your practice. In fact, considering adding your practice to your wake-up to-do list so you remember to make time for yourself.
2. Be gentle with yourself.
If your mind starts to wander, or you find it difficult to sit still or focus at first, be kind to yourself. Remember that the goal of meditation is not to completely rid yourself of thoughts, but rather to simply observe them, let them go, and return to the present moment. This way, they won’t impact the rest of the day as much.
3. Make it a part of a healthy morning routine.
Create other healthy morning habits like eating a nourishing breakfast, or taking a supplement for stress levels. Allow the meditation practice to supplement these other habits, and fall into your morning as naturally as brushing your teeth.
4. Set a timer.
Deciding how long you want to meditate before getting started can be a very helpful tool when it comes to staying present throughout your practice. By setting a timer before you begin, you’ll likely be less preoccupied with when you’ll be “done” meditating.
5. Make it personal.
Whether it’s finding a particular posture that feels most comfortable to you, or incorporating essential oils into your routine, finding personal touches that make your practice feel like your own will make it more enjoyable, and easier to maintain as part of your day-to-day life.
Calmly Enjoy the Rest of Your Day
When you practice morning meditation, you set yourself up mindfully for a day of positive energy, gratitude, mindfulness, and reduced anxiety. When you meditate first thing in the morning, during yoga, or in the break room, mindfulness meditation will help you achieve a heightened sense of inner peace.
Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.
From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.