Need a great way to start your day? Take a few moments when you first wake up to set a direction for your day with morning meditation.
As Albert Einstein said “The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Developing a morning meditation practice can be a life-altering experience in the most positive way. In order to meditate effectively, you must commit to the process and be patient along the way, as it is very challenging to slow down and control your thoughts. Not convinced meditation is for you? Here are some reasons that might change your mind–along with a handful of tips on how to start a meditation practice and how to unlock your brain.
Morning Meditation Benefits:
Surely you’ve heard about all the scientific benefits of how meditation changes your brain and rests the body. But here are some practical, unexpected benefits that occur as a direct result of a consistent morning meditation routine:
1. It allows the peace outside to seep inside.
Early morning, when the day breaks and the world at large is asleep, you normally won’t have door bells ringing or phones buzzing until you are doing some critically important task at that time. A peaceful environment and a mind not clouded with the day’s affairs facilitate meditation that gives deepest of rest. Even 20 minutes of spare time is enough to meditate peacefully and deeply in your veranda with a cool breeze gently stroking you.
2. It’ll be easier for you to switch on “beast mode.”
For men, meditation can cause our testosterone levels to increase and also can cause our cortisol level to decrease, which results in bigger, stronger muscles, and more energy while working out. Plus, your workout will seem much more enticing when you’re more rested and less stressed — a by-product of your meditation.
3. You will last longer in bed.
Men might not talk about it, but we all want to be the greatest lovers on the planet. That means not only having strong muscles but also having a healthy libido. Again, as testosterone increases, our ability to last longer in bed increases. So if morning sex is an option, you may find that in addition to having more stamina, meditating provides you with more patience and sensitivity when it comes to being present with your partner.
4. And meditation makes you better in bed.
Well, let’s consider context first. Many of us are stressed out, whether from work, our relationships, money, and a whole host of other reasons, circumstantial and otherwise. Stress increases cortisol and adrenaline levels, and these increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline decrease sexual desire and performance (among other negative effects). Also meditation makes you more present, and less distracted. So the result of this is more attention, awareness and computing power for the task at hand. And depending on what you and your partner are into it may take quite a few hands. Nobody likes a distracted lover.
5. You’ll wake up on the bright side.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of hitting the snooze button to catch some extra z’s or glancing at emails on your iPhone to start the day. However, when you go back to sleep you usually end up feeling more tired than when you first woke up. And if you look at your phone, forget it; there goes your day. You start working, thinking about all the stuff you have to do, and your mind starts its race of nonstop planning and organizing. A meditation in the morning will set the tone for your entire day and help you to be focused, content, and optimistic. Try to set aside 15 minutes a day first thing in the morning. If you need to, start with five minutes and work your way up.
6. You won’t need coffee.
Meditation activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers a deep state of relaxation during the practice. So even though you may wake up from sleep still tired, after meditating for 20 minutes, you’ll get energy-boosting endorphins that’ll help you spring to life without having to rely solely on caffeine. When I feel tired, listening to Green Meditation (found at TinyRelax app) helps me to re-energize myself for rest of the day.
7. You will have a sorted day rather than a scattered one.
Imagine a gross case of a person who comes to greet you on a morning he didn’t brush his teeth? From the repelling smell you could make what he had last night. On a similar note, we might also end up sharing what we dumped in the mind last day – a fight with mom, a dish that didn’t turn out well, or your senior disapproving a project you worked on day and night. But we can get over it if we meditate before we start our day.
8. You can turn on your mental “spam” filter.
The “busy mind” syndrome occurs because you don’t have your mental spam filter activated. Imagine if your email didn’t have a spam filter, and for every relevant message, you had to sift through hundreds of messages related to money scams, Viagra, and inkjet printer cartridges. Meditating helps filter out the internal and external “noise” and negative self-talk that can sabotage our otherwise sharp, clear perceptual acuity. This is a simple and effective answer if you ask how to clear your mind.
9. You will be able to take on mundane tasks with a new enthusiasm.
Haven’t some of us had experiences of waking up with the first thought of a long to-do list? For that is most likely our last thought before sleep, and so it is quite likely to click first thing in the morning.
It is normal to complete all tasks before we find some leisure time at night. That might leave us too exhausted to meditate. So then isn’t it a better idea then, to meditate early morning? Wouldn’t you want enough energy during the day to do mundane routine work with vigor and without getting bored?
10. You can handle whatever the day brings.
You’ll find that meditation allows you to more easily drop into a “flow state” in which you become supremely adaptable to change. Unexpected traffic jam? No problem. Someone blows their horn at you in a parking lot? All good.
11. You can counteract stress better.
Meditation is like kryptonite to stress, with the primary side effects being increased happiness, better sleep, and more creativity. If there ever was a perfect solution to dissolving stress, it would be daily meditation.
12. You will eat cleaner.
Numerous studies have found that when you’re stressed or sleep-deprived, you reach for bad-for-you foods. After building up momentum from your meditations, you may discover that cravings for doughnuts, fried foods, or lollipops also dissipate and get replaced by a craving for healthier, cleaner foods that the body will have an easier time digesting and turning into fuel for you to operate at a higher level.
13. You become a better driver.
People who have difficulty multitasking tend to be more accident-prone, especially while driving. Meditation has been shown to increase your ability to multitask, and coincidentally it makes you a safer driver.
14. You will have fewer headaches.
Although meditation is not a substitute for medical treatment, it has been shown to reduce pain associated with headaches, making it an ideal complement to more traditional approaches to health and wellness. I had daily headaches in my early 20s, and they didn’t go away until I changed my diet and began meditating.
15. Your circle of influence will grow.
Because daily meditation helps to release stress, it can make you more compassionate — and in the process, you become less judgmental and critical of others.
16. You can sharpen your intuitive skills.
You might ask why morning the right time is to sharpen our intuitive skills. Morning is the time when everything is in harmony. And intuitiveness is to be in harmony with nature, with an instinct that tells what’s good for you and what’s not. To be able to nurture this ability you need to be in harmony with nature and with yourself. Dawn or day break is the right time to practice this as your mind is more in this moment, in the now, and not racing to the past or future.
17. You will enhance your awareness.
The mind has a tendency to jump from one thought to another randomly, like a wild monkey jumping from tree to tree. In Buddhism, this concept is referred to as “monkey mind,” but it’s true for all of us who live in the modern world. By starting a meditation practice and tuning into your breath and body when you first wake up, you become more aware of your thoughts–and that monkey mind. Some thoughts might make sense while other thoughts seem to come out of nowhere. One powerful benefit of meditation is being able to detach from habitual thought patterns, especially the negative ones. Through a regular practice, you can gain control of your thoughts. Being in control in this way can help move you into a compassionate, proactive state of being rather than a reactive one.
18. You can eliminate stress and anxiety from your daily life.
Numerous studies have suggested that meditation has various health benefits–most notably, easing stress. Meditation is a unique opportunity to create time for yourself, apart from appointments, work deadlines, and other obligations. Although the mechanism isn’t fully understood, researchers think that meditation may stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing your heart rate and breathing rate, and improving blood flow. These physiological effects that take place during meditation may be part of the reason why meditating makes you feel so relaxed. Beginning your day in a calm, relaxed state can also help you be less bothered by the little frustrations in life and reduce overall stress and anxiety.
19. You will be able to see a bigger picture.
Meditation gives the mind a break, offering an opportunity to detach from the chaos of our lives and seek shelter in silence and stillness. Being still creates the space for us to gain a broader perspective. There is an abundance of clarity and wisdom that surrounds each of us and when we take a step back, we are able to see things more clearly. A balanced perspective is a valuable tool for living a meaningful and fulfilling life.
20. You will boost your overall self-esteem.
Increased mindfulness makes us more emotionally balanced and encourages a general sense of wellness. Some evidence suggests that mindful meditation might even boost immune function. A daily meditation practice will leave you feeling present each day, intensify your appreciation for positive experiences, and empower you in your life.
How to Get Started Morning Routine:
My morning routine has been the same for years: I wake up at around 6 a.m. in eager anticipation of my first meditation of the day. I start by freshening up in the bathroom, play with my two little cats and then I go back to my bed and sit with my eyes closed for 20 minutes before getting ready for work. I use minimalistic meditation timer fromTinyRelax so I don’t have to worry about keeping track of time. I’ve been following this routine each day for more than a decade.
Ironically, I don’t consider myself to be a particularly disciplined person. Like many people, I don’t look forward to doing things that don’t provide me with some type of immediate gratification. But I stick to my daily morning meditation routine because it not only leaves me with a tangible feeling of clarity to start my day, but the ripple effects of meditating extend throughout other important areas of my day and life.
Here some tips from my experience to answer how to meditate effectively in the morning:
1. Get comfortable. Wear loose clothing and if you’re cold, grab a blanket or shawl to keep warm. You want to be comfy so that you’ll be able to focus instead of fidgeting.
2. Choose a place where you won’t be disturbed. If you can, dedicate a place in your home to be used only for meditation. Make this place your safe haven. If you like, personalize it with a candle, incense, pictures, or anything that you find calming. Use a blanket, block, or pillow so that you’ll be able to sit comfortably with a nice, tall spine. This will help you stay alert while keeping your spine and legs at ease. Sit against a wall to support your back if necessary.
3. Stay focused. Think about the tips of your fingers. Bring your focus and attention to all 10 of them. Think only of your fingertips and direct energy through them. This will help you connect with yourself in the moment and bring you to here and now.
4. Watch and feel your breath move through you. Focus on your third eye (the soft space in between your eyebrows) and take deep breaths. Just breathe and let your thoughts drift in and out of your mind.
5. Be indifferent. Don’t judge your thoughts. They are just thoughts. And besides, you get to choose what thoughts serve you, which ones to disregard, and how to act. Lucky you.
6. Cultivate your inner smile. When you get there, take a few deep breaths and smile. Smiling releases happy chemicals in your brain which will help make your thoughts and feelings more positive. It will also help you relax and prepare yourself for a productive meditation.
7. Remember that meditation is a practice. Some days will be harder than others. It’s not about finding complete stillness in the mind but letting go of resistance and reactions to whatever arises. Morning meditation can be easy to blow off while lying cozy in bed, but once you’ve done it, keep in mind all the positive ways it makes you feel. Commit to your practice and you’ll see the benefits unfold. Last but not least, keep practicing.
8. Be grateful. Prepare yourself for the day. Give yourself some credit for all that you do and how hard you work. Be grateful for having a new day to experience. Whatever happens today, you can handle, you will do it the best that you are able to do, and that will be enough.
9. Commit to yourself. Promise yourself that you will be back tomorrow and each day after to reconnect with yourself and find your center again.