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Written by guest writer Stephanie James
How you spend your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. If you hit the snooze button one too many times, rush through your morning tasks, and grab your cup of coffee to go, you will most likely feel like you are in a race against time for most of the day. Starting your day feeling relaxed and centered, on the other hand, will also carry into the rest of your day. You have the choice as to how your day unfolds based on your morning rituals, or lack thereof, in other words. A solid morning routine is a primary key to success.
One activity that you can incorporate into your morning routine is meditation, whether guided or self-lead. Here are just a few of the many benefits starting your day with meditation has to offer
No Need for Caffeine
Even if you wake up feeling tired, 15 to 20 minutes of meditation upon awakening will supply you with endorphins that will boost your energy without the need for caffeine. Although meditation provides deep relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, it also offers the benefit of longer-lasting, natural energy with no risk of a subsequent crash.
Activates the Spam Filter
Part of what can contribute to a really good day is being able to sort through mental clutter as you work to be productive. Especially in our fast-paced world, there are numerous distractions that can interfere with our productivity, both internally and externally. Setting a positive mindset through meditation allows you to filter out the clamor and negative self-talk that can make accomplishing daily goals difficult and stressful.
Increases Ability to Multitask
A recent NSF-funded study at the University of Washington revealed that people who practice meditation regularly are better able to multitask. Participants who practiced mindfulness two hours a week for eight weeks performed better in multitasking tests than those who did not meditate. And if multitasking doesn’t seem like an important skill, keep in mind that one by-product of poor multitasking ability is distracted driving. Improving this ability, then, can help you be safer while on the road.
Enhances Your Sense of Well-Being
Another amazing effect that meditation has is that it changes the way you look at things rather than changing circumstances directly. It provides a calm and accepting mindset that you can carry with you, regardless of difficult situations. Many times, we can’t change daily events in our lives that are causing us stress, but we can choose to approach them with more serenity and acceptance, making each day flow more smoothly.
Fosters a Cleaner Diet
Research has shown that when you’re sleep-deprived or stressed, you crave unhealthy foods. Incorporating meditation into your morning routine allows you to begin your day with a calm and rested mind that is conducive to craving healthier food choices. As you evolve in your meditation practice, you will notice that urges to reach for sugary, fatty foods will dissipate, and choosing healthier foods will increase your energy level and restore emotional balance.
Meditation is for Everyone
Many times, people are intimidated by meditation because they mistakenly believe that it takes a certain know-how or special ability. However, meditating takes no special talent or predisposition to be effective. In addition, meditation is not about perfecting serenity or reaching a certain level of enlightenment. Instead, it is about continuing to evolve in your practice, with no focus on perfection. You also don’t have to rush headlong into one-hour sessions to benefit from meditation. You can start with five-minute sessions and build up as you begin to see how practicing meditation is an ongoing process.
You’re More in the Now
Your head is much clearer when you first wake up than after you have met distractions later in the day. This leaves a clean mental slate that can become even clearer after 15 to 20 minutes of meditation. You add to your calmness of mind exponentially by practicing meditation first thing in the morning. In short, you want to maximize on your mental inventory by filling “empty” brain space with positive thoughts and energy.
There are countless overall health benefits of meditation and starting your day with the practice is a great idea. It’s a way to set the mood, focus, and momentum for the rest of your day, as well as keep you in the moment and not concentrating on the past and the future.