The first few hours of your morning set the tone for the rest of your day, so it’s important to set clear intentions on what you want to accomplish. The easiest way to set yourself up for success is to adopt a morning routine. The following mindful morning rituals are science-based hacks to help you achieve more joy, positivity, and peace in your life. As with anything in life, take the morning rituals you like and leave the ones you don’t at the door.
Quote of the Day
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant
Mindful Morning Rituals
1. Make gratitude your first thought
Did you know that gratitude can dramatically change the activity in your brain? Scientists conducted a study in 2008 to measure the brain activity of people thinking and feeling gratitude. What they found was “that gratitude causes synchronized activation in multiple brain regions, and lights up parts of the brain’s reward pathways and the hypothalamus.” In other words, gratitude is directly linked to cognitive health and happiness. Give your brain an extra dopamine hit in the morning by taking five minutes to appreciate life. What lights you up inside? Try to hone in on that feeling and express your positive thoughts on paper.
2. Put your phone down
Many of us have the bad habit of turning to our phones when we wake up. We’re immediately trying to answer all of the pressing questions that come to mind: What’s in our email inbox? What’s the news today? Who posted on Instagram? The reality is these questions (and answers) can wait. We aren’t designed to cram our brains with information the minute we wake up. Be a bit gentler with yourself and give yourself 10 minutes to simply be. No dopamine hits. No distractions. No emotional highs or lows. Allow yourself to relax and mentally prepare for the day ahead.
3. Make your bed
A messy bed quite literally messes with your mental health. If you care about your living space (and how you’re able to function in it), spend an extra minute making your bed. Admiral William McRaven explains why more eloquently than I ever could: “If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.” If you need more reasons to make your bed, check out this article by Very Well Mind. They list out anecdotal evidence that making your bed can provide a feeling of accomplishment, a sense of calm, better sleep, enhanced organization, improved focus, relaxation, and stress reduction.
4. Stretch your body
There are over 600 muscles in the human body! Every single one works hard to help you get where you need to go each day. The simplest way to show your body your thanks is to give it a bit of extra TLC with simple stretching. My favorite is this 10-Minute Morning Yoga Full Body Stretch. Stretching helps to release endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, which help to motivate us, fight off depression, and decrease anxiety. Now that’s a way to start your morning!
5. Nourish your body
My favorite morning routine ritual is to mix my AG1 Green Powder in a nutrient-rich green smoothie, or an 8oz glass of water. Drinking greens first thing in the morning dramatically improves my mood and energy levels throughout the day. Recipes like this green smoothie are chock full of fiber, folate, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K. If you’re not big on green smoothies, try making a bowl of fiber-rich oatmeal, nutrient-rich avocado toast, or protein-rich eggs (optional: with spinach). Read this article for my top five cheap, easy, and healthy breakfast recipes.
6. Set your intentions
I love The Blissful Mind’s approach to Daily Intentions. She views intentions as “tools,” “reminders,” and “acts” that can help you make decisions, focus on specific tasks, or embody a certain energy or mindset in your day. With her framework in mind, I encourage you to ask yourself: What do you want to do today? What kind of person do you want to be? What do you need to commit to? Then verbalize or write your thoughts down. These thoughts will be your emotional anchors.
Here are some daily intention examples:
Today, I intend to:
- Choose joy
- Approach challenges with a positive mindset
- Practice gratitude for the little moments
- Take breaks to recharge
- Show appreciation for myself and my accomplishments
- Cultivate a sense of curiosity
- Connect with loved ones
- Listen to my body’s needs
- Celebrate progress, not perfection
- Set boundaries to protect my well-being
- Learn from setbacks and use them as opportunities for growth
When you train your brain to see the good each morning, the mood-boosting benefits will follow. I hope these mindful morning rituals help you have a great start to your day, every single day! You can mix and match these rituals to curate the right mindful morning routine for you.
If you liked this article, check out:
- Embracing Tranquility: 10 Mindfulness Practices to Relieve Holiday Stress
- 10 Daily Habits for a Happier & Healthier Life
- The Gratitude Challenge: 30 Days of Being Thankful