Introducing a mindfulness practice into your daily routine is a simple and surprisingly effective way to practice self-care. Tracking your sleep, creating morning rituals, prioritizing your day, and taking some time to give thanks are key ways to manifest a great day ahead and hold yourself accountable for your own happiness.
There have been countless scientific studies that look at how mindfulness and meditation can help with depression, anxiety and a variety of health issues (from a group of Harvard scientists' look at how meditation can actually alter one's genes, to psychologist Ellen Langer's examination of a non-meditative state where subjects focus on the here and now). And even if you're not looking for elaborate health benefits, it's an easy way to start focusing on positivity and learn to better appreciate the amazing little things that make your life beautiful.
With this idea in mind, we created our Morning Rituals Journals. A night owl who trained herself to become an early riser, our founder Amy was particularly interested in developing a journal that focused on adding mindful planning into her morning routine. While there isn't a set time of day that works best for mindfulness practice, we find that adding this type of routine to the beginning of your day can really help you prioritize and stick to it.
Even if you don't have on of our Morning Rituals journals, you can still start your day with your own version of our practice! To help guide you along, simply follow these steps each morning in your favorite journal or notebook:
1. Record your sleep
Write down what time you went to sleep last night, and what time you woke up this morning. Take a moment to think about your sleep patterns. Do you feel well rested? Was the amount of sleep you received enough, or do you wish you'd gone to bed earlier?
It seems silly to even point out that the earlier you go to sleep, the easier it will be to wake up early. But it's true! Phasing out distractions and screen time before you get in bed will also enable you to go to sleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. And great sleep is one of the pillar of health!
2. Choose your morning rituals
List the three rituals you will be, or have already tackled this morning. These practices should be all about self-care, focusing on activities that will put you on track to have an amazing day!
- A quick work-out or stretching routine
- Reading a chapter of a great book
- Enjoying your first cup of coffee siting on your porch in the sunshine, breathing in the fresh air
- Answering a couple emails you've been putting off
- Packing a healthy lunch for today
- A 10-minute meditation practice
There are so many tiny actions that will immediately put you in a good mood. All you have to do is carve out the time and make the effort to actually commit to them!
3. Choose your top priority
If you could only do one thing today, what would it be? Consider your priorities, and list the one thing you must complete. Not only will it help put your day into perspective, it will also give you a sense of accomplishment once you check it off your to-do list.
4. Gratitude journaling
Take a couple minutes to complete two short gratitude prompts. First, describe what you are most looking forward to today. Never mind if you are dreading a doctor's appointment, or feeling unprepared for a big meeting. This is the time for you to concentrate on the good, and really consider what part of today you are pining for. If you're having trouble thinking of something, make a plan here and now! Whether it's texting a friend to ask if they're free for a Zoom happy hour later, or planning a post-work stroll in a nearby park, you can make your day great.
Next, think about ways you can ensure today is a good day. Specifically think about what you can do to help others. Thinking outside of yourself and spreading kindness and joy to the people around you is one of the best possible ways to allow yourself to experience happiness. You don't have to save the whole world - start with asking your elderly neighbor if they need anything at the grocery store, and go from there.
5. Set tonight's sleep goals
Last, set a goal for tonight's sleep schedule. And hold yourself to it! You'll thank yourself tomorrow morning...
The most important tip, though? Just start! Sometimes beginning a new practice is the hardest part. So rather than putting it off any longer, pick up your journal now and start writing. You’ll be grateful you did.
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