Updated: Feb 6, 2021
The search for mindfulness can often leave us frustrated. I have read plentiful articles that illustrate an idealized concept of “wellness,” ones with suggestions that seem catered to a certain 6 a.m.-sunrise-reiki-and-a-singing-bowl kind of clientele. Maybe I roll my eyes with little bit of snide jealousy — I wish that I was the kind of person who could always wake up to yoga, meditation, and a portion-controlled serving of fresh fruit, but that is definitely not the case.
Mornings are a universal part of the human experience. Though exact timestamps may vary, every human experiences a beginning of their day. While the old adage "start strong, finish strong" may not be scientifically proven, it certainly doesn't hurt to give ourselves a fighting chance. Here are 3 morning rituals to encourage mindfulness that are not meditating, and that are simple and not-time-consuming enough to integrate and sustain.
Don’t Look At Your Phone
…right when you wake up, at least. According to Google Design Ethicist Tristan Harris,“if you control the menu, you control the choices.” When we wake up and turn our phones over to a barrage of notifications, technology “[shapes] the menus we pick from” and “hijacks the way we perceive our choices and replaces them with new ones.” Make room for mindfulness by skipping that morning scroll session. In addition to avoiding any technology-induced mental reframing, you won’t run late to your morning meeting.
No, I’m not here to tell you to journal yet again, though that is certainly a way to practice gratitude. Gratitude “can improve well being in two ways: directly, as a causal agent of well-being; and indirectly, as a means of buffering against negative states and emotions (2).” Before getting out of bed, think of three things that you are grateful for. As you think of each one, take three deep, focused breaths before moving to the next.
And here you thought I was going to tell you to drink more water. It's all too easy to scroll through Instagram and put eating on autopilot; the strange fog of multitasking making it so that all of a sudden your food is gone, and you also can't quite remember what you've just looked at on your phone. Make space for the experience of eating, from preparation to washing the dishes afterwards. The great thing about eating is that it naturally involves so many tactile senses — focus on the olfactory experience and leave the social media binge for later.
1. Harris, Tristan. “How Technology Is Hijacking Your Mind - from a Former Insider.” Medium, Thrive Global, 16 Oct. 2019, medium.com/thrive-global/how-technology-hijacks-peoples-minds-from-a-magician-and-google-s-design-ethicist-56d62ef5edf3.
2. Nelson, C. (2009). Appreciating gratitude: Can gratitude be used as a psychological intervention to improve individual well-being? Counselling Psychology Review, 24(3-4), 38–50.