Rise and Shine: 7 Practices to Empower Your Mornings (and Life)

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters.”

 – Buddha

Imagine – the world is still asleep yet here you are, eyes fluttering open in the dark, ready to greet a brand new dawn. Today is a clean slate…a fresh start.

Within a society that’s overstimulated, stressful and often on autopilot, mornings are YOUR moment to turn on your inner light again. (Night owls – this applies to you, too.)

Early risers build precious time back into a busy schedule. After getting used to this schedule, you’ll find your head space feels relaxed yet ready to conquer the day. Your soul will be a peaceful lake, unrippled yet by favors, work or the “to-do” list. The small worries wash away, replaced by renewed deep gratitude welling in your center. This one and precious life is all you have and this morning you’re going to own it.

Okay, maybe you despise early starts or have a very unhealthy sleep schedule right now. Regardless, every one of us is capable of morning magic if we’re committed! I’ve slowly built my personal mornings to start around 5:00am (give or take). I fill the time with meditation, writing, running, reading and a powerful podcast show or two. (All before a busy workday at the office.)

Sure, not every A.M. will be perfect, but rising earlier with a mindful ritual will, over time, enlighten your daily life and attitude.

Ready to experiment with being an early bird? Here are 7 general morning rituals worth exploring:

(1) Gratitude & Free Writing

You don’t have to be a writer to feel the therapeutic benefits of getting thoughts out of your monkey mind and onto paper. Start off on a thoughtful note or hash everything out in a Five Minute Journal. (Self-development guru Tim Ferriss swears by these!) They start with 3 short lists to fill in each morning: I am grateful for…, What would make today great?, and a Daily affirmation of “I am…”

(2) Meditate

In the still quietness of dawn the mind and soul may mingle in a realm between soft dreamy hypnosis and surging motivational pulls. This is why you should commit to a 15-30+ minutes of early meditation. Build a ritual that truly grounds you. Try silence, nature or binaural beats, or guided meditations from apps like Insight Timer. Sink in, follow your breath. Let your thoughts free. Do this daily to find yourself rooted – rain or shine.

(3) Pretend Email & Social Media Don’t Exist Yet

Stop the fingers. Resist the temptation for 30+ minutes. From the moment we go to bed (scrolling through feeds) to waking up, we tend to check our phone first. We hop from Gmail (Did I get a response back about that job application?) to Instagram or Facebook (Did those cute pictures from last night get posted?) to how many “likes” did my guest blog post receive? Turn off the social comparison. Let your intuition lead the way.

(4) Exercise (Ideally Outdoors)

Get your body and blood flowing first thing. Shake away the stress and anxiety creeping at the corners of your mind. Dance around by yourself to uplifting music. Go for a leisurely jog (or hardcore sprint). Strike a yoga pose. Go outside and shoot some basketball hoops, or get a few hardcore volleyball hits in. Whatever activity makes you feel loose and free, do it. Raise the vibrations of your body; the rest will follow.

(5) Awaken Your Creative Muse  

Your Muse, like the morning sun, is ready to rise and shine. So, go. Do your creative work. Start writing/typing, painting, playing music, videotaping YouTube videos or audio tracks or doodling in a mindful adult coloring book. Block off at least 10-20 minutes every morning to let your soul play with passion. See your dreams gradually take shape before your eyes.

(6) Feed Your Body & Mind with Nourishment

While it’s important to slow down and center the mind, mornings are also a great time to fuel up. Start off with a healthy, filling breakfast. Eat slowly while adding in one positive piece of content – that one inspiring YouTube video, 10 pages of a self-empowerment book, one blog post read (like this one!) or a positive podcast. Feed your body and mind with positive nourishment and it will pay off.

(7) Savor Every Small Moment

If you get up early enough, stare at the sunrise and gorgeous colors changing in the sky. Look at the flowers, the trees. Inhale the pollen, the dew drops. Watch the birds and rabbits go to and fro from branches or trees. Notice how you feel right here, right now, and accept that emotion without judgement. Sip your coffee or tea, unrushed. Don’t let these simple little things pass you by because in the end they mean the most.

If you’re craving to try out a range of morning hacks, give some of these a try and let us know how you feel! Try setting your alarm just 10 minutes earlier to get motivated. Soon you’ll be ready to rise ‘n shine for each new day.

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