The body, mind and soul should function like a well-rehearsed orchestra to create a beautiful symphony, A confluence of the three can be better achieved by incorporating a well thought out morning routine that caters to our spiritual, mental, physical and emotional needs, giving each their due time and attention. The daily acts of life can be automatized so that we don’t spend our mental energy on them and are able to perform them like clockwork thereby inviting simplicity to our mornings.
The Night Before
The start to an effective morning routine begins the night before. The blue light emitted from our phone screens reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone that aids sleep, which delays and deteriorates the quality of sleep we have. Researchers have linked shortened sleep to increased risk of depression, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Turning off unnecessary notifications prevents a stressful start to our day. In a survey of nearly 2000 workers in the UK, conducted by Future Work Center, it was discovered that email notifications are linked to higher feelings of anxiety. It also prevents us from checking our phone first thing in the morning to explore what we might have missed while we were sleeping. All screens, if put away 2-3 hours before bedtime, will not do as much damage to our sleep schedule and ensuring that our phones are not the first interaction we have when we wake up, can ensure we have a more peaceful and productive morning.
Though what time to wake up can be governed by multiple aspects and can differ for different people, we can strive to wake up at the same time each day. This will help create a more concrete routine and as we get into the habit, we may soon find ourselves waking up willingly before the alarm clock goes off. Ayurveda propagates waking up early for numerous benefits – the biological clock gets set in order and we experience a heightened sense of self-esteem, self-discipline and are generally happier.
Spirituality & Meditation
To acknowledge and address our spirituality needs in the morning sets the tone for a day that is peaceful and keeps us centred. Spirituality impacts our social, intellectual, psychological and emotional systems. The exploratory journey of spirituality though may be personal and unique to each person who embarks upon it but most of us start to experience unrest and chaos in our lives if we choose to ignore it.
The time in the morning when we are alone with ourselves is an ideal time to explore the connections, we have with something bigger, deeper and higher than ourselves. Each morning comes with a chance for us to recognize this higher power and surrender to it. This surrender or act of ‘letting go’ will help to curb any false sense of pride or ego right in the morning show us that just as we occupy a space in this world, everyone else does too and they deserve our kindness, generosity and respect.
Humans have practiced meditation for thousands of years and it has greatly contributed to their spiritual upliftment and mental wellbeing. Scientists who have started to explore meditation some decades ago, also agree with the monumental benefits it has on our mind and body. Stress levels reduce, dependency on pain medication comes down, people are happier and don’t succumb easily to impulses once they regularly practice mindfulness and meditation. We can also take this time for religious study or explore texts of philosophy.
Making Your Bed
Making your bed in the morning is advocated for two main benefits. First, we start off the day with a small accomplishment and we wish to continue that streak of creating order. The activity helps to strengthen and instil an attitude of positivity that carries on to other tasks of the day. Secondly, if we don’t have a pleasant day, coming home to a neat bed restores the stability we might have lost during the day and reiterates that there have been tasks where we were successful and tomorrow brings more such opportunities.
The physical body must go through some movement to help us be more active throughout the day. A small workout ensures good cardiovascular health and prevents muscle weakness. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar is also known to improve muscle strength, general body endurance and body composition.
Starting a gratitude journal or simply writing down how we feel during the start of a day can help set our thoughts in order. Our emotions will not seem to overpower us during the day if we address the thoughts that bother us. Just like a young child needs attention, acknowledging our emotions can soothe and calm them. We can also choose to spend this part of the morning building up on our relations with our loved ones. Spending some quiet time in the morning with family, undisturbed by the buzz of a busy day, can be stress relieving for everyone and brings the family together.
Healthy Breakfast and Goal Setting
A healthy breakfast is the fuel we need to start our day well. If balanced well, this meal can improve our memory, help us to lose weight and feel energized all day. This is also a great opportunity to share a meal with family. We can also use this time to plan our day in a way that places us in the driver’s seat and not be governed by randomness. A schedule keeps us on track and helps us to make the best possible use of our time to have a productive day. We can also use this time to mentally nourish ourselves; to read at a time when we are cognitively attentive is a good use of the abundant mental energy we have when we wake up and have a nourishing meal.
It is true that genetics decide whether you are a morning person or a night owl. Bill Gates reads till late in the night and wakes up much later in the morning, whereas his wife Melinda Gates, is a morning person and is usually awake with the sun. But it takes time and a willingness to become more self-aware to see what works for us. Having a morning routine that caters to our spiritual, mental, physical and emotional needs is imperative for growing as a human being. We can become more stable, more at peace with ourselves by making a few tweaks with how we conduct ourselves in the morning.