MINDFUL MORNING ROUTINE: A 3-MINUTE MIND-BODY PRACTICE TO START YOUR DAY RIGHT
How we start each morning can have a big impact on the rest of the day. But we all have much to do and think about, so it’s not always easy to find peace in the first few hours. Plus, 20-30 minutes of meditation is daunting for those new to mindfulness or with hectic schedules. Thankfully, I got a super quick, super easy mindfulness exercise to help ground you in just a few minutes.
Try this practice at any time during your morning: while brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or sitting down to eat breakfast. Three minutes is a good amount of time, but anywhere from one to five minutes is great.
Quick Daily Mindfulness Trick: Body Scan Meditation
Start by taking a few deep breaths. If you can, close your eyes—or at least focus on one point in front of you.
Bring your attention to your body, whether it’s sitting in a chair, standing, or lying down. Feel the weight of your body wherever you are. Now, go through each body part, one at a time, checking in with them, asking… any aches, pains, texture, contacts, temperature, any thoughts, or is everything okay? Then you move to the next.
Okay. Here we go:
- Start with your feet. Notice how they feel on the floor beneath you: the weight of them and the temperature and texture of the floor. Check in.
- Now, move to your legs. If you’re sitting or laying down, feel the weight of your legs on the chair, bed, or ground, and check in with them. Check in.
- Notice your lower back and your stomach. The stomach is our place of digestion, and many of us hold a lot of tension here. Breathe deeply and allow the area to soften. Check in.
- Move your attention to your fingers and hands, loosening them if they feel tight. Check in.
- Then, move to your arms and shoulders, relaxing any tension there. This is another area that tends to hold pain or tension. Soften, soften, soften. Check in.
- Move to your chest and upper back. Notice the chest rise and fall as you inhale and exhale. See if you can feel your heart beating and notice it’s rhythm. Check in.
- Move to noticing your neck and throat, loosening any clenched muscles. Check in.
- Next, move to your jaw and the muscles all around your face: your mouth, your cheeks, the muscles around and in between your eyes. Allow them all to relax and soften. Check in.
- Lastly, notice your head: the tops and sides, and how it feels. Check in.
- Now, here’s my favorite part. Do a reverse scan. Start with your head, then your face and jaw, throat and neck, chest, shoulders and arms, hands and fingers, stomach and back, legs, and head all the way back to the bottoms of your feet. Spend as much time on each as you’d like.
- Finally, take another relaxed, deep breath, taking your whole body into account, feeling it all as one.
Also, during this practice:
Notice, Don’t Judge
Mindfulness is about observing, not judging or trying to change anything in the moment. During your scan, if you notice pain or tension in your body or strong emotions in your mind, just acknowledge them instead of fighting or holding judgment about them. Imagine yourself as a kind scientist observing what’s going on from a neutral point of view.
Scan your body mentally and emotionally as well:
Do a Mental Check In
Before or after your body scan, take a moment to notice:
- How is your state of mind?
- Do you feel focused or distracted?
- What thoughts are going through your mind?
Simply acknowledge and accept what’s there.
Emotional Check In
- How do you feel right now?
- What emotions are coming up as you become more mindful?
- Are you anxious, worried, calm, relaxed, tired, or something else?
Don’t judge or try to fight the feeling—just acknowledge that it’s there.
Recognize the significance of taking time for YOU. We’re far better at caring for others’ needs than we are for ourselves, so any form of self-care should be celebrated.
Doing this daily can also help you be more mindful throughout your day. You might find it easier to tune in to how you feel physically and mentally, a crucial key to wellness.
So, try this little practice during your next morning routine—or better yet, try it now, no matter the time of day. It might seem hard at first, but you’ll be surprised to notice, it gets easier with each time and passing, and makes a difference. After all, that’s why mindfulness is called a practice.
You got this. : )