Five-Minute Mindful Morning Practice to Reduce Stress this Holiday Season
As hard as it might be to believe, the holiday season is near, and we find ourselves in November. For many, the hustle and bustle of planning, shopping, and scheduling is well underway. Along with the extra lists, now is the perfect time to set the intention to maintain or add mindfulness practices into your morning routine.
Time might feel especially limited, so here is a practice you can do for as short as five minutes or as long as you like to start your day off right.
Meditation with Body Scan in the Morning
Mornings have an auspicious, supportive quality if we allow them to. If we don’t rush to check our phones or leap out of bed, morning is a precious time as we wake to a new day. Our choice to begin with moments of mindfulness sets the tone for the entire day.
Upon waking, the body will be stiff whether we have slept well or not. After slowly getting out of bed and doing the first parts of your morning routine (enjoying a few slow stretches, gently scraping the tongue, and taking a few sips of warm water), now is an ideal time for a body-scan meditation. You could do a body scan while still in bed, or sit up tall on your meditation cushion or in a chair.
A morning body-scan meditation allows you to re-establish the mind-body-heart connection. Here are some benefits that might surprise you:
- You naturally make better food choices- When you wake up and meditate, you center yourself. From there, you naturally will want to listen to your body’s needs for nourishment rather than rushing to fill a craving or eat whatever you can get your hands on. This pattern of listening to your true needs first thing in the morning sets a pattern for the rest of the day.
- You can start the day with less tension- A body scan gives you the opportunity to notice body parts one by one. You will notice tension in areas you wouldn’t have noticed if you had rushed straight into the day. Imagine what discomfort you could prevent by addressing tension first thing in the morning. Taking time to breathe and invite relaxation into these spots can help your day progress with more ease.
- Mindful intentions sink in now- After you have completed the body scan, now is the perfect time to set your intentions for the day. Envision how you would like to feel, specifically how smooth the day could go, and how you will take breaks to check in with yourself.
If you are reading this, you might be thinking that you don’t have time for all of this. Or, how much can this really help? It’s the same situation as if someone were to tell you that scheduling more movement into your day can help your mood. You will never know without trying. Making time for meditation first thing in the morning is the same: you will not believe or fully comprehend the benefits until you experience them.
So, will you try it? Can you set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier each day for the next two weeks? If you try one day, and fall back asleep, don’t get discouraged. Try again the next day.
Most people do not want to give up this practice. They notice such a profound difference and say that they don’t feel like themselves without doing it. That makes sense because taking time in the morning to center yourself as you gradually transition from sleep to waking is how you check in with yourself. You are, in effect, saying to yourself, “Good morning. I see you. I am here for you. Let’s head into this day aligned in mind, body, and heart.”
A Simple Body-Scan Meditation
- Set a timer for the amount of time you will practice.
- Get comfortable lying down, sitting in a chair, or sitting on a cushion on the floor.
- Close your eyes or hold a soft gaze at an unmoving object, or gaze out the window at a spot in the distance.
- Take a few deep breaths: inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
- Bring your awareness to the top of the head and notice how it feels.
- Without trying to change anything, just notice.
- Allow your awareness to travel down the head and face.
- Notice how the forehead feels.
- Notice the back of the head.
- Notice the eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, the jaw, and so on.
- As you move awareness down the body if you notice tension anywhere, pause, notice. Breathe naturally.
- With compassionate awareness allow the tension to be there as you observe it and breathe. In a few moments the tension might melt away simply from being in the energy of your compassion.
- If the tension lasts, you might like to imagine directing your breath into that area. Imagine inhaling soothing energy to that spot and exhaling tension. Gently. You also can make small movements to get energy flowing in that area.
- Continue to move your awareness down the body, noticing, breathing, and offering compassion.
- As you do this through the entire body, you might notice when one part relaxes, other body parts relax.
- Repeat the entire body scan again to notice any difference.
- Set your intentions for the day.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Open your eyes if they were closed.
- Slowly get up and head into your day.
We invite you to join Heidi Spear for a course offered exclusively through The UltraWellness Center called Meditation and Stress-Reduction Practices for Everyone. The course begins on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, and includes three Tuesday night sessions, live on Zoom. Link below for more information and to register:
To hear a guided morning meditation that includes a body scan, listen to Heidi on Insight Timer:
For more information about Heidi, visit http://www.HeidiSpear.com