Craft beer and pretzels. Sunrise and surf. Morning meditation.
Some things just go better together.
But this post isn’t about catching waves or salty snacks. It’s about the value of meditation first thing in the morning.
Some people act like meditation is a drag, but they’d be wrong. Meditation is great — all you have to do is sit down and close your eyes for a few minutes. And the benefits? You get way more out of it than you’d think.
After all, science doesn’t lie: meditation is proven to improve both mental and physical health. And saving a little time for mindfulness time in the A.M. will set you up for a happy, productive day.
Before drip coffee and social media, there was meditation and quiet
As a practice, meditation can be traced back literally thousands of years: wall art from 5,000 BCdepicts figures of yogis, levitating in caves, and transcending the “limitations of human life”. And while 5 strong coffees may give you similar feelings of immortality, that’s not how the Buddha chose to start his day.
According to Buddhist studies, the Buddha woke up at 4am and immediately sat down for an hour’s meditation practice. There was nothing religious to it — he just sat, in peace, and tuned in to his feelings.
And that’s the sort of habit we can all make space for today.
The value of morning meditation in the 21st Century
Being the first out of bed is a sure-fire way to protect time for yourself. You might plan to meditate at 3pm but then emails from work, requests from the kids, and text messages from friends all flood in, taking your day in a new direction.
All you really need is 5 to 10 minutes. And all you need to do is try (that’s why it’s called a “practice”, you know). You can even do your meditation practice while your coffee is brewing — how’s that for early morning efficiency?
Speaking of which, we’d be willing to bet that checking your phone is the first thing you do most (or every) morning.
Don’t worry, us too. And it’s the same for 80% of cellphone users. It’s become a habit, although we know it’s not ideal.
Even a quick 10-minute meditation buffer between waking and checking your phone can produce a clear mind and lower stress. You’ve got to make the most of that short burst of peace, before the news and the notifications steal your attention away.
Okay, I’m sold — so how do I do it?
Ready to try a morning meditation practice? Here’s what you need to know...
Find a space that you feel comfortable in and take a seat (you don’t need to sit cross-legged on the floor, an armchair or couch is good, too)
Do it at the same time every day. If you normally wake up at 7am, set your alarm for 6.45, do a meditation as soon as you wake up, and then start your day. Within a couple of weeks it’ll become second nature, just like brushing your teeth.
Meditate somewhere you won’t be disturbed. It’s hard to reap the benefits of morning mediation if you’re interrupted by noisy traffic or housemates getting ready for work.
Try guided meditations to begin with. Sitting in silence even just for one minute can be hard, but guided practices give you different things to focus on — like breathing or gratitude. Apps like Headspace and Insight Timer are great, or just check YouTube for thousands of guided tracks.
If you find it hard to sit still for a whole practice, walking meditation could be a solid place to start. This involves walking around your house, or in a park, while paying attention to your breath and movements.
Remember that meditation is not always easy. Even people who’ve been practicing for years struggle with it from time to time. Some days will be hard, but just keep at it. Consistency in your practice is what’s important — you don’t have to be “good” at it every day.
We’re not here to preach.
But meditation is one of the best things you can do to calm an anxious mind in this overwhelming world. Commit to your morning meditation routine, and the benefits will look after themselves.
Have you come here looking for balance in this sometimes soul-crushing world? Then check out the rest of our digital magazine The Good Life Journal. In it, we talk about lots of ways to cut through the bullshit, focus on the good (it is there, we promise) and help each other out. We hope to see you again soon.