Mornings! Few of us look forward to them and most of us dread them. In most cases, mornings signify the start of an endless list of tasks and errands which often begin with a mad rush to get out your front door and get to work on time through traffic chaos and end with running around trying to get errands done, let alone shuttling your children from school to activities, if you have any, and spending a couple of hours in the evening eating dinner and relaxing if you’re lucky.
No wonder most of us start our days with fear and anxiety. I was once this way as well. In fact, I would suffer with palpitations in the later part of the night as morning approached because I did not want to face the never-ending to do list which became a source of fear and anxiety.
I reached a point where I realized that the reason I had these feelings was because I was too embroiled on doing rather than how I was being during the doing. This was a realization which came to after years of suffering through my own negative thinking and wondering if my view of my life situation was ever going to change. How did this happen?
It all started with a book which I had read more than 20 years ago called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book discusses how our minds have become monsters because of an epidemic of negative thinking which permeates everything we do and keeps us from realizing who we truly are. The book goes on to highlight the importance of awareness of the present moment and how this is the only thing that truly matters because the this moment is all we really have at any given time.
I had to read this book more than twelve times before it finally touched me deeply enough to facilitate my journey to realizing my true nature of pure consciousness. It is from this place that I started to realize the importance of a morning routine and from where it began.
You see, your day will proceed from the mindset and energy that you start out with in the morning. If you start your day in a mad, chaotic rush to get out the door and to your destinations, whether they are getting your kids to school on time, getting to your mechanic for car maintenance you have scheduled, getting to your doctor’s appointment on time or getting to your workplace inconspicuously enough that your boss does not notice your tardiness, your whole day will unfold with the same energy.
If, however, you start your day out powerfully and serenely, this is the energy you will carry throughout your day. This is why it is important to have a morning routine that you stick with despite how busy your upcoming day is going to be. You may have to start going to bed early to get up early but you must develop and cultivate a morning routine.
Now, it is not my place to tell you what your morning routine should entail but I’d like to tell you about what works for me. The first thing I do after I get up, and have used the bathroom and brushed my teeth, is to start hydrating myself. I do not eat breakfast because I find that, in the early hours of the day, my body needs hydration not nutrition,. If I am hydrated enough then I can hold off on eating anything till around 11:00.
The importance of morning hydration is that we get dehydrated throughout the 6 to 10 hours of sleep that most of us get because we are not drinking fluids during this time. My choice of hydration is filtered water with half a squeezed lemon, some sea salt and a teaspoon of honey. I drink close to a litre of this throughout the morning but always start out this way.
The next thing I do is spend 5 to 10 minutes in silent meditation. I do this by sitting in a comfortable place and position, closing my eyes and focusing on my breath. Sometimes, I will go into my backyard and do this with my eyes open and observe the beauty of nature with all of my senses. It just depends on what mood I’m in. The importance of morning meditation is that it gets you in touch with your true nature beyond your physical body, your thoughts and your emotions.
I then spend 10 minutes in movement which is either stretching or martial arts. Movement is important in the morning because it gets your blood circulating and delivering oxygen to all your vital organs and all your muscles to get your physically ready for whatever the day will bring.
I then spend 10 minutes reading something informative or inspirational. It could be an email, a blog post or a book that I am currently reading. Usually my readings centre around personal development. The importance of this practice is to get your mind primed and ready to think effectively for whatever the day throws at you.
After this morning routine, which takes no more than 30 minutes, I’m off to take on my day with increased vitality, vigour and inspiration. Now you don’t have to follow what I do exactly but I do believe that any morning routine needs to include hydration, a consciousness practice, some sort of movement and a mind reseting activity.
It is up to you to develop your own morning routine but, whatever it is, I believe that it is absolutely crucial for grounding and centring, happiness and fulfillment and optimizing your productivity so that, not only do you get everything you need to get done in the day, but that you focus on the things that matter most for what you are trying to achieve.
I encourage you all to develop and start practicing a morning routine. If you are skeptical then just do this for 3 weeks and watch how your life transforms. You will not look back once you are in this routine and it will bring you more than you can possibly fathom before trying it.
Nauman Naeem MD