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Click play below for a reading of today's intentional session from Matt.
Today, let's explore simple ways to enjoy a morning mindfulness practice, no matter how busy we may be.
Read aloud with purpose and intent:
I wake up renewed and smile.
I smile with every cell in my body.
Grateful to live another day.
Eager to honor this gift of life.
Receiving each precious moment.
Accepting and loving what is.
Letting it all wash over me.
Embracing myself and all beings,
with kindness and compassion.
Science smiles upon meditation.
Meditation has been around beyond a millennium and science is showing more and more how this seemingly simple mental exercise brings about significant changes in our bodies and minds.
Among a plethora of benefits, meditation is proven to help with the following:
- improves our concentration and attention
- helps us solve problems and make smarter choices
- brings us out of our mental ruts
- reduces stress and lowers blood pressure
- reduces anxiety and depression
- reduces physical pain
- improves sleep
- dampens the genes involved in the inflammatory response, and promotes those genes associated with DNA stability (hello longevity!)
- opens our eyes to the truths we've forgotten
author of Pivot • speaker • career & business strategist
Meditation is my medicine! It is the best thing I can do for my day, and it helps me feel calm, grateful, grounded, strategic, and creative. I usually do a minimum of twenty minutes. I don't practice any particular style, rather I vary it from day today.
I have steadily increased the amount of time I give meditation over the years. It used to be ten to twenty minutes a day (sometimes just five), until I realized that it was actually the most important thing I could do in a day, not something to be squeezed in. It dissolves problems much more quickly than churning through them all day with my mind.
Establishing a consistent practice invites enduring health benefits.
With recent neuroscientific findings, meditation has been shown to literally rewire brain circuits that boost both mind and body health. These benefits of meditation have surfaced alongside the understanding that the brain can be deeply transformed through experience—a quality known as “neuroplasticity.”
Dr. Claudia Aguirre
neuroscientist • mind-body expert
Through meditation, we get better acquainted with the behavior of our minds, and we enhance our ability to regulate our experience of our environment, rather than letting our environment dictate how we experience life.
Mind-body practices target different brain systems and serve as “brain fitness” exercise.
Unique effects for mindfulness practices were found in brain regions involved in body awareness, regulation of attention, integration of emotion control, sensory processing, mood control, executive cognition, self-control, social cognition, language, speech, tactile stimulation, sensorimotor integration, and motor function.
American football wide receiver
Meditation is easily my favorite part of the morning because I'm deliberately setting the tone for what I'd like to accomplish.
“Meditation is medication.”
As you repeat today's mantra, let it guide you into a meditative state of surrender and trust. Allow the repetitive sounds of these words to penetrate the depths of the unconscious mind and adjust the vibration of all aspects of your being towards inner harmony.
Whether you’re an experienced meditator or just exploring it for the very first time, we all encounter challenges in our practice. Much of this challenge could come from a sense of not meditating “correctly”, so let's reflect and clear the air a bit.
Here are two meditation myths we often hear:
Myth #1: “Meditation means clearing your mind.”
While that sounds nice, meditation is more about watching your mind, wherever it goes; without judgment. This practice of observing, without attaching to, helps us be the objective witness.
spiritual teacher and self-help author
Myth #2: “Meditation should be peaceful and relaxing.”
Well, it can be, but it’s not going to be like that all the time. And when it isn’t? That’s ok! Meditation is about seeing things clearly, not wanting them to be a certain way.
Many of us experience psychological pain fairly regularly, and meditation offers a way of having fundamental insight into that process, such that we don’t keep suffering to the same degree and in all the ordinary ways.
scientist, writer, and meditation teacher
Meditation is not about trying to become a nobody, or a contemplative zombie, incapable of living in the real world and facing real problems. It’s about seeing things as they are, without the distortions of our own thought processes.
Reconsider meditation with a genuine curiosity and openness to new experiences.
By not taking mediation too seriously (yet, serious enough to show up and practice), we crack open a whole new mental frequency that radiates clarity, focus, and intention throughout your day.
Career and Executive Coach
Meditation is the greatest life hack that most people don't use.
Find, and honor, what works for you.
Meditation takes many forms, shapes, and sizes (e.g., vipassana, metta, zen (zazen), mindfulness, transcendental, qigong, guided, self-hypnosis, etc). So, as always, the examples and routines we're exploring today are only meant to bring insight into how to approach meditation in ways that work best for you.
Co-Founder & Director at Wild Food Cafe
My morning meditation is probably the most important aspect of each day. I see it as “making your bed” for the day. Whatever external or internal struggles I might have, meditation is the opportunity to iron things out from the other side of conscious awareness without any thinking or doing-just by becoming super aware of the vastness, depth, and richness of my being. Once I'm in that state, everything falls into place, even if I don't yet know what those things are.
Meditate in the mundane.
If sitting down to meditate for twenty minutes every morning doesn't appeal to you, play with ways to cultivate meditative moments in what you already do. Mundane moments like journaling, running, walking, standing in line, washing the dishes, taking a shower, or grinding your coffee beans are perfect opportunities to create more mindfulness throughout your day.
Vanessa Van Edwards
behavioral investigator with Science of People and author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People
I hand grind tea leaves and wait while they steep. This is the closest thing to meditation that I do. The manual process of clipping, crushing, and steeping the leaves wakes up all of my senses.
Let's take one minute to release mental chatter by feeling what's going on, right now, in the body.
Play with decreasing (yes decreasing) the time.
From one minute, to 30 seconds, to 15 seconds, all the way down to a single breath. What you will find is within a single breath, and a whole lot of intention, you can bring yourself back to your center anytime, anywhere.
Notice moments to be more mindful throughout the day.
Whether we build a designated morning meditation practice or not, we can always intentionally scatter small spells of mindfulness throughout the day to help us stay present and focused.
executive coach and social worker
There are so many benefits to mindfulness, so I make a point to search for reflective time throughout my day, even if it's in small ways. If I'm stuck on a long line or delayed on the subway, rather than be annoyed, I see it as an opportunity to reflect and practice being present and in the now.
Life is complex, let's simplify it all by keeping meditation (of all things), simple.
A disciplined practice will build with time, but for now let's not allow any performance anxiety to creep into our meditation practice. Don't feel that your meditation practice should be one type or another, or that you have to stick to someone else's rules. You know better than anyone what is calming and meditative for you.
self-care consultant , community care facilitator, and author of “selfcarefully”
I've studied a few kinds of meditation but none of them too seriously. Mostly, I just sit and notice and feel. I do alternate nostril breathing. My mind wanders and I bring it back. My practice isn't fancy but [it] seems to do the trick of keeping me centered.
What do you already do every morning that could be done with more mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of noticing and engaging with life more intimately in any given moment. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present, and at one with those around you and with what you are doing.
writer, photographer, and cat lover
How about you?
What is one way you will sprinkle an extra bit of mindfulness into your morning routine?
Feel free to come back and share it with us in the comments below or on our private Morning Routine Activity Feed.