Want to ensure you start your day right?
Try a morning ritual. Rituals boost mental, emotional, and social health, leading to happier and healthier people.
This post dives into the benefits and examples of inspiring morning rituals. It will also discuss the top tips for starting this practice successfully.
What is a morning ritual?
A ritual is an activity that’s performed consistently. It is always held at the same time and always follows the same steps.
Rituals can include anything from formally recognized cultural practices to individually created habits. People who engage in them demonstrate purposeful engagement. They’re invested in the actions and the outcomes. As such, rituals are often positively anticipated rather than simply items to be checked off a schedule.
Here are some examples of rituals:
- Friday movie nights with pizza and popcorn are a common home ritual.
- Team meetings that start with kudos or recognition of a team member are a popular work ritual.
- New Year’s Eve provides different examples of cultural rituals. In the United States, residents gather to watch the ball drop, while in Spain, locals try to eat 12 grapes in the first minute of the new year.
How is a morning ritual different from a routine?
A morning ritual is a meaningful activity that helps you start your day on the right foot. You can distinguish it from a routine through its intended purpose.
Rituals are imbued with meaning, and the people who engage in them experience a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, or enjoyment.
An example of a morning ritual is spending 10 minutes meditating before pouring your coffee.
Routines, on the other hand, are a series of actions completed to achieve a goal. They focus on the completion of the activity.
A morning routine might consist of the steps you take to get ready for your day. For example, you might make your bed, shower, and eat breakfast as part of your morning routine.
Let’s discuss why adding a morning ritual to your day can be helpful.
What are the benefits of a morning ritual?
Morning rituals offer several important benefits.
- They help to set the intention and tone for the day. If you start your mornings with something that brings meaning and purpose, you’ll be more inclined to carry that feeling.
- You feel more in control of your day from the beginning since you will have made time for and engaged in an activity you care about.
- You develop improved confidence and a more positive outlook. Research shows that rituals can enhance overall well-being.
Now, let’s jump into some ideas for rituals you could incorporate into your morning.
Simple morning ritual examples
Ready to add a ritual to your morning? Here are some ideas for inspiration:
Meditation positively impacts mental and physical health. For instance, it’s been proven to combat hypertension and improve your mood.
When you meditate, your mind relaxes, and your heart rate slows, calming your breathing. Meditation also tells your nervous system to reduce cortisol production, the primary hormone responsible for stress levels.
If you’re interested in practicing meditation, start by thinking of a quiet space to relax and deeply focus for 10 to 15 minutes.
You may add an affirmation to your meditation ritual if it helps you feel more centered. Choose one that lets you focus on the moment, such as “I am connected” or “I am calm.” Or, if you prefer, you can focus on your breathing instead.
2. Think mindfully
Mindfulness may be even easier to add to your morning ritual than meditation.
When you are being mindful, you are focused on the current moment. You are aware of what you are doing, where you are doing it, and how you are feeling.
While mindfulness is a component of meditation, you don’t have to meditate to be mindful. If you’d prefer, you can even incorporate mindfulness into an activity.
For example, practice mindfulness as you prepare your morning coffee. Start by thinking about how the mug you choose makes you feel. Is it the mug your friend gave you with the saying that always makes you smile? Or the cup you picked up on your solo adventure to Mexico last year? Listen to the sound as you pour your coffee and smell the rich aroma. Your beverage may even taste better with this heightened awareness.
Mindfulness has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. If you’re focusing on the here and now, you have less time to worry about what’s to come.
Practicing mindfulness in the morning will also make you more likely to incorporate it later. Adding mindfulness into your workday, for instance, allows you to reap the rewards throughout the day.
3. Give journaling a go
You don’t have to be a professional writer to add journaling to your morning ritual.
Journaling supports mental health and personal growth because it can be adapted to suit any need.
Gratitude journals, specifically, have gained traction in recent years — and with good reason. Numerous studies support the positive effects of recognizing gratitude, which include improved overall life satisfaction.
As with any ritual, the trick in journaling is consistency. Pick a notebook or head to your Notes app and write down three to five things you are thankful for every day.
And be specific. For example, if you’re thankful for your dog, don’t just write “my dog.” Write down what your dog did that made you smile that day.
Journaling can also be simple expressions of your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Write down what you’re thinking without editing or proofreading.
Another benefit of journaling? It requires minimal equipment — all you need is your laptop or notebook. Keep it in the same place so you’ll know exactly where it is each morning.
You already know that regular exercise can improve your physical health. It reduces blood pressure, improves cardiovascular fitness, and increases muscle strength.
You may have also heard of its positive effects on your mental health. Those endorphin boosts can help reduce anxiety and depression and improve your overall mood.
However, did you know that exercising in the morning can improve your circadian rhythm? Hitting the pavement for a jog or rolling out that yoga mat as soon as you wake up resets your body’s clock to rise earlier — and easier — each day.
You’ll just need to decide what you like to do and how you like to do it.
Some thrive with alone time, so a solo run or walk might just do the trick. Or, if you need some accountability, find a workout partner to meet you or sign up for an exercise class. If you’re pressed for time, hit the treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike.
If you find an exercise that you enjoy and that fits into your morning schedule well, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
5. Immerse yourself in nature
Spending time outside is another morning ritual with proven health benefits.
For instance, it boosts mental health outcomes. Even if you don’t have access to the woods, you can probably still find green spaces near you.
If you have time, walk your dog down a tree-lined street or park nearby. Or sit outside in your backyard with your morning tea or coffee for a few minutes.
No backyard? No problem. Bring elements from the outdoors into your home and take advantage of the benefits of biophilic design. Add greenery to your patio, balcony, or room. Incorporate a water feature and play birds tweeting, ocean waves crashing, or another type of white noise to involve even more of your senses.
6. Level-up your breakfast
Breakfast is often grabbed on the go, eaten in the car, or while powering up your laptop for the day.
But rather than making it an afterthought, consider incorporating a more in-depth breakfast into your morning ritual.
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of eating breakfast regularly, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and stroke.
Why not make breakfast something to savor? Choose healthy options that’ll leave you feeling full and ready to tackle your day. Stick to one specific meal for a while to combat decision fatigue or, if you prefer variety, prepare a menu for the week.
Let yourself sit down and enjoy the different flavors your breakfast has to offer. Put down your fork between bites. Savor each sip of coffee while you eat. Turn off your phone, listen to music, or simply revel in the quiet as you eat.
7. Engage your mind
Busy days often don’t leave people a chance to indulge in their favorite pastimes.
But if you make a hobby part of your morning ritual, you will always have time for it.
Think about those activities that fill you with joy and energize you. For instance, take some time to start one of those books you’ve collected on your e-reader. Turn on one of your favorite podcasts or playlists while you keep your hands busy with knitting or woodworking. Let yourself be creative through drawing, painting, or baking.
Starting your day with something you enjoy doing is a great way to put yourself first.
8. Practice self-care
Speaking of prioritizing yourself, why not start the day with some self-care?
The term has caught attention in recent years as people start to redefine what it looks like to truly take care of themselves. Your self-care approach could be physical, emotional, social, spiritual, or mental.
Take care of your body with gentle stretching, yoga, or even more challenging workouts. Drink a glass of water once you wake up to rehydrate. Take care of your mind by connecting with a loved one or cuddling a pet.
Many self-care rituals can be incorporated into others. For instance, you can practice mindfulness while walking around the block.
9. Pull out your planner
Another morning ritual to consider — especially if your days are busy — is preparation.
Look at your planner or calendar to remind yourself of the day’s events. Make a to-do list and identify your top priorities. Set daily goals. How do you want to feel by the end of the day? What do you hope to accomplish?
Taking time to improve your organization will improve your productivity and enhance your decision-making abilities. You’ll also have a chance to examine your work-life balance and ensure you don’t place your priorities on the back burner.
If you’d like help, Motion’s Intelligent Calendar is there for you. It schedules each task, meeting, to-do, and personal event according to your priorities. Motion will also adjust your calendar in real time if you get ahead or behind on your schedule.
Tips for starting a new morning ritual
If you’re ready to start a new morning ritual, here are some strategies for success:
- Start small. Even if multiple rituals from this list are speaking to you, start with just one and spend five to ten minutes doing it each day. Then, expand from there.
- Forgive yourself when necessary. Establishing new rituals takes time. You are essentially developing a new habit, so you might forget to do it now and again. If you miss a morning, shrug it off and try again.
- Evaluate as you go. Just because you chose something doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. For instance, you may love the idea of getting your intense workout out of the way first thing in the morning, but it may not be sustainable in the long run.
Feel free to adjust as you go. Before you know it, you’ll have a morning ritual that suits you perfectly.
Ease into the day with Motion
Now, it’s your turn.
Narrow down the morning ritual that most appeals to you. Give it a try and see how it goes.
If you’re leaning toward rituals that kickstart productivity, turn to Motion. Its Intelligent Calendar puts all your tasks, to-dos, and special events into a personalized schedule. It also sends encouraging messages to keep you on track and updates your activities in real time.
Sign up for Motion to start the simple ritual of simplifying your schedule today.