Sneaking Mindfulness Into Your Morning Routine

Mediation is like flossing, you know you should do it and the benefits are widely known, and yet it’s probably the first thing to get crossed off of your to-do list when you’re pressed for time. But, just like flossing, mediation is something that can only be ignored for so long before a ton of “crap” builds up.

Finding time for meditation can be tricky and often makes it seem like just another chore on your to-do list. I’ve personally found that one of the easiest ways to incorporate meditating into your daily life is to make it a part of something you’re already in the habit of doing. Like drinking coffee! If you’re part of the super-evolved minority that can get your day started with warm lemon water or a cup of green tea, kudos to you! I’m just not there yet.

Enter: the tea (or coffee) drinking ritual.

The Japanese have long engaged in tea ceremonies, which are commonly referred to as “ichi-go ichi-e”, which means “one time, one meeting”. The phrase is meant to remind us of the beauty of the present moment and to savor those moments when you feel fully present.

I encourage you to engage in your own, at-home tea (or coffee) ceremony. Wake up 10-30 minutes early so you have ample time to get present and savor the moment (and your drink). Begin by listening to the water boil, or the coffee brew. Then, shift your attention from the sound of the water to your breath. Notice where you’re sitting in the room. Notice the weight of your feet on the ground. As you pour your tea or coffee, watch the liquid fill the cup. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring your attention back to the present. If you add milk or cream to your drink, watch the way the two liquids mix together. Notice how the cup begins to warm under your hands.

As you slowly sip your beverage, begin to quiet your mind. Rather than gulping down your drink, let each sip be a gentle reminder to relax and be still. If you’re like me and find it nearly impossible to clear your mind, let each sip serve as an opportunity to think about something that you’re grateful for.

There will be a point, as you near the end of your cup, that you start to become impatient. You’ll start to think about your to-do list for the day, and all of the things that require your attention. Simply return your focus to your beverage and check in with yourself. Is your drink colder than when you started? Are you feeling relaxed? Nervous? Anxious? Awake? There is no right or wrong answer or feeling, the point of the practice is to simply become aware and be present.

Once you’ve finished your drink, you’re free to get back to your hectic life. However, I’d encourage you to pause throughout the day and apply this same mindfulness to other daily routines you already have in place (ex: brushing your teeth, showering, gardening, etc).

-Bottoms up!