Peace is a quality you can cultivate within yourself, if you practice feeling it every single day. The wise and lovely Pema Chodron said, “Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”
The world we live in today surrounds us with chaos. If you don’t intentionally choose to practice a state of peace, if only for five minutes a day, it’ll be much easier to feel like an anxious, chaotic mess. The truth is that right now in 2017, everyone needs to embody and express their truth with courage, wisdom, discernment and love. It’s much, much easier to do this if you are grounded in peace.
Peace isn’t passive. Peace allows clarity and a grounded approach to expressing and “being” the truth. If you don’t have any inner peace, you’ll probably say and do some things you’ll regret and things that attract more unpleasant scenarios in your day.
You can begin to cultivate more inner peace with a simple morning routine. Instantly, when you wake up, you begin setting the tone for the day with your initial thoughts and actions. Most people are on autopilot, doing the same things every morning – like checking e-mails, listening to the news or scrolling through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which leads to anxiety, comparison, frustration and anger before 11:30 a.m.
How to Begin Your Day in Peace
Go In Before You Go Out
Most people immediately go “outside” of themselves when it would be wise and advantageous to go “in,” through a creatively crafted morning routine. You might immediately check all the notifications, click on a half-dozen apps, check the weather and the news and spend (gulp) 10 minutes scrolling through your Instagram newsfeed.
Fuel yourself. Spend some time in the morning by yourself replenishing some warmth in your heart and soul, before you begin responding to the outside world. “In” before “out.”
What is a Morning Routine?
A morning routine is a personalized ritual that you do every morning to feel ready to face the day with clarity, energy and a positive outlook.
Everyone’s morning routine can be different but many people include some deep belly breathing (rather than shallow chest breathing), meditation, stretching, yoga, inspirational reading, a walk, some writing or something else creative.
How Long Should My Morning Routine Be?
This is absolutely up to you. It can be five minutes or up to 45 minutes or more! If you have an irregular schedule, it can be a different length every day. The most important thing is to do it. If you usually do 15 minutes and you press snooze, you can still set aside five minutes. The point is to consistently have some “you” time to intentionally set the tone for the day.
Sometimes my morning routine is very long. I sit on a yoga block to open up my hips and a drop a little citrus essential oil (like lemon, grapefruit or orange). I set a timer for three minutes and breathe in the aroma slowly. Then I do some stretching or a cat-to-camel yoga pose for five minutes. Then I write in my journal about what I’m most appreciating and what my dreams, goals and aspirations are. Sometimes I meditate for five to 20 minutes. Whether my morning routine is short or long, the point is to become centered and move in my body. When you are “in” and “connected” to your body, you’re less “in your head” (which feels like worrying, anxiety and overthinking).
What Can I Include in a Morning Routine?
- Inspirational reading
- Deep breathing
- Simply sit there and focus on feeling peace in your heart
- Inspirational music (Do a YouTube search for “beautiful, inspirational music”)
What Can I Write About?
Answer any of the following questions:
- What do I want to feel today? (Peace, love, joy, calm, vibrancy, harmony, fun, etc.) Most people walk around all day thinking about what they don’t want to feel. Ask yourself how you do want to feel instead. (This question gets major credit from Danielle LaPorte in her book The Desire Map.)
- Brainstorm on little things you can do to make you feel how you want to feel. For example, if you want to feel “health,” then make sure to choose a better breakfast, go for a short walk on your lunch break or don’t let yourself get so hungry that you overeat when you walk in the door.
- What is going well in my life right now?
- What do I appreciate about my life right now?
- Write about one of your deepest desires for your life that you have some control over and can help to create for yourself.
- How can I feel more alive in my own life? What brings me to life?
- Find a quote about peace that you like and journal about it.
Where Should I Do My Morning Routine?
Set the mood. You don’t need candles and romantic music but you do need a clean, comfortable, inspiring place to be.
Pleasant features of a morning routine location:
- Beautiful plants
- The morning sun, shining into the room
- Colors and inspiration
- Any space that makes you feel really good
- A spot with a nice view
- Probably not in bed or anywhere else you might fall asleep
- On a beautiful blanket on the floor
- On a comfortable, sturdy couch
- Outside on the porch or porch swing
- Outside in the grass or if you have a nice park close by
- Somewhere that feels beautiful and luxurious (maybe your bathtub)
What if I Have Little Kids to Tend to Early?
This can be challenging. Depending on how old they are, include them. Sit them on your lap for five minutes. Dance with them. Do some journaling while they’re playing or napping. Talk to yourself in your head and ask yourself, “How do I want to feel today?”
Find a creative way to get intentional about your day while you’re engaging with them. Take slow deep breaths into your belly while you feed them. I know a mom who had three-year-old twins and would meditate with whoever climbed up on her lap. They eventually began sitting still with her. Remember, the peace you create inside often shows up all around you. Children will feel the peace you’re beginning to create.
Some Final Do’s and Don’ts
- It’s totally up to you, but I recommend waiting until after your routine to have your coffee. I’m definitely a coffee lover but I’ve found that I can relax into my meditation and writing better without sending jolts of caffeine to my mind. Remember, this morning practice is about balancing your mind, body and spirit.
- Don’t take your phone with you unless you have discipline or you’re just going to use the timer.
- If you want to see results (a more peaceful and positive day), then be disciplined and do it every day.
- Go straight into your morning routine before you get distracted by e-mail, news and such. Turn off notifications before bed if that makes it easier in the morning.
- Avoid the other things calling your name as you walk through your home. The dishes can wait and you can put away the laundry later. If that happens, tell yourself, “The most important thing for me to do right now is my morning routine.”