HEALTHY LIVING
08/07/2013 08:13 am ET Updated Aug 23, 2013

The One Ritual Your Morning Is Missing

flickr/avid hills

If you start your day with a piping hot cup of joe and a nutritious breakfast you're on track to a healthful day, but you might be missing just one thing: a meditation routine.

A morning meditation will keep you accountable for your practice and set the pace of your day. A pace, which studies shows, will be more focused, efficient and calm.

“When we meditate in the morning, it gets done,” explains Andy Puddicombe, former Buddhist monk, mindfulness expert and co-founder of Headspace. “It is so easy to postpone or forget to meditate altogether once the day is up and running. But by doing it first thing, you can ensure it becomes part of your everyday routine.”

If you can’t imagine adding another step to your mornings (searching for your keys already takes long enough!), there’s a simple formula for making the transition a virtually seamless one. “Try ‘attaching’ your meditation to something you always do, without fail, every single morning,” Puddicombe advises. For some, the best “cue” might be taking a shower, for others, it’s brushing their teeth. “By doing this you greatly increase your chances of remembering and making it a habit.”

In that same vein, why not make meditation an ingredient in your breakfast? According to the expert, it’s possible to apply mindfulness to any situation, “and eating breakfast is no exception.” In a sense, you won’t be creating a new ritual, just adding to a pre-existing one.

Want to add some extra om to your omelet but don't know where to start? Find Puddicombe’s simple tips for a breakfast meditation below. Then, tell us how you incorporate the practice into your day in the comments below.

Before diving into breakfast, try just pausing for a moment. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to fully exhale. Notice any impatience or desire to speed things up and acknowledge how you are feeling. The key to eating mindfully is to engage the mind in the physical senses and recognize when the mind has wondered off or become distracted. At that moment, you can simply bring the attention back again to the taste or the small of the food.

A nice way to begin is to take 20 or 30 seconds to briefly reflect. Where did the food come from? Where was it grown? Is it something that makes you feel healthy or unhealthy? By reflecting in this way, it changes the way we then consume the food.

Next, focus on what you can see. Look at it. Really look at it. Be interested in what you are putting into your body.

Next focus on the smell. Smell it. Really smell it. Notice the associations that arise in the mind.

Continue to move through the senses in this way. Each time you focus on a particular sense, you are training in awareness, learning to be more present and making it that much more likely that you will experience a healthier and happier mind. And all while enjoying your breakfast!

For more on meditation, click here.

Also see 'Grasping The Basics Of Meditation With Headspace' in the slideshow below:

PHOTO GALLERY
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BEFORE YOU GO
Meditation Made Simple: Back To Basics
PHOTO GALLERY
Meditation Made Simple: Back To Basics

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