You wake with the shrill sound of your alarm clock ringing in your ears. Still groggy from sleep, you reach for your phone, scrolling through the news and clearing notifications. Eventually, you roll out of bed and stumble to the coffee pot, sipping piping hot liquid gold.
As the caffeine floods through your system, you jump in the shower and get ready for your day, perhaps sparing five minutes for a quick breakfast before you’re out the door and gritting your teeth through bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate.
Like millions of other Americans, your morning routine may go something like this. Most of us heedlessly plunge into the day, giving no thought to our actions and trudging through each workday, desperate for the sweet relief of the weekend.
What if we told you there was a better way? A more centered, relaxed, and profitable way to start your morning and live your life. Replacing your morning screen time (which isn’t healthy or beneficial) with this simple sunlight meditation will help you achieve a greater sense of balance and calm.
Here’s why you should start your day meditating in the sunlight and how to do it.
Note: Charging your phone beside your bed at night can make it tempting to reach for your phone if you can’t sleep. This only contributes to insomnia and mental unrest, and the blue light can interfere with melatonin production. Always charge your phone in another room and use a traditional alarm clock if you need help waking up. This will also make developing a mindful morning meditation habit easier without first reaching for your screen.
Benefits of morning sunlight meditation
Boosts productivity and focus
Jolting into the day, immediately going from zero to one hundred, is not natural. The body is designed to wake up with the sun gently, naturally rousing after sufficient sleep. Humans left this mindful awakening behind with the advent of the alarm clock and the 40-hour workweek. The mind has to scramble to keep up with this fast-paced modern life.
Studies have shown that meditation or mindfulness can change your brain, affecting your prefrontal cortex and improving memory, attention, and impulse control, which can help you focus and accomplish more tasks.
The habitual practice of bringing your attention to your breath instead of letting your thoughts distract you, hones your focus in other areas of life, allowing you to clear mental clutter and channel productivity.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Most chronic stress is caused by harmful, cyclical thinking about situations beyond your control. It can destroy your sleep, cloud your mind, elevate your cortisol to dangerous levels, and even raise your blood pressure.
Meditation can help activate your parasympathetic or “rest and digest” nervous system, alleviating the damaging effects of chronic stress and giving your body a chance to heal.
Numerous studies suggest that mindfulness meditation could reduce anxiety and depression symptoms and improve stress response. It protects your heart by lowering blood pressure and can help you reframe stress, giving you better coping mechanisms and allowing you to keep stress from overtaking your mind.
Improves your outlook
People who meditate regularly are more self-aware, have higher self-efficacy, and feel more gratitude and kindness towards Mother Earth and other people. Sunlight meditation allows you to center yourself, eliminating distractions and giving you a chance to self-examine and think of all you have to be grateful for.
When you spend time in mindful connection with yourself, you will become a more positive person with greater patience and compassion. Remember, you will get out of meditation whatever you put into it.
Guided morning sunlight meditation
Wake up a few minutes early and start your day in the sun with this simple meditation. Not only will you be more relaxed and focused, but you will also boost your vitamin D, which protects your bone, muscle, and heart health.
1. Find a quiet, comfortable spot outside.
Pull your favorite chair into your yard or onto a part of the porch that gets morning sun. Or, if you want to reap the mental and physical benefits of grounding, simply sit or lay on your grass or a concrete patio.
2. Wear as little clothing as is comfortable.
The more skin you expose, the more vitamin D your body can create. Though we recommend getting your daily sun naked, chilly morning air or lack of privacy often make this impossible. Let the sun hit as much of your skin as possible, allowing the life-giving rays to soak into your body.
3. Set a timer.
Because this sunlight meditation is designed to fit into your morning routine, set a 15-minute timer before you begin to give you plenty of time to get ready for your day. Or, if you’re new to meditation, start with five minutes and work your way up.
4. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
Many people think meditation is all about “clearing your mind.” Truthfully, your thoughts need direction, and when you intend to clear your mind, you will become frustrated when you can’t.
Instead, channel your thoughts towards your breath. You don’t need any fancy breathing patterns. Simply inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, counting your breaths and focusing on the feeling of your chest rising and falling. Return to your breath whenever negative thoughts or worries start to creep into your practice.
5. Picture your paradise.
Once you’ve centered your breathing, cultivate a mental picture of your paradise. Where do you feel totally and completely at peace and safe? Use this time to hone into the sounds of nature or the urban world around you. Feel the sun hitting your skin and the breeze playing across your face as you travel in your mind’s eye, letting your current worries and troubles slip away.
Some people prefer to repeat a mantra or bring awareness to each limb and organ in their body, feeling where they’re holding tension or pain. Others choose to pray or even recite poetry. Do whatever brings you light and allows you to focus.
During this time, let thoughts slip through your mind like water, observe them, acknowledge how you feel, and allow them to flow by.
Tips for success
15 minutes can seem like an eternity when you’re alone with your thoughts. Don’t become frustrated if it takes a while to get used to meditation. Cultivating mindfulness takes time. Your 15 minutes of morning solitude and sunshine will become just as vital to your day as that cup of coffee.
Be flexible! If you want to get in a quick walk while you meditate, do that. If you like, keep your eyes open and look at nature. Or, if including some yoga poses to wake up your muscles and get your blood flowing makes you feel good, go for it! Meditation is all about what serves you at this present moment. There is no right or wrong way to reach a state of mental peace.
The mind has taken a back seat in this world of immediate gratification, bite-sized video content, and constant stimulation. Instead of processing emotions like grief, anger, and sadness, we run from them, utilizing ready distractions to trick our minds into a false reality.
The problem is, these emotions eventually overtake us — often with catastrophic consequences. Starting your day with sunlight meditation teaches you to love your mind and become more present, positive, and self-aware. This will help you attain your 100 Year Heart and safeguard your brain, putting you in a deeper connection with your mental and physical wellbeing.
Mindfulness requires putting in intentional effort and purposefully pursuing peace within — it won’t just happen overnight. The mind and the body are intricately connected. When you give yourself permission to heal your mind, you can start to regain and protect your health and physical well-being. Prioritize mindfulness and start your day off right with sunlight meditation.
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Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD