Health and wellbeing / Living | 12.01.2015

7-step morning ritual for a healthy, happy, balanced life

morning ritual 

1. Practice mindfulness and gratitude before you do anything else

Before you get out of bed or reach for your phone, allow yourself to just BE. Lie still in your bed and take three conscious breaths. Wake up to the magic and vastness of the world around you and ask yourself: "As I go into this day, what is the most important thing? What is the best use of this day?”

This simple mindfulness practice, which you can do at intervals throughout the day, is one of the most important things we can do with our lives, according to Pema Chodron. Next, think of five things in your life you are grateful for. This is especially important during challenging times, when it seems like nothing is going right.

2. Drink a tall glass of lemon water

Before you reach for coffee or tea, fill a tall glass with pure room temperature water and squeeze in the juice of half or a whole lemon. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health and your complexion, and first thing in the morning is the best time to do it, when your system is sluggish and in need of a wake up call.

Lemon water hydrates you; helps with constipation; helps reduce bad breath by battling the bacteria in your mouth; aids weight loss; can contribute to a glowing complexion (the vitamin C helps collagen production); fortifies the immune system; aids digestion by increasing the gastric juices in the stomach; and cleanses the liver.   

3. Exercise in nature

I love to exercise in the morning, before the demands of the day begin to pile up. It kickstarts your metabolism and really energises you for the day ahead. Studies show exercising in the morning increases compliance — or the likelihood that you’ll stick to your exercise regime. Leave it till later and something else will invariably crop up to compete for your time. It’s also not a great idea to rev up your system late at night, when you’re supposed to be winding down for sleep.

I’m also a fan of exercising in nature.

In 2011, Science Daily published a US study that found exercising outdoors created an improvement in mental wellbeing. Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date. 

4. Oil pulling

Oil pulling is a 3000-year-old Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth to draw out toxins from your mouth and improve overall health. Its best to use coconut oil, not only because it tastes nice and has bacteria-fighting benefits, but it has the benefit of lauric acid, which is known for its antimicrobial effect.

Start with 5 minutes a day and gradually work your way up to 20 minutes. Don’t overdo it: just a gentle swishing, pushing and sucking the oil through the teeth is all you need to do. You can do your oil pulling while you're in the shower and spit it out into the bin when you've finished.

5. rejuvenating Shower ritual

Dry brush your body to remove dead skin cells. Hop into a warm shower (not hot water, as it dehydrates and ages your skin). Wash and condition your hair with a certified organic shampoo and conditioner, leaving the conditioner in while you cleanse and exfoliate your face (only exfoliate once or twice a week). Wash yourself with a body wash – never soap, which is extremely drying. Rinse the conditioner out.

Next, gradually turn the hot water off so that you finish your shower with a blast of cold water for 60 seconds. It’s really hard at first — almost painful — but finishing your shower with cold water really peps you up for the day. It increases alertness, blood circulation, tightens pores so your skin looks smoother, and helps prevent your hair frizzing.  

6. Eat a high-protein breakfast  

Make yourself a yummy, nutrient-dense green smoothie or vegetable juice. Don’t add too much sugar-laden fruit — stick to the leafy green veggies and low GI berries, which will give your body and your skin a huge nutrient-boost to begin the day. Always eat some good quality protein for breakfast.

According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who eat a high-protein breakfast are less likely to have sugar cravings or to overeat later in the day. Good quality protein breakfasts include:

7. Read something inspiring while you drink your favourite hot cuppa 

Make your favourite hot bevvy – coffee, tea or herbal tea – and sit down in a comfortable chair for some quiet reading time before you head out the door. I’d suggest reading something nourishing to the mind and spirit, rather than the news, which is usually all doom and gloom. Sure, skip through the headlines so you know what’s going on (you can catch up on it later in the day).

I suggest reading an excellent novel or a quality self-help book that will inspire you to achieve whatever it is you’re setting out to do that day. Reading is a peaceful way to begin your day and will ground you and put you in a positive head space. 

Note for parents: if you have young children and are thinking this ritual is impossible, I hear you! Granted, it’s more doable for those who don’t have to get kids packed and off to daycare or school. If you do, try and centre yourself amidst the chaos and create a morning balancing ritual that you CAN fit in between making school lunches and finding lost socks.

REMEMBER: it's important for your mental and emotional state to claim some calm time for yourself each day. 

What do you do each morning to set yourself up for a healthy and balanced day?


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Join the discussion

BecBec says:

May 04, 2016 02:21pm

This is a great article and I'm happy to say there's a few things on this list that I already do - like expressing gratitude and stating my daily affirmation while walking on the beach with my dogs at sunrise before heading off to the gym and then to work. Oil pulling a dry body brushing are my next healthy life habits to create. ?? Thank you Mukti!

LauraLaura says:

Jul 31, 2015 11:33am

Do you have suggestions for an evening ritual? It would be lovely to end the day as intentionally as this.

LauraLaura says:

Jul 31, 2015 11:28am

This sounds like such a wonderful way to start the day! Going to try it tomorrow :)

MuktiMukti says:

Jul 31, 2015 09:29pm

Thanks Laura. Enjoy!

StefaniStefani says:

Jul 07, 2015 01:59pm

Wonderful tips! These are things I believe everyone should be doing & I recommenced them to all of my clients, friends & family :) xxx

MuktiMukti says:

Jul 08, 2015 10:58am

Thanks for your kind words Stefani! If there's any topics you would like us to cover, please let us know :) X

KimKim says:

Jan 13, 2015 12:39am

Really helpful :) thank you

Ann MarieAnn Marie says:

Jan 12, 2015 05:39pm

This sounds great! Will definately be trying to this ritual:) Sounds like such a nice way to start the day!

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