If you are a morning person, you love to spring out of bed refreshed, renewed, and ready for action. And if, like me, you aren't a morning person, you may hit "snooze" half a dozen times before blearily finding your way to the nearest source of caffeine.
Either way, starting your day with gratitude is a wonderful way to wake up.
I use this gratitude meditation every morning and really believe it sets the tone for me to experience my entire day with an attitude of appreciation. Thoughts of gratitude and appreciation inject the brain with serotonin—the neurotransmitter often associated with happiness.
This effective morning ritual is quite simple, and it only takes a few minutes.
As soon as you wake up, before you even open your eyes, start appreciating how cozy your bed is. Feel the soft sheets against your skin and the puffy pillow supporting your head. Give silent thanks for a rejuvenating night of slumber.
As you slowly awaken, bring your awareness to your body. Give thanks for your eyes that allow you to see beauty, your nose that can smell the delicate aroma of a flower, your ears that hear the birds chirping and children laughing, and your mouth that lets you taste delicious things. Give thanks for your sense of touch that brings you so many sensations of pleasure.
And feel gratitude for your arms, legs, and muscles that give you movement and strength. Be grateful for your brain for allowing you to think and feel and work and learn. Revel in the wonderment of you for just a moment.
Now expand your awareness to the ones you love. Perhaps there is someone lying in bed next to you, or there are other loved ones in your home. Fill your heart and mind with appreciation for them and all that they bring into your life. Expand your appreciation to all the people you know and interact with, and say a silent thank you for their contribution to all that you experience.
Next, shift your mind to your environment—this could include your home, your community, your town, your country, and even your planet. Give thanks for all of it, getting as specific or staying as general as feels best to you. You may even express your gratitude with images and feelings that encompass your appreciation rather than specific words.
As you prepare to get out of bed, say to yourself either silently or out loud, "Thank you for this beautiful day. I recognize it as a fresh start and will see my life anew. Today I will look for opportunities to appreciate the many blessings in my life, knowing that as I appreciate those blessings, more will come."
I don't promise that starting your morning with a gratitude meditation will make it any easier to get out of bed at 6:30 when you are not a morning person. But I do hope it will bring you a renewed appreciation for your life as well as a nice hit of serotonin to kick off your day.