My morning routine has been the same for years: I wake up at around 6 a.m. in eager anticipation of my first meditation of the day. I start by freshening up in the bathroom, then I go back to my bed and sit with my eyes closed for 20 minutes before getting ready for work. I’ve been following this routine each day for more than a decade.
Ironically, I don’t consider myself to be a particularly disciplined person. Like many people, I don’t look forward to doing things that don’t provide me with some type of immediate gratification. But I stick to my morning meditation routine because it not only leaves me with a tangible feeling of clarity to start my day, but the ripple effects of meditating extend throughout other important areas of my day and life.
Surely you’ve heard about all the scientific benefits of how meditation changes your brain and rests the body. But here are 10 practical, unexpected benefits that occur as a direct result of a consistent morning meditation routine:
1. It’ll be easier for you to switch on “beast mode.”
For men, the cortisol released during meditation can increase testosterone levels, which results in more energy while working out. Plus, your workout will seem much more enticing when you’re more rested and less stressed—a by-product of morning meditation.
2. You might have a more present sex life.
Men might not talk about it, but we all want to be great lovers. That means not only having strong muscles but also having a healthy libido. You may find meditating provides you with more patience and sensitivity when it comes to being present with your partner.
3. You can limit your coffee intake.
Meditation activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers a deep state of relaxation during the practice. So even though you may wake up from sleep still tired, after meditating for 20 minutes, you’ll get energy-boosting endorphins that’ll help you spring to life without having to rely solely on caffeine. However, caffeine also activates the sympathetic nervous system, so if meditation alone doesn't do it, hopefully you can go from two cups to just one.
4. You turn on your mental “spam” filter.
The “busy mind” syndrome occurs because you don’t have your mental spam filter activated. Imagine if your email didn’t have a spam filter, and for every relevant message, you had to sift through hundreds of messages related to money scams, Viagra, and inkjet printer cartridges. Meditating helps filter out the internal and external “noise” and negative self-talk that can sabotage our otherwise sharp, clear perceptual acuity.
5. You can handle whatever the day brings.
You’ll find that meditation allows you to more easily drop into a “flow state” in which you become adaptable to change. Unexpected traffic jam? No problem. Someone blows their horn at you in a parking lot? All good.
6. You counteract stress.
Meditation is like kryptonite to stress, with the primary side effects being increased happiness, better sleep, and more creativity. If there ever was a perfect solution to dissolving stress, it would be daily meditation.
7. You eat cleaner.
Numerous studies have found that when you're stressed or sleep-deprived, you reach for bad-for-you foods. After building up momentum from your morning meditations, you may discover that cravings for doughnuts, fried foods, or lollipops also dissipate and get replaced by a craving for healthier, cleaner foods that the body will have an easier time digesting and turning into fuel for you to operate at a higher level. This is due to drop in cortisol and more intentional existence.
8. You become a better driver.
People who have difficulty multitasking tend to be more accident-prone, especially while driving. Meditation has been shown to increase your ability to multitask, and coincidentally it makes you a safer driver.
9. You have fewer headaches.
Although meditation is not a substitute for medical treatment, it has been shown to reduce pain, making it an ideal complement to more traditional approaches to health and wellness. I had daily headaches in my early 20s, and they didn’t go away until I changed my diet and began meditating.
10. Your circle of influence grows.
Because daily meditation helps to release stress, it can make you more compassionate — and in the process, you become less judgmental and critical of others.
Here are some techniques to kick off your morning meditation routine:
- 3 Simple Meditation Techniques (Pick One & Stick With It)
- Sad? Angry? Happy? Here's A Meditation For You
- 4 Pro Tips To Make Meditation Easy
Light Watkins is a Santa Monica–based Vedic Meditation teacher, mindbodygreen class instructor, TEDx speaker, and author of Bliss More, How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying. He grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and graduated from Howard University with a bachelor's in communications. Watkins recognized his passion for teaching meditation after meeting his Guru in 2002. Following years of daily meditation, Vedic studies, and apprenticeship, he traveled to India to be trained in the ancient ways of teaching meditation. His students have used meditation to treat symptoms of PTSD, hypertension, sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, and cancer.