Start Your Morning with Mindfulness
Mornings can be a time of rush and panic. The anticipation of the entire day buried under an
avalanche of commitments and responsibilities stretched out in front of you may be daunting,
even terrifying. You may experience an acute feeling of impending doom. You may feel
paralyzed by fear, literally unable to move or get out of bed. Your heart may pound. You may
have a sensation of choking or being smothered and start to hyperventilate. And yet, you
somehow do eventually struggle out of bed and reluctantly start your day.
Most people’s morning routine is fraught with potentially mindless tasks, such as brushing their
When you wake up with feelings of impending doom, make up your mind to brush your
teeth with mindfulness. Mindfulness will help you move more gently through your morning panic
and restore a sense of calm and order in your body for the rest of your day.
1. Before you pick up your toothbrush, take a few deep breaths. Take several full breaths, tuning in
to the cool air passing through your nose on the inhale and the warm air passing through your
mouth or nose on the exhale. Be mindful of each breath and notice how it feels in your body.
2. Set your intentions aloud or to yourself for brushing your teeth mindfully. State what you would
like to gain by this practice. You may say: May this practice bring me more closely connected to
my body. May this practice restore balance to my mind and body. Feel free to fill in your ownwords of what you’d like to experience as a result of your application of mindfulness.
3. As you begin your tooth-brushing routine, move slowly, methodically, and consciously. Pick up
your toothbrush and notice all the tiny bristles. Notice the weight of the toothbrush and how it
feels in your hand. As you hold your toothbrush under the running water, notice whether you
prefer warm or cold water. Notice whether you leave the water running or shut it off when you’re
done. As you apply the toothpaste, notice something about it too. Is it mint or some other flavor?
Does it have a scent? How much toothpaste is left in the tube?
4. Remember to return to the present moment by returning to your breath.
5. If you notice some doubt emerge, or a little voice saying This exercise won’t work. It can’t help
me with my panic, simply acknowledge and observe these feelings of doubt, without making any
judgments about them. Doubt is a normal mind state that occasionally springs up and tries to
steer you away from the present moment. This is simply how you feel in this moment, and each
moment is passing, just as everything in life is continually changing.
6. Begin to brush your teeth, paying attention to how you maneuver the brush and what sensations
you feel in your mouth. Do you brush in small, circular motions or just back and forth across
your teeth? Notice the feeling of the toothpaste foaming. Remember to stay present and
connected to your breathing.
7. When you’re ready to rinse your mouth, turn your awareness to the water and how it feels
swirling and swishing in your mouth.