"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." – Marcus Aurelius Positive attitudes create great days, and the best time to generate positivity is in the morning. In those precious early hours, we establish our mindset for the entire day, so it’s important to treat this critical period with attention and respect. Make time for a mindful morning by trying some of these simple rituals, which can be performed in as little as five minutes. By easing into the morning with purpose, you are able to create a clear head and an open mind, ensuring a day full of positive energy and enthusiasm. Light a candle. Sometimes even the simplest change can alter a room’s energy. Take the time to light a candle before you get ready, and enjoy the enhanced ambiance that you’ve created. Lemon water. Hot lemon water aids in digestion and provides a plethora of vitamins and nutrients. Your mind will love this moment of serenity and your body will thank you, too! Practice yoga. Whether it’s ananda balasana (happy baby pose) in bed or a sun salutation as your feet hit the floor, a little morning yoga will help your mind and body warm up for the day. You can even do some stretches from the comfort of your sheets! Green smoothie. Start your morning with a nutrition-packed smoothie. Popular ingredients include kale, spinach, apples, romaine, pineapple juice, coconut water, and parsley, but feel free to get creative and mix and match your favorite foods to create a delicious morning treat. Embrace nature. Regardless of where you live, taking the time to enjoy a bit of nature can help establish a positive outlook and a deeper relationship with the earth. Walk around the block, or spend a few minutes tending to a garden. Read. Rather than scroll through your phone, spend a few minutes in the morning reading through a book, newspaper, or magazine. The activity stretches the imagination and encourages creativity and positivity, setting you up for a wonderful rest of the day. Take a bath. If you have the time, a bath is a delicious way to begin your morning. The warm water eases sore muscles, and you can play around with essential oils, such as lavender or lemon, that are known to encourage feelings of peace and serenity. Make breakfast. Your mom probably stressed the importance of a good breakfast, and for good reason. Not only does eating breakfast give our bodies the necessary energy to move throughout the day, but the activity itself can be quite nurturing. My favorites include oatmeal with blueberries, banana pancakes, or peanut butter toast. Wash your face. Everyone is guilty of skipping this important routine, but when we take the time to do it, it can be quite lovely. Washing one’s face is essentially purifying one of your most vulnerable features. Feeling clean can lead to confidence, and the actual act of washing, scrubbing, and exfoliating creates an intimate and mindful experience. Walk the dog. This is great for you and your pooch. Not only do you both get a hint of exercise, but spending time with another living creature reminds us of the gift of life, and inspires positive thinking. Journal. This simple activity encourages self-reflection. Even on bad days, journaling allows us to vent and gain some perspective regarding our current situation. If you’re feeling creative, journaling can help the sparks flow and rejuvenate the imagination, leading to a more productive and inspiring day. Make your bed. Making the bed is a mindful routine that helps enhance a room’s overall aesthetic, making it feel more inviting upon your return. It also takes little to no time—ideal for those of us in a hurry. Run. Get those legs moving and those endorphins pumping! Running encourages better brain performance and increased mood. You’ll be amazed at this simple activity can alter your entire day’s outlook. Socialize. Send a text to a long-distance friend, or call a family member who you haven’t spoken to in a while. We’re on this earth to connect and foster relationships, so reminding the people you love that you care about them will help the both of you feel wonderful. Meditate. While it might seem a bit intimidating, the act of meditation is becoming increasingly popular. Meditation allows us to notice our thoughts, rather than judge them or get lost in their power. Plus there are tons of health benefits. Establish a comfy spot and breathe deeply. Meditate to music or complete silence. Either way, this routine will heighten your focus and perspective. Nurture life. In Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés writes about the importance of noticing life’s cycles. A simple way to do this can be to start a garden, even if it means adding a basil plant to your windowsill. Notice the steady growth of the plant, or how it tends to thrive in certain lights or seasons. This gentle routine not only provides short-term peace, but can help teach valuable lessons regarding change personal growth. Sip coffee. Drinking coffee can be similar to wine tasting in that you can pick out the specific aromas and flavors in each blend. Next time you pour yourself a cup, take a moment to sit down and enjoy the entire experience of your drink. Wrap your hands around the mug and feel the warmth. Notice the different flavors. Tasting is a wonderful and delicious way to practice mindful behavior. (And the caffeine boost in the morning doesn’t hurt much, either!) Indulge in a sweet fix. Sometimes I like to have a breakfast appetizer or dessert, and pair a piece of dark chocolate with my coffee or tea. This little treat provides an act of self-love, and can help transform an average Tuesday morning into a divine experience. Shower. It seems simple, but showering can be an incredibly mindful experience if we allow ourselves to enjoy the entire activity. Nurture yourself in this moment, taking each time to tend to your body and thanking the universe for providing such a wonderful gift. Set intentions. While our days are often clouded with to-do lists, setting small, personal intentions can help establish a feeling of control. Ask yourself, What do I want out of this day? Maybe it’s to be nicer to strangers, or to pay more attention to your partner. Pamper. If you have the time, giving yourself a small beauty treatment, such as a facial or a manicure, can trigger positive feelings of confidence that last throughout the entire day. Listen to inspiring music. Just like a candle, great music can set a positive tone or ambiance for the rest of the day. Build a morning playlist, and role out of bed to the sound of good vibes. Hydrate. If you’re anything like me, you have trouble remembering to squeeze in those eight daily glasses of water. Begin your morning with a hefty chug, and already you’ve started the day on the right foot. Envision success. Does your day involve some challenges, or perhaps some activities that you’re not exactly looking forward to? Envision yourself triumphing over these obstacles, and doing so with a clear and happy head. Treating your day with a “can-do” attitude will help to set you up for success. Make a gratitude list. Gratitude leads to happiness. In addition to exploring your thoughts, take the time to write down one or two things you are grateful for. Whether it be your partner, your body, or nourishment, noticing your blessings inspires feelings of overall well-being. Pick a treat. Give yourself something to look forward to. Maybe it’s a frozen coffee drink, a bubble bath, or happy hour with a friend. Either way, a small little present can help make you feel more enthusiastic about tackling the day’s challenges. Self affirmations. We don’t tell ourselves “I love you” nearly enough. Plant yourself in front of the mirror and say the affirmations that you need to hear. These simple daily reminders will remind of your potential, leaving you feeling open and excited. Simplify. What can you do to clean up your personal space? It can be as easy as clearing the top of your desk or hanging up any clothes that may have found themselves on the floor. Not only will this allow a smooth entrance into the day, but you’ll also love coming home to a more welcoming environment. Oil it up. Essential oils are said to possess numerous beneficial properties. A whiff of peppermint, for example, can help clear your head and even combat nausea. Spend some time researching in the various benefits of these oils, and consider implementing the ones that might set you up for a peaceful, mindful morning. Show love. Whether you’re complimenting your roommate or allowing someone to cut you in line at the coffee shop, a small act of compassion is a wonderful way to nourish your soul. Acts of this nature both benefit you directly and encourage a cycle of compassionate and inspiring choices. Photo by Ali Kaukas. — Amanda Kohr is a 24-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet via her blog at cozycaravan.com.