The morning is the first word in the chapter, the first step on the path, the first breath of new air.

What we do at the very beginning of our day is essential to our health and happiness as the day grows. When we rush through routines, we introduce stress into our lives. But when we awaken slowly and peacefully, allowing the mind and body to fully come alive each morning, then we are well on the road to all-day-long calm.

Using mindfulness and meditation strategies, here are seven ways to approach the new dawn in order to cultivate a deeper awareness and presence in everyday life.

1. Greet sunrise with gratitude.

Every dawn brings with it new possibility and potential. Even if it’s one small thing, like sunlight or warm weather, we can find something to be thankful for from the very moment our eyes open.

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” – The Dalai Lama

2. Make time to meditate.

In the early hours we experience silence and stillness unlike any other time of day. Spending a few of these moments in meditation can set a tone of balance throughout the whole day.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

3. Begin with intention.

We cannot achieve everything in a single day, but we can start with a sense of greater purpose so that every small thing we accomplish moves us one step closer to who we are becoming.

“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” – Unknown

4. Awaken to activity.

Go beyond a yawn and a morning stretch – a light jog or yoga routine can stir our senses and create positive momentum for the day ahead.

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” – Plato

5. Nourish the body.

Consider breakfast as the first opportunity of the day to enhance our health. Gently stimulate the brain with tea, coffee, or a glass of orange juice.

“Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”

– B.K.S. Iyengar

6. Inspire change.

Break out of old morning routines by doing something different when you rise each day. Do something early on that you would normally leave until the afternoon or evening.

“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.” – Unknown

7. Begin with love.

Make morning your time to show the people you live with how much you care about them. A kind word or a small handwritten note can be a great way to start someone else’s day off right.

“The sun shines down, and its image reflects in a thousand different pots filled with water. The reflections are many, but they are each reflecting the same sun. Similarly, when we come to know who we truly are, we will see ourselves in all people.” – Unknown

Mind Fuel Daily was founded to help readers find inspiration and purpose in every day. We believe that each person is capable of finding his or her best life here, in the present moment, and our mission is to provide the spark that moves you to positive action and thought.