How we begin each day can set us up for success or can set us forth on a path of feeling frustrated, anxious and stressed.
How many of us wake to an alarm to only hit the snooze button again and again? Then when we final rise, we are already behind and feeling rushed.
Others of us make a point of checking social media, again discovering that our latest post didn’t get acknowledged with likes or comments. Now, not only are we feeling rushed but unappreciated and a touch insecure.
Even more of us watch the local news and are bombarded with all of the negativity and lack of kindness happening around our globe.
Instead of a morning that infuses us with motivation, peace and personal strength, we have burdened ourselves with anxiety, stress and fear.
By being intentional about how we use our precious mornings, we can put in place a routine that gives us purpose, creating inner calm and minimize apprehension. It can also boost productivity, energy and enhance your relationships.
Upon awaking each morning, recite or read this quote to remind yourself that being alive is a blessing. Appreciate the beauty and possibilities each new day has to offer.
Intentional Morning Routine
Wake up between 5am & 6am
Rising early gives you the time needed to calmly begin your day. There is no rushing, no instant stress. You can focus on preparing yourself for the day, mentally, physically and emotionally.
Make your bed
This simple act puts you in a place of immediate accomplishment. You have already successfully completed one task, which sets you up to accomplish even more as the day goes on.
A few mindful minutes of meditation have a profound positive influence on your brain and body. An article written by the Harvard Medical School states that, “Mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.” Being fully present in the moment grounds you, offers clarity and focus and creates a calm assurance that we can and will make the most out of our day, whatever it may bring.
Take a cold shower
Taking a cold shower is invigorating and has many health benefits, including improving circulation, reduction of pain and inflammation and minimizing anxiety and depression. The best way to integrate this is to start with your normal warm shower and gradually adapt to the cooler temperatures. To get the biggest benefit from this psychological lift, keep the water cool to cold for 2 to 3 minutes before exiting.
Go for a walk
Moving your body and getting out into nature first thing is an ideal way to begin your way. It boosts circulation, enhances mood and allows us time to embrace the new day. Leave your cell phone at home and go outside to revel in the day ahead.
Take 5-10 minutes to write in your journal
Taking a few minutes every day to write down your thoughts and do a brain download on paper can offer increased clarity, unburden us from ‘heavy’ thoughts, give us insights into our lives, open up space for growth and creativity and so much more. This is an opportunity to let it all out and change your thinking from worry to action.
Renowned gratitude scientist Dr. Robert Emmons has conclusively proven the multitude of benefits being grateful offers. Happiness, health, resilience, stronger relationships, enhanced creativity, reduced anxiety…the list goes on. Three areas on which to focus your appreciation are:
Person-Who are you grateful for today and why?
Something small-The smell of your morning coffee, the silkiness of your dog’s fur, your plush bath towel.
What you would miss it if were no longer there: Hot water, coffee, your morning walk, music, etc.
Manifest your morning
- Start your day with intention of purpose. It can be a simple concept (“I will work to provide my undivided attention to everyone I speak with today”) or a complex task (“I will complete the XYZ project”). By consciously acknowledging what you want to accomplish, you place yourself on the right path.
- Consider what you get to enjoy today. A lunch with friends, date night, your child’s musical performance, your morning walk. This places your mind in a happy, anticipatory state, allowing you to focus on the good things to come.
- Daily affirmations. Boost your motivation and excitement for the day ahead by choosing two or three positive affirmations that you read to yourself each day.
Write down your 3 most critical tasks for the day
Having a daily plan of attack gives us direction and purpose. It allows us to focus and reduces anxiety. These tasks should be priorities, ones that need done and allow you to move ahead. Often, these are the ones that are the most challenging. By tackling them head on with intention, you will be in control of your day and remain calm.
60-90 minutes of deep focus on your main task
Before you check email, social media, return calls or any other less crucial task, focus on your #1 task for the day. By taking control of your morning and maximizing your most productive and creative time, you instantly achieve success. Protect your mornings and don’t allow others to intrude upon this deeply focused time unless it is an emergency.
Repeat again tomorrow and the next day…
This routine is designed as a roadmap to be referred to and followed day after day. It establishes strategies that place you on a course of creativity, success, control and calm. Feel free to move the steps around so they work for you, helping you create a morning routine that is empowering and uplifting.
May your day be filled with gratitude and good things.