Monday, September 19, 2016

How to Stop Dreading Mornings and Gain Control of Your Day



Most people undervalue the power of morning. Many of us awaken with a few simple missions: to get coffee, find out what happened overnight--either with friends or in the world--and to get the most urgent thing accomplished. That may be getting to work on time or getting the kids to school, or both. For almost everyone mornings are hectic. Often times rushing around can steal any optimism we might have for the day.

What if I told you there is a better way?

Well there is. It is creating a morning ritual that focuses on your mind, spirit, and body before you do anything for anyone else. Here's what you should be doing in the morning according to science to be more productive and energized for your entire day.

1. Get up first. There is something powerful about the time alone in the morning when you are the only one awake. This is the time to get yourself in the mindset that will carry you through the day. If you normally get up at six to leave for work at seven, then start getting up at five instead to have an hour to prime yourself for the day. Yes this means going to bed earlier, but anything really good that happens on Jimmy Kimmel will be on Youtube tomorrow.


2.  Drink water. Your body has been losing water all night through exhaling and sweating.  One of the first things you do in the morning should be to rehydrate with sixteen ounces of water.

A word about vitamins: Several studies have proven that multi-vitamins are mostly a waste of money, especially if you eat a balanced diet. I take individual vitamins instead and sometimes change them based on what I feel are my current needs. Here's an article about the supplements that are proven to do the most good. Five Vitamins and Supplements that Are Actually Worth Taking

3. Stretch.  Ever noticed that in the morning your body wants to stretch and you do it naturally? You'll even notice that your dog or cat do the same thing. I spend about five to seven minutes stretching in the morning while the coffee is brewing. What are the benefits of stretching in the morning?

(a) While I'm stretching I practice deep breathing. Breathing deep and getting the oxygen flowing has a number of proven benefits. 
(b) Activate the "third eye" and open the heart. During my stretching and breathing time I also 
acknowledge my intuition and subconscious mind (third eye), I focus on my heart being open   
and kind, and set a spiritual intention for the day. This might be practicing more compassion or
determining to extend grace to everyone I meet today. 


4. Pray. Meditate. Do spiritual reading. Practice gratitude which has a number of mental and physical benefits. 

 
5.  Eat something. For the past 6 weeks or so I've been trying to get 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. It's been a challenge but I've noticed that it ends the need for a mid-morning snack and that I'm able to concentrate without thinking about food until lunchtime. It also builds momentum. If I'm going to the trouble of doing that then at lunch I have some motivation to make healthier choices.

6. Create something. According to neuroscientists our brains are most creative directly following sleep. The first three hours you are awake are the most creative you are going to be all day. If you don't have time to do a lengthy creative process before heading out to work or dropping off the kids at school then journal to capture thoughts and ideas you can return to later in the day.


Experiment with some of these practices and see what works best for you. Making better use of our mornings can set us up for success all day long, improve our energy and focus, and help us to prioritize what needs to be done.

Okay, now you can open your email.

Do me a favor and leave a comment about how you structure your morning and what routines or rituals you practice! 

2 comments:

  1. "There is something powerful about the time alone in the morning when you are the only one awake."

    Very true. Sadly at the moment this usually only lasts about ten seconds before my baby wakes up too! I enjoyed your post.

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    1. It can be so hard when they are tiny, fortunately that part doesn't last forever! In a few years you'll be saying "are you going to sleep all day?"

      Hope all is well with you and your little guy. Thanks for reading!

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