Friday, October 7, 2016
Establishing a Morning Routine for Your Mind
I had a little meltdown the other day. You know the kind. Where you are sobbing and crying your ugly cry and feeling like a failure and thinking how stupid you are.
Okay, maybe it's just me and you all have your acts perfectly together.
Here's what happened: I'm a beekeeper and had made a careless mistake that I initially thought was going to cost me nearly all of my fall honey harvest. I was overcome with despair, but more than anything I was so mad at myself. That's the worst, isn't it? When you don't have anyone else to blame.
I totally see why scapegoats are popular.
So why am I telling you this? Because today we are talking about the mind and this is a great example of how to train it to handle setbacks better. Several years ago, this feeling might have ruined my entire day or even a few days while I wallowed and felt sorry for myself. When it happened this week I went from complete hot mess sobbing on my husband's shoulder to calm and confident in the space of 20 minutes.
I'll be covering in a future post how to handle the absolute worst days of life, certainly a necessary sustainable skill, but for now let's continue to focus on our morning routine.
Visualize how you want your day to go. Visualization is a tool used by entrepreneurs, thought leaders and world class athletes. "As a man thinks so he is" is the truth. We must train our minds to focus on the outcome we want and be able to picture it in order to go in that direction. Visualization coaches command huge fees for their service because the practice provides results.
Stop imagining all that can go wrong. Seriously. Just stop. Worry is exhausting. Remember, you have the power to turn off your monkey mind and refocus your mind on your visualization of how you want your day to go.
Here's another pinnable reminder:
Speak kind works. To yourself. I am so saddened sometimes by the way I hear women talk to themselves and about themselves. I get it. During my most recent drama I was telling my husband what a failure I am and in the middle of the words coming out of my mouth I thought "No. That's not true. I'm just upset. This is what my mind says when it's upset and frustrated." Notice I didn't let that thought run around in my mind for long. You may even have to say "No." out loud to yourself. That's okay. Whatever it takes to tame the negative thinking and get back on track.
Work a puzzle. An easy crossword puzzle is a great way to wake up your thinking ability in the morning. Or choose any other mind stimulating activity to get your brain firing
Put on some music. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a morning person. I have never hit the snooze button and can actually count the times the alarm has woken me up on one hand. But I'm weird. If you have trouble getting going in the morning, and it can be harder as the days get shorter, put on whatever music energizes you. I prefer silence to start the day, but remember this is all about YOU and your sustainable choices to create good habits.
Let some light in. Your brain is wired to interpret light as an indication that it is time to wake up and start the day. Don't hunker down in the dark like it's a WWII blackout. Open the curtains and shades, turn on some lights, sit in the room of your house that faces east so you don't miss the sunrise. If you miss the sunrise you miss the best part of the day.
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.
Now if you are thinking that between the mind, body, and spirit practices I've outlined in this trio of posts it sounds like it's going to take you 3 hours to get out of the house, don't despair. You are picking and choosing the right activities for you to create your morning rituals. Your stretching, reading and meditation, and visualizing your day can take all of ten minutes. The entire morning routine should run you about 15 minutes on average. On days when you have more time you may want to linger in that cozy spot and read or meditate a bit longer.
This system is like "pick 3" at a restaurant. Choose from each category--mind, body, spirit--the one thing that works best for you.