All too often, many of us wake up, leap out of bed, and are immediately engrossed in the onslaught of electronic media. Whether you jump online to check your e-mail or read the daily news, browse your Twitter feed, or turn on the TV, your mind is deluged with a stream of fast-paced stimuli setting your brain into a mode of constantly and rapidly switching tasks. You are literally programming yourself for a day of urgency and reaction rather than a day of thoughtful action.
Another option, an option that promotes a calmer state of mind, clearer cognitive processing, and learning that actually lands and settles into your long-term memory, is to start your day with a morning practice that may include exercise, meditation, writing, reading, or reciting positive intentions. This type of morning routine does not include gearing up for your day by reviewing “to do” lists, making phone calls, or any other type of work-related activity so that you can get “more” done in your day. This is a morning practice before your “work” day begins, a routine that supports your health, awakens your intuition, revitalizes your mind and soul, and sets you up for a physically and mentally productive and positive day.
The long-term objective is to create a morning practice that becomes a constant in your life: a ritual. When creating a morning practice, think about what activities best create a positive mindset for your day ahead as well as support the goals you are moving toward in your life. For example, if you are a writer, you may want to practice the ritual of “morning pages” as described by Julie Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. If you desire better health and wellness, then you may want to consider a practice of exercise and meditation. If you often struggle with monkey mind chatter or procrastination, then a morning routine of reading or journal writing focused on positive intentions may support more focus and positive thinking throughout your day.
How you start your day, each day, sets the tone for the day ahead and, over time, how you live your life. Rather than diving headfirst into frenzy and noise, you can choose a calmer, more peaceful, and healthier way to approach each and every day. A morning you love creates a day you love and in turn a life you love!
- Design. A morning routine should be aligned with your current goals, stress level (or mindset), and interests. When planning your morning practice, think holistically. Create a practice that allows you to connect to mind, body, and soul through an intellectual component, a physical component, and a spiritual component. For example, you may want to start each day with a ten-minute walk, then read or write for ten minutes, and close with a ten-minute seated meditation.
- Plan. Start your day fifteen to sixty minutes earlier to create the time and space for your morning routine. Begin small. It is better to start with fifteen minutes and make it happen than to try to start with sixty minutes, get frustrated, and stop. You can always add time to your morning practice once it is established.
- Begin. Your morning practice starts TOMORROW! Make a commitment to your morning routine for thirty days. Recruit a friend to be your accountability partner who you can check in with at the end of your daily practice. After thirty days, think of any desired changes to your practice and turn it into a daily morning ritual.