Author Tim Ferriss was once quoted as saying, “If you win the morning; you win the day.” Successful people ranging from Jennifer Aniston to billionaire Warren Buffet have one thing in common: a good morning routine. High performers across every industry have used the early morning hours to focus their mind and prime their body for the day ahead.
A good morning routine, however, is not just a recipe for a productive day. It can also be a powerful way to help reduce stress and boost clarity and focus. If you want to be productive in 2019 but also practice self care, here are some guidelines for how to design the best morning ritual for your own personal needs.
Quiet the Mind
Ancient yogis used to refer to noisy thinking as ‘monkey mind.’ One of our biggest stressors is the inner dialogue that robs us of the ability to live in the moment. As you create your morning routine, consider incorporating yoga, meditation or prayer. This doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a religion; it simply means finding a reflective activity that will quiet your thoughts. There are many different types of meditation out there, and a simple google search will give you ideas for a starting point.
If the task of silencing your mind seems overwhelming, a.) you’re not alone, and b.) you don’t have to start with something intense. Consider finding a guided meditation podcast or youtube video that will help you ease your thoughts into a place of stillness. Experiment with different approaches until you find a way to achieve a degree of inner peace. Taking time to do this in the morning will calm your nervous system and help you make decisions from a centered place.
Listen to Something Powerful
If you wake up feeling bombarded by stressful thoughts, then you might benefit from listening to something inspiring, motivational or just plain fun. Now, more than ever, we have access to limitless podcasts, messages, and videos through our smartphones. Listening to something positive in the morning could give you a jolt of energy, inspiration, and it may help lift you out of negative thought patterns. If you’re not keen on listening to a message, look for a music playlist on Spotify or Youtube that will help motivate you or put you at ease. Just getting some kind of positive input in the morning can transform the way you feel and refresh your perspective.
Take Laughter Seriously
Let’s face it…life can be tough. It’s easy to get serious and have a stern face as you get ready for the day. But being serious all the time, as you might imagine, isn’t the best for your body or brain. Let me give you a startling statistic: the average child laughs 400 times a day; the average adult laughs just 15 times a day. That’s pretty shocking, but you might be thinking, “So what?” As it turns out laughter has a host of health benefits that can affect your mind, body and emotional health. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter may strengthen your immune system, relieve pain, boost mood, and increase your personal satisfaction. It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with mood issues.
Here is a question for you: when was the last time you intentionally made time to laugh? Does that seem strange? If so, maybe for you laughter is part of a good morning routine. It could be a missing element to your health and happiness.
If Possible, Get With People
Once you’ve had your time alone, you may need to seek the company of others. Many 21st century jobs are solitary tasks, and we often spend long hours alone in the office. Getting around other people can recalibrate us, and remind us that life is much bigger than our own issues.
If your work requires a lot of alone time, consider ways that you could interact with others during your morning routine. This could look like joining a group fitness class or team. You could try going to a meetup group based on your interests. Even a simple walk with your spouse before work can help you start your day right.
Small investments in relationships may pay off in the long term. Strong relationships boost the hormone oxytocin, which can help reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. If you’re dealing with a lot of pressure with work or life, then it might be helpful to connect with others first thing in the morning.
Find What Works For You
The suggestions here are by no means exhaustive. You know yourself better than anyone. Your body and personality have a unique makeup, and you should tailor a morning routine to what works best for you. There may be a necessary period of trial and error, but if you’re persistent you can develop a plan that fits you perfectly.