The morning can be a wonderful time of day. Hopefully, you’re feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep. At this point in your day, no external inputs from the crazy world we live in have had a chance to cause any mental stress on you, yet. Morning gives you the opportunity to set up your next 14 – 16 hours to be amazing.
Creating a great day requires a little bit of structure. Without having this structure, or plan, it’s possible to waste the day away and achieve nothing substantial. When this happens, you end up getting down on yourself in a self-feeding stress circle. Something my friend and work stress expert Matt Adams knows all about. If you want to understand how stress can build and eventually lead to a fall, read his story, and learn the techniques he used to self-heal.
With the following tips, you will feel more fulfilled, reduce your stress levels, become more productive, and begin your days on a positive note.
So let’s get to it.
1. Meditate / Practice Breathing
Seriously, this is a BIG one! Practice breathing. If you’ve read my blog post “The way you breathe may be harming your health”, you know that breathing isn’t as simple as you think. Many of us have been missing out on this little health hack for years. Chronically over-breathing can actually cause us harm.
By using the breathing technique outlined in my blog post, you may naturally come to know that meditation can be one of its side effects. If you find meditation hard (the wandering mind), then I’d really encourage you to go to the blog post and learn how to breathe.
Whilst performing the breathing techniques you will focus your mind in similar ways to meditation and benefit from many of the positive effects that come with meditation.
If you are a pro at meditating, then keep up the good work! That means you also probably know that meditation is known to:
I’m pretty sure I don’t have to convince you now that meditation is great for you. There’s so much information out there telling you to try it and why.
If you don’t want to try the breathing technique, there’s plenty of other options to start your meditation journey.
Phone apps – Headspace, Waking up, Insight Timer
Audio cues – Brain.fm (a personal favorite for meditation and focus, with this link you’ll get 1 month free)
Online courses – Glo
If you think you have no time left in your day to devote to meditation, I’d love to convince you otherwise, learn how to meditate when you think you have no time, or just commit yourself to the S.T.O.P exercise to manage your stress levels.
Just find what works for you.
2. Daily Planner
A planner can mean many different things. To some, it means a bullet journal, to others it means a neat calendar. You have to find your own happy medium.
Personally, I’ve been through many various TODO lists – both electronic and paper. I’ve played with enough planners and to-do list techniques that I’ve now found my happy, personalized hybrid version.
I’d really suggest something where you can track long term goals. With long term goals, it allows you to keep focused on those short term tasks. You can find great information about setting goals at Whole Family Living.
Along with long-term goals, having a rough daily plan really helps with keeping your day on track. Using this daily plan – it’s helpful to refer to when you feel your day is going astray and to get yourself back on track.
Having a daily plan will also help alleviate stress by ensuring that there are no surprises for you on the horizon. Unless you like surprises! Having a loosely structured day will reduce the anxiety of the unknown and help you complete the tasks that matter to you.
I’ve found great results in implementing the teachings of the bullet journal, but at the same time, I don’t feel you have to follow it’s every step.
I would encourage you to go out and find the right method for you.
3. Complete a task that’s achievable and satisfying.
Ready for a little brain hack? Go tick something off of your list. There you go. You did it.
It’s easy to satisfy your brain by completing tasks. This is why TODO lists work so well. But when you start with a job and you are still working on the same task after lunch you become demoralized.
An easy way to trick your brain into a happier emotional state is to complete a meaningful task in the morning. And then tick it off the list!
Everyone’s task will be different, but just make sure it’s easily achievable within one hour and is something that is meaningful to you. A good task for early in the morning is something that requires concentration as your brain will be focused after the meditation session. *air punch*
Some examples include:
By achieving a task like this early in the day you will feel overall more satisfied no matter how the rest of the day pans out. Even if your day brings bad luck, you can still look back and be happy with the morning progress you made.
By no means are these 3 morning tasks intended to be exhaustive, but I would encourage you to use them as a base. Find what works for you. Analyze your mood and stress levels throughout the day and gauge whether the morning tasks are making a difference.
If for one day you cannot complete all these tasks, just pick up your journal and make sure you schedule time the next day to practice a perfect morning.
Once you start seeing results you will become more enthusiastic about waking up with a plan.
I’d love to know what works for you in the morning? What little tricks and tips have you implemented to jump-start the forward momentum of your day?
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