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We've all met them, those people who always seem to have it together, to carry themselves with an air of serenity while those around them succumb to stress and get flustered much more quickly. They also get more done in a day and it's not because they're more intelligent, it's not that they've been gifted more hours than our own meagre 24, and it's not fairy dust either! No, it's because they've already won the day before you even see them in the morning.
While many of us consider a morning routine to be getting up when the alarm clock rings, getting showered, dressed and out the door in time to drop the kids off and begin our work commute, there's another version of a morning routine that the most efficient people on the planet are using and it's time you did too.
If you really want to own your day, instead of the much less attractive version where the day owns you, you need to get in an early win. That begins the moment you awake, which may have to be up to an hour earlier than your current rising time. What will you do with this extra hour? You'll invest it in getting centered and fortifying your mindset.
MAKE YOUR BED
Yes it's true that the "little" things are often the big things. In his Commencement Address to graduates at the University of Austin Texas, Navy Admiral William McRaven said the following:-
If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
It makes sense to go for the easy win. Don't ignore the low-hanging fruit. Not every win has to be hard won. Build order, winning, and accomplishment into your day from the moment you open your eyes.
Morning pages is a form of journalling, but with a difference. It's best done immediately upon rising and it is, in essence, a "brain dump". Each day we can carry around worries and concerns that manifest in looping negative self-talk. Morning Pages is a strategy to kill that process before it can take hold. Clinical psychologists have estimated that the average person needs five good experiences to balance out a single bad one. You literally cannot afford to carry around negativity. The odds are stacked against you. So the best approach is to evict anything that might take hold as a negative thought as early in the day as possible.
So, first thing in the morning put pen to paper and write as a stream of consciousness whatever comes into your mind. Don't edit. Don't pause to think about what you're writing and what it all means. The exercise is just to get out what's in your head and then leave it there on the page. Don't re-read it. Leave it. You're done.
Many writers use this process to unblock their minds and open them up to the creative process for the day but it works for everyone. Some say that 3 pages or 750 words is the ideal length for your Morning Pages. The length of mine varies from 2 to 3 pages daily but I do find that on days when I do the 3 pages I feel clearer and less anxious. Experiment!
Yes, it's more writing! Expressing gratitude regularly, is extraordinarily beneficial to your emotional well-being. Grateful people enjoy better physical and psychological health. They are less stressed, have higher self esteem and they even sleep better!
Here's an exercise if you're feeling overwhelmed by some of the conditions and circumstances of your personal life and so find it difficult to feel gratitude. First, close your eyes. Now, imagine loosing absolutely everything you own. Imagine being left destitute with only the clothes on your back. Imagine having no car, no shelter and no food to eat. Imagine loosing all of your relationships. Imagine being alone with no family or friends. Hold that vision clearly in your mind's eye. Feel what that would feel like. Really feel it. Feel the cold. Feel the desperation. Feel the loneliness. Feel the terror. Feel the hopelessness. Now......imagine getting it all back! Open your eyes. Now can you think of something you're grateful for?
I use the Five Minute Journal . It literally takes just five minutes in the morning (and again in the evening) where you write down 3 things you're grateful for, 3 things that would make your day great, your daily affirmation, and there's a daily inspirational quote. You set your mind to gratitude and all the benefits and positivity that entails right from the get-go.
Your train is late - I'm grateful there will be another along soon and I have a cell phone to contact anybody who needs to be informed.
I'm stuck in traffic - I'm grateful I'm in a comfortable warm/cool car and I'll get there when I get there. Delays happen!
You get the idea!
The benefits of a meditation practice have been known, experienced, and recognized by many for centuries. Science has finally caught up! Many of the world's top performers from business to sport incorporate some form of mindfulness meditation into their daily routines. Mindfulness meditation allows a person to develop a nonjudgemental awareness of themselves.
When difficult emotions arise they are met with compassion and acceptance which aids overcoming the fear of experiencing the emotion or the related thoughts. Committing to a practice of meditation can lead the practitioner to achieve what's known as de-centering, where the experiencing thoughts are seen for what they truly are, transient and changeable and not characteristic of absolute reality. Anxiety is reduced, resilience increased and and overall sense of calm competence is fostered. Sounds like pretty powerful stuff and it truly is.
There are many ways to get started. Two great apps are "Calm" and "Headspace" and I believe both have free versions. You may want to upgrade to the paid version if you'd prefer a guided meditation experience.
So, will you commit to choosing to win your day as soon as you open your eyes every morning? Everything worth achieving will require some work from you but, just remember, the harder you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you. Self-discipline is the path to freedom.
Why not download our free mindfulness meditation for beginners? Just click the image below.
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About the Author:-
Eimear Zone is an entrepreneur and co-founder of social enterprise, PEBBLE + ROSE. She writes on feminism, entrepreneurship, and mindset management. She can be contacted at email@example.com and IG @emtczone