Morning rituals. We all have them whether we are aware of them or not! They matter because they help set us up for better productivity and thinking across our day.
Your success in all your tasks is determined by the CONSISTENCY of your daily routines and habits that keep your brain fit and always ready to deliver your top mental performance.
The reason we spend so much of our day on autopilot is all about energy conservation because the brain is a very energy-hungry organ. We have to ensure we have enough cognitive stamina to devote to those things that require our logic, reasoning and analysis, our conscious thought that is especially energy demanding.
Those articles that tell us supposedly what all successful people eat for breakfast, why you should get up at 4:30 am and how much they accomplish before starting their work-day are so annoying and guilt-inducing because the implication is that unless you’re doing the same, you’re somehow a bit of a loser. Mmm, I don’t think so!
We are all different so this is about determining which rituals serve you best.
If you don’t function at all UNTIL you’ve had that first cup of coffee, then that is always going to be an essential component of your daily routine. But, if you are aware that some of your existing morning habits don’t serve you well, and you want to change up how you start your day, here are some options to consider:
If you love to exercise first thing, great, then get ready the evening before by leaving your trainers and kit bag by the door to help you meet your intention of getting to the gym nice and early. What if you want to exercise but don’t feel especially motivated? Here, it’s all about discovering which form of exercise gives you greatest joy. Joyful exercise? Yes, a physical activity that gives you pleasure is always going to be the one that motivates you to get up and do it, just like my friend Alba Gomez wrote about in her recent blog post. Dance is her joyful activity.
If you want to get moving but mornings don’t work for you, it’s OK too choose a time that is more appropriate for your daily schedule.
Studies have shown how people who exercise most consistently whether early morning or later, are more productive, effective, less stressed and happier in their work.
The ritual of breakfast breaks our overnight fast and provides the fuel to power us through our day and provide us with the focus and decision-making capacity we need for work. While eating breakfast is advisable, if you’re someone who can’t face food first thing in the morning then choosing to eat within a couple of hours of getting up is perfectly OK.
Quieten that noisy mind
If your head is buzzing with thoughts as soon as your eyes open, a great way to ground yourself for the day ahead is to use a form of meditation. If mindfulness is your thing, dedicating a space and time, such as a sunny spot in a quiet room, will increase the likelihood of you doing it.
This is where an app can be so helpful. You can schedule in a reminder and choose how long you want your meditation time to be. There are a lot of apps to choose from. One very popular one is called Headspace. It’s a ten-minute commitment and Andy Puddicombe’s voice is very easy to listen to.
Release your inner child and play
Playtime can help reduce stress and worries. One friend spends 30 minutes playing with her son before work and school each morning. She says they both love that special time together.
Find your thinking space
Taking time out for yourself, to reflect or journal your thoughts can be a great way to capture ideas for your work, future travel plans, write your next bestseller or free up your mind from unwanted memories and ruminations.
Love the one you’re with
Perhaps the most special of the morning rituals is the time you spend with your significant other. Sharing a hug and a kiss and telling them we love them strengthens relationships and makes us happy. A positive mood allows us to think more creatively, and influences performance so we are better thinkers and problem solvers.
The husband of one of my friends writes her a love note or poem every morning, leaving it in a place for her to discover during the course of her day. Who said romance is dead?
Which morning rituals do you enjoy?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.