Find The Best Morning Routine To Help You Win At Life
Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, starts his day by jumping into the cold waters of Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek and tech startup wiz, writes morning pages, a stream of conscious journaling practice that Julia Cameron describes in her book The Artist’s Way, and then he makes a cup of pu-erh tea. Wim Hof, also known as the Ice Man, because he’s broken world records for being immersed in ice for long periods of time, completes a series of intense breathing exercises, followed by push-ups, and then he takes a cold shower.
For a long time, I started my days systematically, aware of benefits of a power hour of mindfulness before heading out to work. I’d wake, and once caffeinated, I’d meditate, do some gratitude work, followed by journaling, and a guided visualization. It was great. Each day, I felt like I had just taken a ride on a unicorn. The best phrase to describe my emotional state after said morning routine was one of euphoric zen – peaceful and centered, and also eager to accomplish my goals and tackle the day.
However, as a result of a change in my work schedule, I had to condense, and then eventually, let go of, my morning routine, which left me with undercurrents of irritability and a lack of focus. Recently, I’ve been reexamining just how much time I can actually prioritize to developing a new morning routine, and I’ve even begun to wonder: With the new year approaching, what new mindfulness routines can I adopt to ensure that I show up for the day as my best self – centered, focused, and ready to take inspired action?
Should I practice transcendental meditation like Jerry Seinfeld? Study kabbalah like Madonna? Hop into a cryotherapy tank, which uses liquid nitrogen to drop a person’s temperature, like Tony Robbins? With an abundance of practices to consider beginning this new year, you might be feeling similarly, like you want to start develop a new habit or routine, but you’re not sure which one is right for you. The best way to pick a morning routine is to consider your personality. Think about the type of person you are and the sort of things you enjoy. If you’ve never gone to a class at the gym and don’t regularly move your body, yoga might not be the practice to incorporate into your routine.
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Try to get out in nature. There are numerous physiological and psychological effects of spending time outdoors, such as a reduction of stress and depression, and even improved immune function. Getting some fresh air and feeling the earth beneath your feet can be a great way to shift your emotions and clear your mind. Try doing a walking meditation by placing your attention on your surroundings. Notice the leaves, the lake, or the sky. Breathe in deeply. Feel the cold air on your face. Every time your thoughts go to a list of things you have to do, or concerns, bring them back to your environment.
If You’re an Intellectual
Try reading a book on mindfulness or personal growth as you enjoy your morning cup of coffee or tea. Read uplifting and empowering books that affirm your self-worth. Doing this every morning will help you to reflect on your life: your goals, negative emotions, and relationships, and you will learn strategies to release negativity and cultivate a greater sense of peace. My life changed when I committed to spending 20 minutes every morning reading A Course in Miracles, a text that uses principles of psychotherapy and spirituality to shift someone from a state of fear to one of love.
If you’re the creative sort
Get in the habit of writing in a journal every morning. Oftentimes, we have emotions or issues that we don’t want to look at, and we go unconscious, instead, eating and drinking our feelings away. Pour your heart out on the page. List circumstances and people you’re grateful for. Imagine the next relationship you want to have or the next adventure you want to take and script it out. Include lots of vivid details and imagine the experience. Create a mind map. Doodle. Get crafty. Channel your inner-Martha Stewart.
If You’re Athletic
If you enjoy physical activity, start your day with yoga, tai chi, or qigong as a way to become more present by focusing on your physical movement. Do yoga and allow yourself to relax into the moves. Doing different martial and healing arts such as qigong or tai chi will help you to balance your chi, or life force, which will lead to experiencing more peaceful emotions, healing your physical body, and shifting your energy.
If You’re an Extrovert
Sign up for a meditation class in your neighborhood. Find a consciousness meetup online. Start your day with like-minded people who encourage you to continue your practice. Build new relationships and expand your circle.
If You’re Conscious
At the core of every mindfulness practice is meditation, as becoming present to your thoughts and being able to detach from them is a surefire way to cultivate more peace, greater intuition, more empathy, and joy. Moreover, meditation has been shown to decrease chronic inflammation at the cellular level and improve immune function. If you already have a meditation practice, try incorporating some breath work, such as the breath of fire, a technique used in kundalini yoga that calls for rhythmic continuous breathing, which has several physical benefits, including strengthening the nervous system.
Ultimately, the trick to finding a morning routine is to pick a mindfulness practice that you’ll actually enjoy, and therefore, stick to. This is not the time to be an overachiever and set the goal of waking up at sunrise to read A New Earth if the last book you read was in high school. Rather, consider what you tend to do in a typical day and schedule in 15 to 20 minutes of your morning time to shift your emotional and mental state before you head out the door and live your best life.
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