Why Everyone Needs A Great Morning Routine
Are your mornings beautiful?
Getting up in the morning could be the best feeling in the world or the worst. We often get up with absolute dread, feeling overwhelmed with the quality of life we’re living. Then we dash-off to work and again feel overburdened by the demands of our workday. This results in a distaste for the work we do. Ironically, this has nothing to do with what we do and everything with how we do it.
My life was exactly the same a few days ago. I would wake up feeling grumpy and irritable, rush to work, enter my daily grind, and feel hopeless about the whole situation.
I had enough of all the defeatism, and so I decided to change.
I sat down and imagined my day filled with productive and pleasing work. I imagined myself waking up to a day where I knew I would be an ‘accomplisher extraordinaire’ and go to bed feeling good about myself. Instantly, I felt all my resistance melt. I felt so excited that I couldn’t wait to wake-up in the morning. Then by some divine guidance, I was led to this simple yet often overlooked discovery: mornings are what we make of them.
Mornings are like those first ten minutes of working out, which if done right with correct stretching and warming-up, can make our workouts legendary. If done wrong, the workouts may exert ourselves, or worse – injure us. Similarly, if mornings are started with effective actions that make us ease into the day, we may end up being the most productive we’ve been in years. We may also realize that we don’t completely hate our work but the resentment of waking up to yet another unproductive day.
That’s how simple it is.
I still had hope!
Now that baseline was established, I dived into the nitty-gritty. For my days to feel blissful and full of infinite zeal, I needed a practical blueprint – a map of sorts. A map that I could follow daily in the morning and make my day all the more gleeful. What was the map? It was a morning routine tailored to my own individual needs and desires.
If something works for a person, it need not work for everybody else. People are inherently different. I needed something personal yet universal. Something that would work well for me and at the same time suit everybody else’s needs too.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
~ Albert Einstein
I read a lot (one book a week, sometimes two). So, I researched well and bit into as much information as I could. It took me around 334 pages (approximately 75,000 words) of research to receive the following five truths about an effective and powerful morning routine:
Truth #1: Do What You Love
The prerequisite of an effective morning routine was doing what I loved. When we do what we love first thing in the morning, our brainwave changes from Beta to Alpha to Theta state and we enter the ‘flow state’. The flow state is the feeling of being in love with life and what it has to offer, we automatically become grateful and happy. Consequently, I love being with nature and I love reading books. Therefore, being with nature and reading were decided upon.
Truth #2: Unplug: Say NO To Technology!
Unplugging entails avoiding the use of any/all technology in the first 30-60 minutes after awakening. This allows the body-mind to enter a digital-detox and recharge. I love writing, but it required a machine because I can’t stick to hand-made journals (trust me, I tried multiple times), so I had to stick with reading and being with nature.
Truth #3: Move around
Moving our bodies in the first 60 minutes after waking up decreases the level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is the hormone of fear. Research indicates that cortisol level is the highest in the first 30 minutes after awakening . Doing physical activities that make us sweat decreases the level of cortisol in the body exponentially. The decreased level of cortisol from working-out stays the same throughout the day, which means less stress and more ease during our most productive hours.
Truth #4: Relax & Unwind
I made it my rule not to rush in the morning. Earlier my days went by rushing to work and rushing back home. This made my life hell, as well as the life of those around me. One friend told me upfront that when I started my day rushing through things, I became quite pesky and irksome. On the other hand, when I relaxed through my mornings, I was this jubilant self of mine that they loved. This made me stop and think. I decided to do what I loved without trying to get anywhere. I naturally started enjoying the moment I was in. This meant waking-up feeling refreshed, so as to have enough energy and mindfulness for the routine, which leads us to Truth #5.
Truth #5: Sleep
Sleep is the best meditation.
~ Dalai Lama
My extensive research led me to a startling discovery: sleep was the most important factor in determining how productive the coming day would be. The National Sleep Foundation performed a world-class study that took more than two years to complete – how much sleep does one need? The consensus was that young adults, adults, and senior citizens needed an average of 7-9 hours of sleep every day . This flies in the face of our hyperactive-sleep patterns where we survive on 5-6 hours of sleep on weekdays, and spend our weekends overcompensating for the lost sleep. Lack of sleep and oversleep, both are detrimental to our level of productivity the next day. On reaching this conclusion, I calculated how much sleep I needed. After many days of experiment and research, I decided to go for 7.5 hours at the least.
Putting It All Together
- Do what you love. Do you love to paint? Are you a fitness freak? Do you love jogging? Love playing or listening to music? Anything goes. Do what makes you feel good and makes your insides go bananas.
- Unplug from all your devices and give your mind-body the gift of your presence.
- Move around and sweat. Make yourself cortisol-free by following this fear-proof formula.
- Relax! Try and have enough time for your daily ritual. Your work isn’t going anywhere.
- Sleep and wake up fresh. Try to get in at least 7.5 hours every night. More is better. Try not to exceed 9 hours and ending up overslept.
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