The first hours of the day are where heroes are made. If you want to master your life, start by owning the mornings. Freedom from distraction before everybody else wakes up (whether it is 4am, 5am, or 6am) will allow you to build your creativity, maximize your fitness and protect your serenity in an age of complexity.
Here are the benefits of getting up early: When you enjoy a peaceful early morning start, the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which handles rational thought, temporarily shuts down. So your tendency to analyze, stress, and worry about things is impaired. At the same time, the peace of daybreak stimulates the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. The result? You naturally enter a state of flow: of being fully energized, focused, and in the zone. That’s why when you get up early, you tend to be much more focused and productive for the entire day.
What will your morning routine be?
Just rising early alone won’t do it. You could rise at 5:00 a.m. and waste an hour scanning social media and checking messages, but that won’t optimize your day because it’s all reactive rather than proactive. What you want is (re)claim ownership over the first hour of your day so that you can take care of your own needs.
Below is a review of the top seven practices you could practice, one after the other for just a few minutes each, in any combination you chose (e.g., 3 for 20 minutes each), or only one at a time.
Follow your instincts. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way of doing this. Experiment and see what works for you. Something that does the trick for other people might not work for you. If you realize it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to abandon it and try something else. You’re sure to find your unique combination that feels right soon enough!
Exercising: Even if your workout consists of only a few minutes, it will still benefit you for the rest of the day. What’s important is to make yourself sweat. That’s because sweat gets rid of cortisol, the hormone of fear. Sweat generates the protein BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which repairs brain cells and accelerates the formation of new neural connections. So make sure you sweat, and you’ll think faster!
Silence: Pray, meditate, or focus on your breathing. Research shows that meditation helps lower cortisol, reducing your stress. It’s a proven way to stay calm.
Affirmations: Write down what you want in life, why you want it, who you want to become and what you are willing to do to change your life.
Visualization and other manifesting techniques: Mentally rehearse what you need to do to achieve your desired specific outcomes.
Reading: Read on ideas that you are interested in and will benefit you. It only takes one idea to change your life completely, and that idea might become apparent in those minutes of reading each morning.
Journaling: This is a helpful method to reflect on personal issues and progress, gain clarity, capture ideas, and improve. Write your thoughts in a journal. Commit your current ambitions, the things you’re grateful for in your life, and your frustrations and disappointments to paper. Doing so will help you understand your vision and let go of toxic, negative energies.
Everything else: There is of course lots more you could do daily for your own personal growth, and it’s all down to what most resonates with you and how much time you have available! Here we’ll discuss how to implement a gratitude, heart intelligence, and happiness practice.
How to get up with more energy
To motivate yourself to get up in the morning with more energy (or less sleep), change your approach to waking up.
While nobody knows how much sleep is required daily for adults (most commonly cited are 7h to 9h daily), one thing is sure: What you believe you need dramatically impacts how you feel. If you think that you need 8 hours to feel rested, then you’re not going to feel rested on anything less. But what if you changed your beliefs? The mind-body connection is powerful, so why not take responsibility for every aspect of our lives, including the power to wake up every day feeling energized, regardless of how many hours of sleep we get?
Try the following:
Set your intentions before bed. That’s because your first thought in the
morning is usually the last thought you had before you went to bed. Consciously decide every night to actively and mindfully create a positive expectation for the following day. E.g., affirm something like, “Thank you for giving me these X hours of sleep tonight. X hours is exactly what I need to feel rested and energized in the morning. My body is capable of miraculous things, the least of which is generating an abundance of energy from X restful hours of sleep. I believe that I create my experience of reality, and I choose to create waking up tomorrow feeling energized and excited to take on my day, and I’m grateful for that.“
Set your alarm clock half an hour fast. That way, when you wake up tomorrow morning, you’re tricking yourself into thinking you are getting up later (e.g., 5:30am) even though the real-time is 5am.
Move your alarm clock across the room. If you keep your alarm clock next to your bed, you are still in a partial sleep state when the alarm goes off, making it much more difficult to wake yourself up.
Don’t use the snooze button on your alarm; get up immediately. Grabbing a few extra minutes of sleep might feel like what your body needs, but in the end, you’ll feel more tired than if you’d just gotten up when your alarm first rang. Think of it this way. Lightly slumbering is akin to revving a car engine without putting it into gear; both activities are a waste of gas. This is where the 5-second rule becomes useful: countdown from 5 and do what you have decided to do when you get to 1 and make sure that you can take your following action within 20 seconds easily:
* Go to the bathroom: Is everything ready for you to brush your teeth, drink a glass of water, and shower?
* Go out to exercise: Sleep in your workout clothes if needed and keep your shoes by your bed so that all you have to do is put them out and get out the door)
Research shows that the blue light emitted by our devices reduces levels of melatonin – the chemical that induces sleep. Being in front of a screen before bedtime will prevent you from sleeping properly, so turn off your technology no later than 8pm.
The book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod greatly impacted my life. Hal is one of these people with an indomitable spirit who experienced several major crises in his life (He came back from the dead twice, literally, amongst other challenges) yet always refused to give up. What helped him the most was his morning routine, which he talks about here.
Click on the image below to get started with this lesson.