By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A. -This article originally appeared on August 17th 2016 on huffingtonpost.com
In today’s world, the first thing we do after we wake up is roll over to check our phone for texts and emails. We come face to face with our to-do list within seconds of coming into consciousness and, as a result, run the risk of becoming immediately overwhelmed before we’ve had the chance to connect inward, fuel our tank, and prepare ourselves for a peaceful and balanced day.
You must give yourself the space and time to start your day. Do not rush into it.
You will find your stress levels to be more manageable, your problem solving skills to improve, your productivity to sky rocket, your love life to blossom, your health to support you, and you will be happier.
Why? Because slowing down makes it possible for you to be more present. When you are more present, you are more able to respond to any situation, challenge, or opportunity that life presents. Being present also means that you’re able to “receive” insights and to calm down our nervous system.
This is why I recommend implementing a daily morning regimen that prioritizes slowing down and connecting within. It will transform your day to day so you’re set up for success and abundance in all areas of life.
First up: Your day starts with the night before.
Have you noticed that our society wears lack of sleep like a badge of honor? If you’re too busy to sleep, you’re extremely “driven” and “successful.”
Unfortunately — the opposite is true. Or, it will be if you operate long-term without ample time to recharge.
Lack of sleep is dangerous. Not only for your health, but for productivity, pursuing life-long dreams, enjoying your life-partner, parenting, and general happiness.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for closing out your day and improving the quality (and duration) of sleep.
- No electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
- Don’t charge your devices next to your bed. Having a charging station outside of your bedroom is ideal.
- Don’t have caffeinated drinks after 2pm.
- Your bed is for sleep and sex. Only. Do not bring work to bed.
- Wear night clothes, not gym clothes. Dressing for sleep tells your brain to relax and prepares it to recharge.
- If you’re reading a book before bed, actually read a book. No iPad, or anything that emits light.
- Before bed, write a list of three “wins” that happened that day. The size of the win doesn’t matter, just that it made you happy and grateful.
- Aim for a full 8-9 hours.
If you’re looking for additional help for having a full night of quality sleep, an awesome resource is Arianna Huffington’s new book, Sleep Revolution.
In addition to the science and staggering statistics she shares to prove her claim that sleep is pivotal for both success and happiness, she offers many tips for “rekindling the romance” between you and sleep so that it’s something you look forward to, and it’s as restful and recharging as it’s supposed to be.
After you wake-up, RPM.
RPM is a term coined by Deepak Chopra. It stands for rise, pee, meditate.
I assume you’ve got rising and peeing down, so I’ll skip right to meditation!
Meditation is an opportunity to slow down, quiet the mind, and be present. If this is difficult for you, I suggest doing a few minutes of stretching or yoga poses before sitting down to meditate for 15-20 minutes.
When you’re seated and still, take a few deep breaths in and out before you start silently speaking your mantra in your mind.
Mantra is the sanskrit word for “instrument of the mind.” In the same way that a puppy needs a bone to sit still, your mind often needs a “bone,” too.
To be clear: The purpose of meditation is not to silence your thoughts.
That’s impossible. The purpose is to be silent and present to what is here and now so you can give yourself permission to connect with your higher self on a regular basis. When you have that ability, overwhelm is easily managed and success in all areas feels attainable.
If you don’t have a personal mantra, I suggest the word “om,” which is said to be the sound of the Universe. You can also use “I am,” or your favorite word. I have a client who uses the word “love.” Your mantra doesn’t have to mean anything specific to you, the important part is sitting quietly with yourself.
For a step by step guide for getting started with meditation, read one of my recent blogs.
Following your meditation, set an intention.
An intention is not a goal. A goal is about achieving, an intention is more like aligning with all of our being towards the goal. Where a goal is something you work hard for, an intention is about the energy you want to tap into on the road to achieving said goal.
Ask yourself: What kind of energy must you tap into in order to live the life that you want?
Giving yourself a moment every morning to shift your mindset around how you want to feel as your day unfolds is pivotal. It gives yourself the time to feel into the day and set yourself up for manifesting the experience you desire. It creates an energy that is positive, conducive, and effective for playing at your best. It allows you to be present in both your mind and your heart.
“My intention today is to be kind and peaceful with myself and others and to live as if everything is for my benefit.”
Next, I suggest 30-45 minutes of exercise.
I know exercise can be hard to commit to on a daily basis, but I think it’s important to make it a goal to do so. Moving for even 30 minutes will help you start your day in your body. It will aid in stress management as well as keep you physically fit so that you can be happier and healthier.
Finally, treat yourself to a coffee.
Robert Holden, one of my favorite teachers, once told me that coffee is a device of the holy spirit. I agree with him.
I love the smell and the flavor of coffee in the morning. For me, it’s a pleasure I give myself.
I can see where needing it to function can become a problem and for that reason I understand that there’s a fine line between recommending to drink it or not drink it. But, I’m Italian. Loving coffee is in my genes!
The flavor and smell of it in the morning is something I look forward to. For that reason, I’m a big supporter of coffee if it’s something that brings you the joy it brings me.
That said, I do suggest not drinking coffee on an empty stomach. It’s important to pay attention to how much acidity you ingest, and coffee is very acidic.
I guarantee you will see shifts in all areas of life if you commit to a daily practice, like the one I’ve outlined here. I saw shifts in my own life within the first week of changing my morning, and I’ve witnessed my most successful clients experience the same.
Is there something you do every morning that has transformed your life? Please share it with me in the comments!
And if you’re looking to explore morning practices for transforming your life more thoroughly, I highly recommend The Miracle Morning.
“Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.”
- Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning