(Thanks But No Thanks, Morning Doom!)
The thoughts we have first thing in the morning have the power to set the tone for the rest of our day. The tasks to be accomplished, emotions left over from our dream state, our to do lists, and distressing thoughts about meetings and presentations can hit like a ton of bricks when we open our eyes. Yikes! So how do we cultivate a positive outlook on the day ahead without negating the emotions we carry?
Before we reach for our phone, start scrolling, or begin sifting through emails, positive daily rituals can help align us for a better and more balanced day that both honor our emotional state while shifting us toward empowerment and joy. And many of these we can activate before we have even left our sheets or reached for our first cup of coffee. (We like that!)
At Better Booch>, we believe in living with intention. We looked to some experts to help us find some daily rituals to help start the day off with an empowered and intentional outlook. These daily rituals can help us move through our day with more ease, give us resting places for worries, and get us off the merry-go-round of stress and anxiety, allowing us more focus, presence, and joy. We’re in!
1. Visualize Your Day Going Well from Start to End
We are what we eat, and we are what we think. As humans, we are often great at fabricating stories of the worst case scenarios in our heads. But what if we flipped it?
Professional Psychologist, Donna T. Novak of the Simi Psychological Group, suggests, “visualizing each part of your day going well. Maybe better than well. Visualize it going great. From the first sip of coffee. Having some morning laughs with your kids. To your client phone calls. Dinner with your family. Picture it. Picture it going well and all you want it to be. There is something so powerful in allowing your mind to go on this journey and seeing things going well.”
The imagination is a powerful tool. Let those good thoughts roll!
2. Clear Mental Blocks with a Daily Journaling Session
Our minds can be a three ring circus, but we are the ring leader after all!
Negating our feelings can lead to stored negative emotion which will eventually build and find a way out…and not always in the most peaceful of ways. But journaling can help us track our emotions without allowing them to take center stage or manifest in our bodies. As Dr. Monisha Bhanote,MD, FCAP, offers, “journaling can serve as an effective intervention for mitigating mental distress and increasing well-being.”
Starting the day with morning pages can help clear the cobwebs of thoughts and allow the mind to spill emotions into a healthy place. Putting them down on paper serves as a way to unfurl and validate one’s feelings before creating the day’s agenda. Giving yourself time to jot down the inner landscape of your internal world is an act of self love.
The brain also processes thoughts differently when we write by hand. The physical act of holding a pen to the page and letting the thoughts stream out in one’s own handwriting is a creative and cathartic process for the brain.
Dr. Bhanote explains that “Journaling fosters awareness, boosts immunity, improves mood, lowers stress and anxiety, and uses the left side of the brain to clarify thoughts. The daily act of 5 minutes of journaling can help you express your thoughts, clear mental blocks, and put actions into place.”
In addition, we offer that adding a list of at least three things you are grateful for to a journal entry can shift the internal landscape and put things in perspective. Though there may be a multitude of distressing thoughts or worries circulating, writing down a handful of positive truths, no matter how simple, can realign us to all of the parts of life which are going well and grow feelings of abundance and gratitude for what already is.
Get out your colored pens and let those thoughts fly!
3. Have a Mental Rehearsal in the Morning
A musician wouldn’t get out on the stage without first rehearsing the music, right? Think of your mind as your instrument and your life as the stage. To give each day your best might just require a little warm up to get you in the zone so the “music” can flow.
Productivity, Time Management and Leadership Coach, Alexis Haselberger, recommends, “spending 5 minutes, before you get out of bed in the morning, mentally running through your schedule and planning for what you’ll do if your day gets derailed by the unexpected.” She offers, “If you are feeling anxious about a big meeting you need to present at, imagine yourself presenting, with confidence. This visualization practice is also called mental rehearsal and there are many studies showing that athletes, musicians, and even surgeons effectively use this technique to improve their performance.”
There are so many areas of our lives in which we are expected to “perform well.” Giving yourself some moments to center and walk through your day mentally before jumping into the arena of the day ahead can boost confidence and provide calm clarity on how to react when things don’t go as planned. Get that rehearsal on!
4. Create Daily Check-ins Based on Your Daily Habits
Ever wonder why people love taking pictures of a meal before they eat it? No shame! Giving your body something it’s asking for and getting excited about a meal you’ve created is beautiful! As we begin to tune into both the nutritious meals and the indulgences our bodies are craving and honoring those requests with intention, we are bound to feel excited.
As we become more conscious and creative about our meals, that mindfulness and balance caries over to the rest of lives according to Nutritionist, Lisa Richards of The Candida Diet. Richards explains, “The concept of Intuitive Eating is based on the idea of mindfulness. When we are mindful of our bodies needs nutritionally, our fullness, and what we are putting into our bodies we are more likely to achieve balance mentally and physically. Each meal is an opportunity to be mindful of what your body needs, but also to intentionally allow yourself to indulge on occasion. Mindfulness enables you to live in balance.”
Our bodies are our temple. It’s up to us to move about them with purpose. In the go-go-go culture we live in, there is something sacred in taking time to create a joyf-filled meal that our bodies will appreciate. Our bodies and minds will thank us for tuning in!
5. The Power of Hope
The greater danger is not that our hopes are too high and we fail to reach them, it’s that they are too low and we do. —Michelangelo
We are living in a time that requires each of us to hold tight to hope. Resting and recharging so that that fire of hope does not burn out is integral for our wellbeing both personally and collectively.
Stephanie Harrison, Founder & CEO of The New Happy, offers that hope is something we can cultivate. She suggests a daily ritual for building hope by taking a few moments every morning to ask yourself this question: What is one small thing I can do today to live up to the person I want to be? According to Harrison, “This question builds hope in three key ways. It helps you to focus on your intrinsic goals, translate a big vision into small achievable actions, and increases your sense of control and agency. Asking this question each day will build your hopefulness, increase your resilience, and help you to thrive — even in the midst of the challenges we are all facing.”
Allowing ourselves to be inspired by our own sense of hope and the change we aim to make in the world and for our loved ones, is a wonderful place to start the morning. What can we do today, small or large, that will make the person we want to be proud? Is it cooking that meal for the family? Nailing that presentation? Volunteering time? Taking a much needed nap before you hit the afternoon Zoom? Splashing around in hope first thing in the morning helps us to keep our true purpose at the forefront of our thoughts so that we aren’t as derailed by unexpected challenges and can continue to move forward with a positive outlook. Those hope colored glasses look good on ya!
Helpful Accounts We Love
@wetheurban, a Black-owned digital platform celebrating inclusivity, self-love, & marginalized voices. We love their reminders on prioritizing peace of mind.
@theiamjournal for a step by step morning and evening journaling ritual for developing a mindset that supports your burning desires.
@halfthestory for tools on limiting social media interaction, defining necessary and unnecessary technology to use, and deleting apps that don’t spark joy. Use technology but don’t let it use you!