It’s a bit of a funny time at the moment – as the UK enters into its fourth week of lockdown, naturally a lot of mental health issues have been on the rise. Being unable to go out, having little to do, and most of all, not knowing when this situation will be over, can really take its toll on us all. Having a routine is so important for consistency and feeling like you’ve achieved something – most of all, it can help ease anxiety and low mood during the lockdown we’re currently in.
Experts have proven that your attitude for the day is set in the first 8 minutes – so I always try and make it a positive one. I suffer from anxiety myself, so to help manage it, I find it so important to try and get in a positive state every single day, even before working. This might seem like a lot, but honestly, I can’t stress how important it is. Sleep 30 minutes less if you have to. Almost all highly successful people – entrepeneurs, motivational speakers, etc – practice some element of this routine. So, here’s my morning routine for success.
1. Meditate (10 minutes)
This is always the first thing I do just to calm my mind beforethe madness of the day starts and before rushing into my to-do list. You can listen to some calming music and just focus on your breath, breathing deeply or counting (for example: in for 4, hold for 4, out for 8). This is my favourite music to listen to here. However, if you’re new to meditation I recommend using a guided app to learn the basics: some of the most popular ones include Headspace, Aura and Calm.
My personal favourite is Calm. You have a 7-day free trial and then I pay about £34.99 for a yearly subscription, which is honestly SO worth it for the amount of materials they have. Not only do they have guided meditations (my favourites are Calming Anxiety, Loving-Kindness, Deep Sleep, and Mindful Walking), but they have a world of Sleep Stories, Music, and they also recently introduced Calm Body, which has some basic yoga workouts.
2. Yoga (15 minutes)
I’ve recently added this to my routine, as previously I only did the odd yoga class, and one hour was a bit long for me – I’d get very bored by the end of it, repeating all the same movements. But I recently discovered yoga apps and many of them have short routines, just 10-15 minutes. I use Yoga Studio which is £9.99 a month with a huge range of different routines.
3. Practice gratitude (5-10 minutes)
I’ve written before about how powerful The Secret is, so of course I had to read the follow-up book, The Magic. The Secret talks a lot about how powerful gratitude is, but this is really emphasised in the Magic, which gets you to practice some form of gratitude every single day.
Every morning, I write out 10 things I’m grateful for and why. The aim is to try and write 10 different things every day, but to be honest mine often overlap. But the more you read the book, the more you’ll find things to be thankful for that you previously took for granted – your health, your home, your family, running water, food, money, etc. After I’ve written them all, like instructed in the book, I read through them one by one and repeat ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ after each one.
The main thing, and to be honest the part I struggle with, is really feeling the gratitude for each item on the list. Sometimes I put my hand on my heart to try and feel it more, or do a Loving-Kindness meditation. At the end of the day, I aso write the good things that happened that day, and just before I go to sleep, I think of the thing I’m most grateful for.
4. Positive affirmations (2 minutes)
Almost any motivational speaker will tell you how powerful mirror work is. Every time I walk past the mirror, I try and remember to smile… it’s crazy how something so simple can change your mood!
In the morning, though, I repeat affirmations in the mirror that have been tailored to me: e.g. ‘I am capable of solving any problem’ (helpful to people with anxiety), ‘I am calm and confident’ – anything that is something you feel you need to work on. By repeating it every day, you’re willing it into existence. I say them about 10-20 times.
I’m quite a cynic, and at first I was so sceptical of affirmations because I found them so hard to believe. But repeating them in the mirror while smiling can change your mood instantly, believe me. And if you do them every day – slowly, you start to believe them more and more. I don’t just practice this in the morning either, but whenever I am anxious I repeat these in my head.
5. Shower while listening to a motivational video
One of my good friends, Marlinde, was the first one who told me how powerful it is to watch motivational videos every day. I always found it hard to sit down and watch them, so I do something as simple as just play them in the shower. Normally I search ‘Motivational Morning’ on Youtube and just choose a video that sounds great.
However, I do have a few favourites:
This is my all-time favourite motivational speech, given by Denzel Washington.
I also love Les Brown, in particular his world-famous Getting Unstuck speech.
Some other short ones:
Your morning routine doesn’t necessarily have to be the above. Do whatever feels right for you. It could be exercise, reading, journaling – whatever puts you in a great state. The most important thing is to do it consistently, every single day!
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