How to Start Your Day Calm

 
7am. Alarm goes off, you twist and turn trying to find the alarm, you reach out and find it. Relief. It’s off. 
 
Then what?
 
What’s your first thought? What’s the first thing you do?
 
For many of us the sound of the morning alarm is associated with dread and apprehension and often a wish for “just a few more minutes”. Then most of us check our phones, in fact according to an IDC research report (2013) 4 out of 5 of us check our smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up.
 
We’re then up and away, struck by a day full of to-do lists whizzing around our heads.
 
 
How we start our day has a massive impact on how the remainder of our day turns out - our mood, our productivity and our happiness. For instance, reading news and messages first thing bombards our minds with uncensored stimulus that impacts our mood and can have repercussions for the rest of the day without us realising.
 
Instead, why not take a bit of time at the beginning of your day to tune into you, take control of your mindset and go into the day with positive intent.
 
We all have incredibly different days, varying schedules and responsibilities, but there are a few easy tricks to try:
 
- Don’t snooze - it takes about 90 minutes to get into deepest REM sleep, snoozing doesn’t let you get anywhere near that. By snoozing, you allow your body to start the sleep cycle, but when the alarm goes off again your body is jolted awake and you feel even worse than you did the first time.
 
- Drink water
 
- Journaling - Take a few moments to yourself. Writing a few Morning Pages is really effective to offload any niggling thoughts, clearing the mind from distractions to be able to focus on the day at hand. This is for your eyes only and not to be read again - just a conscious stream of anything. ‘There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being.’ Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP
 
- Meditate - meditation is a tough habit to start, but it’s worth it when you do. Headspace has done a brilliant job of explaining it through animations and an easy 10 minutes a day to get you started.
 
- Set a high level intention for the day. Benjamin Franklin asked himself ‘What good shall I do this day?’. Now it doesn’t have to be that profound, it could be as simple as ‘say thank you to someone’ or ‘spend 30 minutes reading with my child’. Decide to do something for you, before being distracted by emails and texts.
 
- Wait at-least 30 minutes before reading or listening to the news!
 
Any one of these things will have a positive impact on your mindset that day. Try and carve yourself out a bit of time, 5 minutes to start and a bit more when you can and introduce one trick at a time, mix and match as you need. The more of them you do and the more of a habit you can make them, the more clarity and purpose you will experience each day.
 
 
Written by Emma Masding
 
 
Emma has a management consulting and creative producer background and is fascinated by philosophies of life, positive psychology and personal development. Emma is combining her interests of applying well-being theories to practical life with a love of writing to blog for Yoke
 
 
Some extra reading:
 
Stages of Sleep, Diana L. Walcott Psych Central http://psychcentral.com/lib/stages-of-sleep/
 
The Health Benefits of Journaling, Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP, http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/
 
Why hitting the snooze button will screw up your entire day, Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/01/why-hitting-snooze-is-bad-for-health_n_5630707.html
 
To learn more about morning pages: Julia Cameron (2002) The Artist’s Way