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7 Morning Rituals That Give You A Head Start Every Day

7 Morning Rituals That Give You A Head Start Every Day

Morning rituals set you up to win the day. They produce small wins that create positive momentum to propel you through the rest of the day.

Morning habits enable you to cross off items from your to-do list before the sun rises, which provides a sense of progress and accomplishment. Once you automate the morning rituals, you pave a frictionless and effortless path to the start of a successful day.

In The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg writes, “Once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom — and the responsibility — to remake them.” Build the framework of a productive day by thoughtfully designing your morning rituals.

1. Defeat the snooze button

Waking up without hitting the snooze button delivers your first win of the day. Resisting the alluring temptation of the snooze seems to be as challenging as running a marathon. However, you can transform into the person who leaves snoozing in the rear view mirror.

There isn’t a bulletproof method to overcome snoozing. The effective solution is different for each person. This gives you freedom to start experimenting today to discover the technique that works for you.

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Four years ago, I snoozed for two hours every morning. I tested countless methods to overcome snoozing. I tried going to sleep earlier. I set different ringtones for my alarm. I placed my phone far away from my bed so that I had to walk across the room to turn off the alarm. No method worked consistently. I failed at my first goal every day, which led to frustration.

I discovered my unique solution with the help of Clocky, which is an alarm clock with wheels that chirps an annoying beeping sound that changes pitch and frequency every few seconds. Every morning, I chase Clocky around the room with my eyes half closed in order to turn off the screeching alarm. I’m ready to start my day after that cardio workout.

Approach defeating the temptation of the snooze like a science experiment. Don’t beat yourself up over failed attempts. Instead, cross off the failed techniques from your list of alternatives and move on to the next iteration of the experiment. You’ll find a method that works for you.

2. Wake up earlier

As you’re slaying the snooze dragon, commit to wake up earlier. The external distractions from the world are dormant in the early morning. E-mails, text messages, and errands aren’t competing for your attention yet. In addition to the lack of distractions, you gain a psychological advantage when you wake up earlier. You feel like you have a head start on the day. It seems like you gained an extra hour.

If you’re not a morning person, your long-term goal will not be to wake up at 5 am. That’s fine. If you currently wake up at 8 am, abruptly striving to move up your wake up time by three hours will likely result in failure. You may succeed at the significantly earlier wake up call for a few days.

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However, the drastic change in routine will fizzle out quickly. Massive changes don’t happen overnight. Instead, start by waking up 15 minutes earlier. This is easily achievable. You may be surprised to find yourself waking up at 5 am everyday in a few years.

3. Make your bed

Making your bed is the easiest and quickest way to add a small win to the start of the day. You can achieve this win in less than one minute. It adds a quick burst of accomplishment and productivity to your early morning.

An organized environment leads to an organized mind. Making your bed is a simple way to start organizing your home life. Seeing the bed made as you’re getting ready for the day adds clarity and calmness to your thoughts.

4. Immerse in positive states of mind for 2 minutes

Immerse in the states of mind you want to experience the most throughout the day: grateful, inspired, excited, focused on priorities. Answer the following questions: What are you grateful for today? What inspires you? What excites you? What endeavors will you focus on today? Carry out this morning ritual even when you feel anxious, sad, or overwhelmed at the start of the day.

By immersing in grateful thoughts each morning, you train your brain to focus on the best aspects of each circumstance. By consistently focusing on what inspires and excites you, you transform into a more enthusiastic and optimistic person. When you clearly identify your priorities for the day, you take control of your day rather than being pushed around by circumstances and the agendas of others.

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5. Write down your goals every morning

You must identify and set exciting goals to begin the journey towards your dreams. A recent study at the Dominican University of California found that participants who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than the ones who didn’t write their goals. Writing down your goals is better than keeping them in your head. To increase effectiveness, reference and read through your goals every day.

The best method is to write your goals down every morning. You powerfully declare your intention by re-writing your goals at the start of each day. This practice crystallizes your goals in your mind and pushes them deeper and deeper into your subconscious. It sends a consistent signal to your brain that these goals are paramount to you.

As a result, your subconscious mind will get to work on your dreams while you work on other projects throughout the day. Your mind will constantly search for ways to progress towards your dream destination. Through this ritual, you recruit your brain to become your unpaid assistant.

6. Envision living your dream life for 5 minutes

Play your dreams in the theater of your mind. Engage the five senses. Watch yourself enjoying a two week vacation in Paris. What does it feel like to walk the narrow streets in the Latin Quarter? What does French food taste like? What does it smell like? What are the sounds you hear when you drink an espresso in a cafe?

Achieving ambitious life goals is hard. You will reach plateaus and valleys in the journey that will make you want to ring the bell and pursue easier goals. Imagine living your ideal day, week, and life. This boosts your motivation and inspiration. Additionally, this exercise clarifies the meaning and purpose of your goals. The motivation and sense of direction push you through the dark times in the journey towards your dreams.

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7. Work towards your dream

Make progress on your dream every morning before you move on to work and errands. Start by setting aside five minutes each morning to focus on your dream. You can incrementally work your way up to one hour.

Instead of surrendering the precious first hour of your day to errands that you don’t want to do, spend that hour working on the project that fuels and excites you. We have a limited amount of willpower in our tank each day. Leverage the full willpower tank in the morning by focusing on your most valued project.

If you funnel your efforts to the wrong activities, you quickly progress down a road that doesn’t lead towards your dream destination. By directing your attention and energy on your dream at the start of each day, you guarantee that you’ll be closer to your dream today than you were yesterday. This incremental progress adds up to significant gains over time.

When you combine the small wins from these morning rituals, you create a string of victories that power your day. You’ll feel more confident and better equipped to handle the obstacles that arise throughout the rest of the day. Regardless of the difficulties the day presents, you have already notched important successes.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Jose Ramos

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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