Ok, so for a couple of weeks now I've been trying to find a way to get out of bed with gusto every day, and today it worked! I am not sure if it is just because this is a new habit or not, so time will see if it is a repeatable result. This was my morning:
-Wake up at 6:00 am (after slightly less than 8 hours of sleep)
-Run outdoors until approximately 6:30 am (I think that the benefits of this will be lessened once the sun isn't out so early but it was awesome today)
-Turn on hot water for tea and put oats in the microwave
-Have a pure cold shower to cool down and wake up
-Eat breakfast and drink oolong tea
-Meditate for ~10 minutes
-Brush teeth, make lunch and get dressed for work
-Walk to work
I should say that the goal was to wake up saying "Hell Yeah!," which actually worked, but that the other benefit was that I saved quite a bit of time in the morning. This allowed me to actually get to work on time, which is pretty awesome. This routine worked pretty well today so I won't try to mess with it too much, but I should see if about 10 minutes of calisthenics is as effective as the run for those mornings where the weather is bad. I will wait until one of these days strikes before I actually try that out though.
As a side note related to this morning, I am amazed at the positive effect that the sunlight has on my mood and energy levels throughout the day. It is starting to get close to the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, which means long days and bright mornings. I have had some other significant improvements in my quality of life lately (more time with friends, more nutritious foods and good sleep,) but the light has really made it so much easier to get up in the morning and to not fall asleep too early at night and to keep my outlook more generally positive throughout the week. I am going to keep this in mind for the dark winters, and try out light therapy when the darkness starts to creep into the day by checking kijiji regularly for a portable blue light unit.
“I change my thoughts, I change my world.”
Norman Vincent Peale
The idea for this post came from my friend Shellie who recounted a story to me the other day about driving to work. As she was heading in to the office (at a ridiculously early hour) to face what she anticipated would be a very stressful day, her jaw already tightening with the pressure, she found herself starting to repeat a little mantra over and over in the quiet dark of her car “I am happy….I am happy….I am happy…” After a few minutes of repeated focus on a positive feeling, she found that she was actually starting to smile. By the time she pulled into the parking lot, the sun was rising and the stressed-out, anxious feeling was gone. She felt upbeat and, dare we say, actually happy. Shellie said the entire tone of her day changed from one of perceived stress and general dread, to an attitude of “I am on it! I can get this done.”
It is amazing how just a few moments of thinking positively in the morning can transform your entire day. When you first wake up, your mind is supremely receptive to suggestion and ideas. Why not use this knowledge to your advantage?! Morning mantras (or affirmations) can reset the neural pathways in your brain and set you on the path of positive energy before your day officially kicks into gear. Positive thoughts attract positive actions, which means with a few minutes of focused attention each morning you can literally set yourself up for a more positive day.
Do you really want to start your day with worried thoughts of your to-do list? By rehashing past arguments? Of course not, yet so many of us do. And the thing to remember is, the law of attraction also works in reverse; negativity breeds more negativity. If your first thoughts are of busyness, lack, worry, etc., you’re laying the groundwork for an anxiety ridden day.
I remember hearing about the Teforia a long time ago. The story around it was that it was this comically overpriced tea brewer, often compared with the Juicero, that symbolized what was wrong with Silicon Valley.
So, of course, I took very little interest in it. I like brewing tea and, having brewed it at least a few thousand times, I'm pretty good at it. What's the point of a machine that's not going to do it as well as I can?
I can't remember why, but a few weeks ago, the Teforia came back on my radar. I searched and found that they had gone out of business and that the machines which were once $1000-15000 were now being sold as cheaply as $200 on eBay.
At the same time, I had been noticing something troubling about my productivity. I realized that because I made tea at my desk every day, and because it required a fair amount of manual intervention, I would avoid any tasks which required serious concentration for the first couple hours.