This is a straightforward, basic morning routine that I’ve used for years that helps my creativity, makes me healthier, and keeps my mind in optimal shape. It can all be done within an hour and WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE if you perform it regularly and make it a habit. Just try it for seven days and see what happens.
Here it is:
1. Exercise – I normally do 30 minutes a day, but you can go up to an hour or as little as 20 minutes.
As you’ll see in my other posts, I recommend some strength training depending on your level of fitness, and some amount of cardio. A brisk walk will also do – just get moving. You want to get the hormonal response with seratonin (which is a chemical in the brain that helps move messages through the nervous system) which will help your mood. Of course exercise will assist in keeping your muscles strong and your heart healthy.
2. Morning Pages/Journaling – I developed this habit after reading the Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. This is one of my most recommended books on creativity.
The idea is that you should write three pages of anything you want every morning. These three pages should be unfiltered and non-judgemental. You can use it to talk about your past days events. Let’s say you had something bothering you – you should complain to the pages and get it out of your system. Maybe you have a problem you need to think through – put your thoughts onto paper and maybe you’ll think of an interesting idea. I like to write three things I’m grateful for, and this makes me happier and full of joy. Just the act of writing helps you think and exercises your brain in new ways. Getting new ideas and exercising creativity is a muscle, and as we get older it’s important that we use it.
3. Meditation – What do you think of when you think of meditation? Is it sitting in the lotus position under a tree, completely at peace, with your mind completely clear?
This is what most people think of, but in actuality, it’s just noticing what’s going on in your mind. Sometimes people call this “being present” and mindfulness. It’s impossible to make your mind completely clear and that is a completely useful goal. What you do when you meditate is sit for a period of time and try to focus on your breathing or something else on your body (like how the air feels on your skin, or how your feet feel on the ground). I recommend using the Headspace app or follow some of Sam Harris’ guided meditations here. Try to do it for five minutes first. It might be tough. The next day, try to do seven minutes. Eventually, work up to 10 minutes or more. At some point, if you go without meditation, you’re going to miss it. Just this one practice will have a huge impact.