Sacred Hour: A 4-Step Morning Routine To Guarantee A Great Day

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hhblife-4-step-morning-routineMorning is a very special and important part of the day. It sets the tone and mood for your whole day.  We’ve all had those mornings when we woke up on the “wrong side of the bed” and what follows is a day where everything seems to not go right.  But if you wake up and start your day off with positive feelings, thoughts and energy, everything else falls in its place and you can enjoy a productive, creative, fulfilling day ahead.
I’ve recently started incorporating a few things into my morning routine that have been life changing and completely transformational to my well being.  It was a bit difficult to get this to become my habit, and at times I’ve had to push myself to get it done, but every day that I’ve done the routine I was glad I did because of the benefits I got from it.
Some of the benefits include:

  • Better mood and more positive outlook on life
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Heightened creativity, focus, clarity and problem-solving
  • Lower levels of stress and anxiety. Feeling centered and balanced
  • Increase in motivation and ambition. Getting more things done
  • Faster metabolism and better diet choices
  • Feeling of accomplishment and success that lasts all day
  • Overall increase in sense of well-being

It has become my sacred hour, something good that I do for myself, and without which I don’t feel ready to start the day.  This hour consists of four 15 minute parts, so make sure you wake up early enough to give yourself time to finish before your normal day begins.  Feel free to swap, make adjustments or add in other components that you may need, as long as they contribute to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.

Here are the 4 Steps of my “Sacred Hour” morning routine:

15 minutes of Yoga or Exercise

This is the physical part and makes a great start because it wakes you up and gives an instant energy boost.  I normally do either a 15 minute yoga routine that includes 12 sun salutations, or a 7 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio/toning exercise I found on youtube (click here to try one) followed by 7 minutes of stretching.  It’s that easy, and you’re pretty much done with exercise for the day, unless you have time or want to do more later. But even if you don’t have time in your busy schedule to fit in a proper workout, you’ll be glad that at least you did this short session. If done properly, 15 minutes of intense full-body training can be better than an hour on the treadmill, so take your pick!

15 minutes of meditation

This one is for your spiritual side and is a perfect follow-up to a yoga or stretching session. I love this part the most because this is where I calm down, relax, and get centered.  As you might have heard, meditation has been scientifically proven to have many great benefits, yet most don’t commit to it daily. For me, it was easier to get into this habit as part of my routine in the morning, rather than keep putting it off and saying I’ll do it later in the day and end up never getting to it.  Even if you’re a beginner at meditation and find it difficult to keep your mind from drifting in thoughts, just sitting quietly for 15 minutes and breathing can be very beneficial.  You’ll find it gets better and easier with each passing day, as your mind starts to quiet down and you reach the meditative state for longer each time. Just stay focused on your breath, and if thoughts keep coming up, become aware of them and bring your attention back to your breath.

15 minutes of gratitude

For me this is an emotional wellbeing exercise. Nothing makes you feel happier than counting your blessings.  Gratitude has an instant uplifting effect on our emotions.  I take these 15 minutes to write in my “gratitude journal” either on paper or on my laptop. I think of several things that I’m particularly thankful for in that moment and write out the thought, for example “I am grateful to be healthy in all aspects of my mind and body; I have my eyesight; my body is whole; I feel healthy and strong; I can run and exercise every day” or “I’m grateful for the place where I live; the food and clothes I can afford; my family and friends who support and love me.”  There’s always always always something to be grateful for, so feel free to thank the universe for as many things you can think of.  This exercise is a wonderful start to the day as you send out positive feelings and thoughts.  According to the Law of Attraction, you receive more of what you are grateful for and what you think about most.

15 minutes of visualization or positive affirmations

This part is your mental self-improvement exercise and is another great way to set positive intentions for the day.  The brain can be rewired with these tools to change the thought patterns in any way we want.  In this exercise you can do several things: visualize what you want to happen; write out your dreams and goals; or use positive affirmations that you repeat like a mantra.  Some days, I take this time to set and review my weekly, monthly, and 1 year goals. Planning is a great tool to help you achieve your dreams. Get as specific as possible when writing your action plan for each goal.  Other days I close my eyes and visualize my goal or dream coming true and feel the happiness of that outcome.

Affirmations are positive words or sentences that transform your thoughts to intentions. An example of an affirmation is “I can conquer any obstacle and challenge that comes my way, because I am resilient and strong, and I am in charge of my own destiny” or something more specific like “I know my strengths (list them) and I’m good at what I do, I’m not afraid of failure and I know I will succeed at this (name what your goal is) because I believe in myself.”

 

 

Practice this routine every morning, and soon it’ll become so habitual that you won’t even have to remind yourself to do it.  Make sure you go to bed early enough the night before so that you get enough sleep. That means no late night TV, reading, phones and computers.  Decide what time you will go to bed, turn everything off, set your alarm if you need to and just go to sleep.  Waking up refreshed and rested will help you keep up this wonderful morning ritual and inspire you to do more good things for yourself and others every day.

Originally published on Mind Body Green ( http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14596/a-4-step-morning-routine-to-guarantee-a-great-day.html )

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