How to Take Back Control of Your Mornings for a Less Stressful, Less Anxious Day
If you find that your days are increasingly chaotic, stressful and full of anxiety - and who among us DOESN’T have days like that? - it’s time to reinspect your mornings. How you start your day says a lot about how the rest of your day is going to go. Here’s why, and here’s how to fix it.
Chaos and Coffee
Sense of control, or lack thereof, is one of the biggest predictors of stress and anxiety. (1) From an evolutionary standpoint, that’s because staying in control of our actions, surroundings and schedule meant we had a better chance of survival and not starving to death or getting eaten by, say, a sabertooth tiger.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t have that concept in mind in terms of how we structure our mornings. Our alarm goes off - likely a little too close to when we’ll already be late - and we stumble out of bed and get going. If we have a family, we’re immediately thrown into the chaos of getting everyone else ready for school and work.
Then, we pitch ourselves into the hell that is the morning commute. By the time we arrive at our offices, where who knows how many meetings are already filling up our calendar, we’re a disheveled mess. We’re stressed. We’re anxious. We’re reacting to situations with zero sense of control, starting from the very moment we open our eyes in the morning.
But what if you could unwind it all? What if we could exert a little more control over our emotions, our schedule and our day? By bringing a little more awareness and conscious intention to our mornings, we can set ourselves up for a calmer, more empowered morning, afternoon and evening - no matter what life and work and family throws our way!
Steps to Restoring Control and Intention to Your Mornings
1. Toss Out the Alarm Clock
Or rather, toss out the traditional way most of us use an alarm clock: We set it too close to when we’ll already be late, then we press snooze an unhealthy amount of times before we skyrocket out of bed already stressed and worried we’re behind schedule.
Instead, work on getting up earlier. Earlier than you even think you need to get up.
“You have to be out of the door by 8 a.m., and you sleep-in until 7:30 a.m,” proposes Entrepreneur magazine. (2) “You’re rushing to take a shower, brush your teeth, grab something to eat and make sure that you have everything you need for the rest of the day. If you woke up at 6 a.m. that gives you two hours to not only get ready, but also catch-up on emails, the news, or work on a pet project. Most importantly, it makes your mornings less stressful, which in turn, will make your days less stressful.”
The magazine continues: “The first hour or so of your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. A study conducted by Dr. Joerg Huber of Roehampton University in London found that ‘morning people tend to be healthier and happier as well as having lower body mass indexes.’”
The magazine also notes that studies show early risers are more successful, more productive, happier, more conscientious and better able to handle negativity.
2. Set Your Goals
When you wake up, set aside a few minutes to journal down your goals for the day. What do you hope to accomplish? What will bring you closer to your goals and help you manifest the life and desires you want? Not only does this set your intention for the day, but it also helps you focus and hone your perspective before the busyness of the world fills your mind.
Next, journal some gratitude moments, such as a few things you're proud of or a few things in the day that you're thankful for. Gratitude journaling creates a sense of positivity, which buffers you against stress, anxiety and worry later on in your day.
3. Set Emotional Boundaries
Avoid the news. Stay off social media. Put down the newspaper.
All of these things distract you from your goals, and can often fill your mind and emotional space with negativity. That’s no way to set your day’s intention. If you enjoy reading or watching something while getting your morning ready, consider positive, goal-enhancing media like a self-help book instead.
If you've found this topic helpful, but still need direction to apply it into your life; then click here to get a FREE 45-Minute Call with a coaching consultant at Achieve Today. They'll walk you through your goals, help you understand why you might be stuck, and give you some solid solutions to your problems.