Experts Say How to Maximize Your Mornings and Stay Motivated04.11.2021
It’s easy to believe that your first task in the morning should be to grab your phone. Is it about you? The same here. You’re setting your alarm one minute and turning it off the next. The next thing you know, you’re reading your work emails, texts, and check Insta Stories. And suddenly, it’s been an hour and you still haven’t had your coffee. You wonder why your morning starts so crappy and anxious. It’s not surprising, then, that wellness experts recommend that morning routines be free from phones. Except if you’re listening to a meditation, in which case it is best to not check your email or social media. .
Many people claim they don’t have the time to meditate. However, most of us do a 10-minute “Instagram meditation” every day (or text, email, Facebook, etc.). Justin Michael Williams is a transformational speaker and meditation teacher. His book, Stay Woke, A Meditation Guide for The Rest of Us, provides readers with practical tools to help you meditate and get up in the morning. He says, “Here’s a simple way to transform your life. As soon as your alarm goes off, take a look at yourself before you go to check your phone.”
Deloitte research shows that 76% of people check their phones within 30 minutes of waking up. 62% do it within 15 minutes. 43% complete it in less than five minutes. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is doing it. For optimal mental and physical health, here are the reasons why you should turn off your phone in the morning.
Your morning sets the tone for your whole day
Williams says that the first few minutes of your awakening can have a profound impact on your mood and psyche, setting the tone for the rest of your day. Research supports this assertion. Before you allow outside life to influence your life, be sure you are in touch with your emotions, your feelings, your health, your desires, and your aspirations.
Lennart Klipp is an emotional wellbeing coach in Los Angeles, CA. He says “waking up in the morning, even though we don’t realize it, is an important part of our day. It is a time for transition. After a deep, restful state of relaxation and recharging we can transition to doing and taking action.” He says that many people jump back into their lives and immediately get back in the matrix. He says, “We catch up with the news, emails and texts that we missed,” “Our partner, children, or pets may need attention. Waiting is not the best thing. We connect so quickly to the outside world that we forget to properly reconnect with ourselves.”
He says that this can lead to a decline in our mental health and wellbeing, and a feeling of being disconnected from ourselves. We forget to slow down and re-awaken our awareness to ask fundamental questions such as: “How does my body feel today? What do I feel like today? What is my intention today? These are all important questions for our well being.” He says it is important to slowly transition from rest to action and to be mindful of your surroundings. Start by asking yourself, “Good morning! What’s your day like?” He asks, “Why are you here?” This will help you begin your day more mindfully, more deliberately, and with more purpose.
Brooke Sprowl (clinical director, owner of My LA Therapy) tells that one’s habits determine how they relate to each day. She says, “It’s all about conditioning yourself. It depends on your goals and values. You can set yourself up and train your nervous system to be calm and grounded, and you will have a better day than waiting until you reach your limit. You will not be proactive if you don’t have a morning routine that grounds you each day.”
How to Maximize Your Morning
How can one reprogram their brain to start the day in the best way possible? Sprowl suggests that you should not check your email or read the news during the first hour of the day to get the most out of these hours and maximize your performance. Save them for when you aren’t at your peak awareness. It doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming, and you can follow a routine offline for your mornings. She suggests drinking a large glass of water (16 ounces), doing a light workout like yoga or walking for 20 minutes, and listening to meditation. These can all help you to choose between corrective and preventative medicine.
Williams agrees, noting how every stimulus, thought and emotion penetrates your brain deeper in the first few minutes after you wake up. He says that if the first thing you see is a fear-mongering article, an email from a friend who needs something, or a notification about your bank overdraft last night, then you could be negatively impacted for the rest your day. He also explains that research shows that those who only watch three minutes of negative news each morning are 27% more likely than others to report having a bad day or unhappy day six- to eight hours later.
How to Stay Motivated
How can you ignore your phone if you have separation anxiety? Sprowl says that it is easy to replace the phone habit with something more productive, such as meditation. She says, “If you grab your phone first, then start using a meditation app instead.” “Waking Up With Sam Harris,” a nine minute meditation on YouTube, is her favorite. You can also listen to any of the many meditation apps like Brightmind or Ten Percent Happier, Headspace or Insight Timer she suggests.
Williams has some tips that will help you avoid falling into the “phone zone” every morning. He suggests that you use an alarm clock to get up in the morning, rather than using your phone. There are many great (and inexpensive) options. There are some really cool (and cheap!) alarms in the nearby store. He suggests that you deactivate notifications from your phone’s screen. He suggests that you do this to ensure you don’t receive any notifications after turning off your alarm. Turning off notifications is even more important if you use your phone for guided meditations.
Is it possible? Williams is certain it will, if you put in the effort and keep at it. He says, “I have recommended this phoneless morning routine to thousands of people so I can be certain that it works. But I will warn you that it is possible to feel anxiety if you give up on this practice. The desire to be connected is strong in a world that often feels so isolated. I feel it, too. He suggests that instead of scrolling through your phone for 10 minutes, spend the time meditating. This will allow you to use your desire to connect with others, and transform it into an intimate connection with your higher self. Meditation takes only a few minutes. There is time. It’s all about commitment.”
Sprowl claims that you will feel better over time. She says that although you may not see immediate success, it is possible to build a lasting effect by doing more. She adds that instead of allowing your impulses to run wild (e.g., scrolling through your social media feeds), it will teach you a new skill, awareness, and presence. This will allow you to have a more healthy, mobile-free morning. A new metaphorical muscle will be developed, which is working out your mind. You’ll feel more controlled and more in control. This is how you will know if your phoneless morning routine works. She says, “Your nervous system will feel more grounded and calm, and you’ll be less panicked and frantic. This will motivate you and be your reward.”