Your Morning Routine – Tips to Jumpstarting a Better Day

How do you start your day? Is it haphazard or deliberate? Do you get energized? Do you create positivity and optimism for the day ahead? 

An increasing number of doctors and health experts are extolling the benefits of establishing a deliberate, positive morning routine to improve your chances of having a satisfying and fulfilling day ahead. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful:

Start with the SAVER routine

This concept first came to my awareness a few years ago when I heard a podcast interview of Hal Elrod, who codified The Miracle Morning in his book (and surprisingly powerful documentary film of the same name). Hal says he was experiencing a low point in his life and asked himself a simple question: what do the most successful people in the world do to create their success? His research ultimately led him to establish a routine of 6 principal elements, which he called SAVER. 

Hal decided he would complete these routine SAVER steps every morning:  

Silence (meditation), Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (journaling).

Try moving your body with yoga and stretching, or take a quick walk with the dog first thing in the morning. Then, take a few minutes to read something positive – it is surprising the volume of reading you can accomplish in 10 or 15 minutes per day.

Waking up knowing exactly what you need to do and experiencing that feeling of accomplishment right off the hop is a great start to your day! 

When I first left my marriage of 37 years, I was blessed to encounter Hal, and I adopted his Miracle Morning, completing his SAVER routine faithfully for the first hour every day. I was already doing a few of the elements, but creating the full routine was powerful for my mental health. 

Now, add some hydration

We all know the vital importance of hydration. Sub-optimal hydration leads to a myriad of negative health consequences, including tiredness, headaches, reduced cognitive performance, constipation, and many others. 

Before you start in on that first cup of coffee, try downing a big glass or two of water – you can even add electrolytes. Science tells us drinking water will trigger our metabolism (energy production) after sleep. 

Add water to your morning, and I am confident that you will feel the difference in improved energy. I also drink a big glass of water before I go to sleep, and it is improving my sleep quality.

Add a few deep breaths

Water and oxygen are essential, which leads me to thinking about also “hydrating” our oxygen in the morning. As you ease into a waking state while lying in bed, practice a few minutes of deep breathing. 

Deep breathing may not work for everyone, but I have found it helps me avoid Zombieland and to be more fully awake and aware when I put my feet on the floor. This idea was taken from the book Breathe by James Nestor – another reference that has had a profound influence on me.

Sprinkle in some positive thoughts

Repeat a daily mantra to yourself which combines positive thoughts about yourself and who and how you want to BE with your thoughts, words, and actions during the day ahead. 

I’ve written previously about the benefits of affirmations. My mantra is not fixed; I change it up here and there to keep it relevant and fresh. I have found elements of this mantra now pop into my mind during the day, helping me to stay mindful of my thoughts and actions. 

And ditch the phone check

If you are in the habit of checking your phone first thing after waking, you might want to reconsider. Science tells us that our stress response is easily triggered by seeing or reading something negative or alarming, even if it doesn’t affect us directly. This stress response may be mild and go unnoticed consciously, but it will be there in the background, affecting your physical, emotional and mental state. 

Last but not least, wake with the sun

The science around sleep and its importance has advanced exponentially in the last couple of decades. Two additional findings about good morning habits have emerged as quite important. 

The first is to wake up at about the same time each day, and the second is to get some sunlight into your eyes for 20 minutes or so near your waking time. This routine keeps your circadian rhythm steady, which is important to numerous other physiological processes, including our brain function. 

A SAD lamp (which mimics sunlight and is used for treating seasonal affective disorder) can be used year-round if you can’t get natural morning sunlight in your eyes.

This post can only touch lightly on the incredibly involved subject, but perhaps you will find benefits from some awareness around your morning routine. Generating some new habits may help you to jumpstart your day with energy and positivity!

With loving kindness,

Coach Billy