“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” — Jim Rohn

How you choose to start your day has a huge impact on the rest of your day’s “flow.” Waking up angry about a conversation from the night before, or feeling anxious about an upcoming business presentation is taking a toll on your mental health more than you think. So rather than diving into your phone emails or Instagram feed, allow yourself an hour to yourself in the morning. It’ll make a world of difference in your productivity, creativity, and overall mental well-being. 

Here are three methods you can use to optimize your mornings.

Be Grateful

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” 

– Eckhart Tolle

When you first open your eyes in the morning, train your brain to automatically think of 5 things you’re grateful for. Without even leaving your bed, you can look around and be grateful for a million things. 

Whatever comes to mind, be grateful for it. “I’m grateful for my warm bed. I’m grateful for the sun shining in my room. I’m grateful for my health. I’m grateful for my favorite song stuck in my head. I’m grateful for another day!

Just get yourself in a state of gratitude and the rest of your day will be bulletproof. You’ll find it easier to attract what you want, improve relationships, reduce negativity and improve problem-solving.

So try it out. What do you have to be grateful for today? Make a mental list of three things every morning before you get up. That’s all you have to do to reprogram your mind toward gratitude–and remember, “gratitude is the attitude to a higher latitude.” – a random book I found at a vegan sandwich shop in Boulder, Co. 

Meditate

Meditation and gratitude go together like peanut butter and jelly. 

I’m not saying you have to go deep into a 2-hour transcendental meditation, heck you don’t even have to sit up and cross your legs. Just be in the moment and mindful of your surroundings, senses and incoming thoughts. You can meditate with a cup of coffee while looking out your back window. Sip your coffee slow. Feel the warmth of the mug on your hands. 

Another great way to meditate is to do a “walking meditation.” Center yourself, and feel how your body is standing on the earth. Feel the pressure on the bottoms of your feet and the other natural sensations of standing. Let yourself be present and alert. It’s a simple practice for developing calm, connectedness and embodied awareness. Walking meditation has the added benefit of getting some fresh air, catching the sunrise, and moving your body in the morning. So, find a quick route around your neighborhood and make it your daily morning adventure. 

Journal

“Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life? As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.”

— Tim Ferris

Don’t overthink it when it comes to journaling. The “3 Page Rule” is a great beginner practice when you’re first starting out. Put your pen to paper and write down whatever comes to mind. The one rule is you have to fill 3 pages of your journal. No more,  no less. Spit out whatever naturally arises in your thoughts. No filters! Make it a rule that you can’t go back and read your journal entries. This will allow you to freely write down your most genuine thoughts. The 3 pages rule is also a great creative exercise tool. For all you entrepreneurs and creatives, journaling could be the key to your next big business idea. It’s hard to write about one subject for three pages, so you’ll have to get creative and force yourself to unlock new thoughts. The big takeaway from morning journaling is allowing yourself to have an output of thoughts before checking your phone and receiving a bunch of input. 

Breaking the habit of checking your phone first thing in the morning will have a HUGE impact on your morning routine, and ultimately the rest of your day. Replace your morning Instagram scroll with some gratitude, meditation, and journaling and be prepared for creative breakthroughs and inspirations. Find out what works for you and build off it. Get creative and find your own morning flow! 

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