Change Your Morning, Change Your Life

Imagine: you wake up a few minutes before your alarm and open your journal before your phone. You go into the kitchen to make yourself a cup of coffee, along with toast and fruit for breakfast. As you sit down to eat, you take the time to appreciate every bite and engage in conversation or look at your goals for the day instead of your phone. Maybe you even say a few affirmations or take the time to thank God for another day. Flash forward a few hours and the moments that usually make you want to rip your hair out—when your roommate forgets to take out the trash again, when the professor cold calls you in class, when you realize you have hours of work to do—don’t  feel as daunting and earth shattering as they usually do. The reason why: it’s because you took the time to allow your body to wake up in the morning and keep this part of the day sacred.  

Person running Photo by Emma Simpson from Unsplash I am sure you’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I agree with this statement, but I wish to take this statement further. Not only breakfast, but the morning, is the most important part of the day. In my opinion, morning isn’t just another part of the day, but it’s  the part of the day which influences your life and outlook the most. If a day is started rushed or with agony, regret or anger, you can’t be surprised if you experience feelings of agony, regret, anger and stress throughout the remainder of your day. Contrary, if the day is started with gratitude, love, appreciation and patience, I believe the remainder of the day will accordingly be filled with these positive emotions.

woman sitting on a white bed in front of a window while stretching Photo by bruce mars from Unsplash College can make mornings seem daunting, as it signifies another day of studying for long hours without much free time. For some time, I used to tell myself that I simply wasn’t a “morning person” and would allow this to excuse the negativity, anger and frustration that would cloud my mind every morning. I would go to bed late and when my alarm woke me up in the morning, I would whine and turn over hoping to catch a few more precious moments of sleep. What I found is that as much as I thought these small moments of sleep were going to help me throughout the day, they never did. By snoozing my alarm, I was essentially saying “I don’t want to experience another day.” Waking up to this first thought would make it easy for my brain to turn to similar thoughts throughout the rest of the day.  

In quarantine, with all the extra time to think, I came to the realization that I wasn’t as happy as I wanted to be. This led me to think about the people in my life who are the happiest. I thought of my mom, who wakes up before 7 am everyday and starts her day off with prayer, followed by yoga and a hearty breakfast. I thought of my dad, who doesn’t wake up to an alarm and who reads the newspaper every morning with his cup of coffee. I thought of my friend Nina, who wakes up before 7 and in a matter of two hours, goes on a run, journals, and gets an hour of sunshine in. I thought of Steve Jobs, who said that he started every morning by asking himself “if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Then I thought of my mornings, which often consisted of waking up 30 minutes after my alarm, checking my phone first thing in the morning and eating a piece of toast as I ran out the door.  It was starting to make sense. Was the reason why I experienced negative thoughts not because of the outcome of my days, but because of the way that I was starting them? I decided to try out the unfamiliar lifestyle of being a “morning person” and I found that my hypothesis was completely correct. I realized that the course of my day might actually be correlated with how I started my morning. From then on, I vowed to successfully change my mornings, so I could successfully change my life. Months later, my morning routine looks a lot more like the people in my life who I consider the happiest: filled with patience, self-love, appreciation and intentionality. Even taking an extra 5 minutes to yourself in the morning to journal, stretch, sip coffee or meditate can have a huge difference. 

woman looking at sunset over water Photo by Megan Nixon from Unsplash Mornings are only as daunting as we make them.  I can’t lie and say that I’m completely ecstatic to get out of bed every morning, but I have found that on  the mornings when I try to have a positive outlook, I am much more likely to view the rest of my day and my life in the same manner. I never thought I would call myself a morning person, but I am now proud to be one. I believe “morning people” are really the ones who are most excited to live life and are the most joyful to be around.