A Morning Routine, and Screens, Revisited

screenLast week I bit on one of those email offers that promise great serenity if you only click to their website. But on balance, I’m quite happy what I found–a list of “how to have a great morning” that I am trying to following now.  This list, written by Benjamin Hardy, is a recommendation to change up how the time just after you wake up and before you go to bed. I have been stuck in a routine that was putting me to bed too late and focused too much on the tiny screen of my iPhone.

The main thing now is that when I wake up, I resist any urge to pick up my cellphone. I leave it where it is, for at least 60 minutes, while I go about getting up.   As the list suggests, the first thing after rising is to spend from 2-10 minutes meditating about gratitude, whatever that is.  I lie in the bed propped up with pillows and close my eyes and think about this house, and my comfortable bed, and the food in the refrigerator and my job that I love. I think about this and try to be grateful, try to be aware of it.

Then list suggests that I spend the next period lovingly interacting with those you live with. This can be tough, because Mary is on her way out the door and is never in a mood to chat, joke, or do much but all of those tasks like get her stuff ready to leave and have a quick breakfast to go. So I do this mostly by not getting in her way.

Then the hard part–which I haven’t gotten to yet, but what the list-maker says is the most important. WRITE DOWN some stream of consciousness thoughts that came to you while you slept, or as you just woke up.  These nuggets can contain valuable insights, it is thought, and that moment you might have a great idea.

Then another thing that’s recommended is to take a cold shower. Not necessarily start out pure cold, but switch the temperature down for  30-60 second, and while it’s cold, breath heavily through your mouth.  The other advice is to eat 30 grams of protein for breakfast, instead of carbs like toast and rice.

Then read or listen to uplifting content, which I do with my podcasts. I’m currently enjoying ‘Things you Missed in History Class’ and a whole bunch of other great podcasts, including Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History,” and the TED radio talks.   A run for me goes on at the same time as this listening, I try to do two miles to four miles but recently snow has blocked my four-mile route so it’s a quicker two.

In the evening, another rule I’ve adopted is to not have screens for the last 60 minutes of being awake. I read magazines, or books, or listen to music but I don’t pick up the phone or turn on the TV or open the laptop. I’ve gotten my fill of that all day and the last hour of being awake is better not staring at a screen.