MORNING ROUTINES & NEUROPLASTICITY
I recently read two great books all about morning routines. After hearing numerous podcasts on them for the past year, I just sort of ignored the hype, assuming another wellness fad. I considered myself to already have a wellness routine. However, I was wrong.
I recently decided to read The 5AM Club by Robin Sharma and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Both of these books strongly support the idea of using neuroplasticity to get yourself into the HABIT of a good, wholesome morning routine. I’ve summed up what I have taken away from both books below:
Waking up early and doing things such as journaling, meditation, movement (exercise) and visualisation will set you up for a great day. It also gives your brain more clarity and capacity by getting them done first thing. The concept of a morning routine helps you to be more productive, manage your time better and carry a sense of accomplishment into your day as well as practice self-discipline by waking up earlier.
-If you ‘aren’t a morning person’- you can be one. It will just take time and practice of rewiring old pathways. Yes, the first few mornings will be tricky because your brain and body aren’t used to it, however, over time- it will get easier!
-There is so much research currently going on, just simply showing the brain light up when we use certain parts of it. If we use the same part/do the same habit/repeat the same story or belief to ourselves, that part of the brain will continue to light up again and again. The neural pathway will become more utilised naturally. 90% of our day to day life is habitual. The way we talk, act, the habits we do, the hand in which we clean our teeth… even the direction that we clean our teeth. All of these become an unconscious competence once we have learned them.
Imagine if you had a horse- you’ve taken that horse around the same paddock for years and years. Every single morning, you go and get your horse and you take it around the track. When you go and pick it up, it automatically will start to take you towards the track it knows so well. However, if one day you decide to take your horse through the woods and discover a new track, it is going to be unfamiliar. Your horse will rear and take you towards the track it knows. You will be bushwhacking your way through unfamiliar territory the first few times. Eventually, you go to collect your horse- it will take you through the track in the woods. It will have learnt that you don’t go that old way now.
I liken this to changing some part of your life. In this case, your morning routine. After a week or so, it becomes easier and automatic waking up early. Before I even get out of bed, I like to do ten diaphragmatic breathes- resetting my nervous system. I also like to mentally express some gratitude for the day. Then I usually walk/do yoga, journal, write some goals for the day or meditate (or all!)
I’d recommend giving the books I mentioned above a read, if you’re keen to learn more. Then you can discover some other ideas of how to set up for a great day and what will work for you.