For a great portion of my life, mornings were the worst part of my day. Mornings were the start to a day filled mostly with stuff I didn’t want to do. When I thought things couldn’t possibly be worse, anxiety came knockin’ at my door and decided to stay for a while.
That’s when my mornings really started sucking.
I would wake up in a haze just as tired as the night before. My first thoughts were fearful — praying that the lump in my throat and heaviness in my chest would stay away. But the fear of feeling anxious usually just brought about the very symptoms I was fearing.
It was a vicious cycle.
I remember rolling over and throwing a pillow on my face, screaming into it thinking this was how I would be spending the rest of my life.
At the time, I had been reading a lot of self-improvement books (shocker, I know). Books by Sam Harris, Tim Ferriss, and Tony Robbins cluttered my nightstand. I had to do something, and reading those gave me the motivation to finally start making some changes.
I didn’t need any advice to “own the day”. I just needed something to ease my anxiety and get me out of bed. And for once, I wanted to wake up happy, if only that were possible.
Looking at my old morning “routine” — it was a joke
Alarm goes off.
Alarm goes off 9 minutes later.
Alarm goes off 8 minutes later.
After begrudgingly convincing myself I needed to wake up, I’d roll out of bed like a zombie, do bathroom things, shower, and sprint out the door for work.
From the moment I woke up I was fighting the clock, which only made me feel rushed and more anxious. The way I approached my mornings was erratic at best and only fed my existing stress and anxiety.
There was nothing routine about it.
The Benefits of a REAL Morning Routine
Contrary to popular belief, mornings don’t have to suck. Having your own morning routine can massively reduce anxiety (at least it certainly did for me). It’s like the magic pill you wish your doctor would give you, except this actually exists.
Like any curious and internet-savvy person my age, I listened to Tim Ferriss who introduced me to the Five Minute Journal. I figured journaling in the morning would be an easy first change to make, so I went for it…and it worked.