Undoubtedly a good morning routine is important to a successful day. But it's easy to forget that a good morning is often contingent on a solid ending to the day before. Here are 5 easy steps to end your evening with excellence.
Prepare a Hot Drink
Hot drinks are a meditation. You can't gulp down a hot cup of tea. Well, you can, but I don't recommend it if you'd like to avoid a hospital visit. Drinking something that forces you to slow down and take it sip by sip allows your mind to calm down and process the work day. What you actually decide to drink is up to you. It's generally a good idea to avoid caffeine before bed, but there are plenty of great herbal teas out there. Some people swear by warm milk. I personally drink 2 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 Tbsp of Raw Honey in roughly 8oz of hot water before bed. Just choose something you enjoy, there are no right or wrong answers.
Read Some Fiction
Reading before bed is a great way to get away from screens. It's so easy to get caught watching "just one more" episode of something on Netflix or fall into a clickhole on the phone. Melatonin, which helps us sleep, is suppressed by the blue light given off by electronic screens. A good book occupies the mind without the danger of being constantly distracted by something new. Fiction is best because it turns off your problem solving brain and prepares you for more relaxing thoughts. Studies have also shown that reading fiction increases social skills and empathy. So get your #literaryswag on!
Taking a hot shower (or bath if you prefer) serves 2 purposes. First, it changes your physical state radically. The best way to change your mental state is to change your physical state. This can be accomplished through changing your breathing pattern or getting your heart pumping with a workout (or more amorous activity). But nothing is quite as reliable as a hot shower for shifting gears quickly.
The second reason to take a hot shower is that studies have shown that hot baths on a regular schedule before bed releases melatonin, which as I said earlier, helps you sleep.
If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this. I've been practicing this for the last 6 months and it has dramatically increased my level of fulfillment on a regular basis. It's also the easiest practice to adopt. I like to practice this while I'm in the shower but you can do it whenever.
Step 1: Place Your Hands On Your Heart
Step 2: Think about a time you were grateful to be alive. Remember the details about it. What were you thinking? What was the temperature? What did it smell like? Who was with you?
Step 3: Breathe in this memory. Let yourself stay in that space for a little while.
That's it. You can repeat this with a few memories or just the first one, it's up to you. Don't feel pressure to think up new memories, but you may be surprised at how many moments begin to pop in your head if you let them.
The final step to put you into a good state of mind to head to bed and prepare for an awesome day: Self-Affirmation. Affirming qualities that you would like to possess is a great way to show yourself some love while also encouraging yourself to be better every day. There's a myriad of possible affirmations you can find out there on the internet. You can even write your own. I personally use a short series of affirmations from Zig Ziglar.
Zig Ziglar Step #1: For thirty days, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, by yourself, in front of a mirror, stand up straight, square your shoulders, look yourself in the eye and quietly, firmly say in the first-person present-tense:
"I, ________, am a person of integrity, with a good attitude and specific goals.
- I have a high energy level, am enthusiastic, and take pride in my appearance and in what I do.
- I have a sense of humor, lots of faith, wisdom, and the vision, empathy and courage to use my talents effectively.
- I have character, and am knowledgeable. My convictions are strong and I have a healthy self-image, a passion for what is right, and a solid hope for the future.
- I am an honest, sincere, and hard-working person.
- I am tough, but fair and sensitive.
- I am disciplined, motivated, and focused.
- I am a good listener and patient, but take decisive action.
- I am bold and confident, yet humble.
- I am an encourager, a good finder, and a forgiving person.
- I am a student, a teacher, and a self-starter.
- I am obedient, loyal, responsible and dependable.
- I have a servant's heart, am ambitious and a team-player.
- I am intelligent, competent, persistent and creative.
- I am health-conscious, "balanced" and "clean."
- I am flexible, punctual and thrifty.
- I am an honorable person who is truly grateful for the opportunity life has given me. These are the qualities of the winner I was born to be and I fully intend to develop these marvelous qualities with which I have been entrusted.
AT NIGHT: [Tonight I am going to sleep wonderfully well. I will dream powerful, positive dreams. I will awaken energized and refreshed, and tomorrow is going to be MAGNIFICENT!"]
IN THE MORNING: [These are the qualities of the winner I was born to be. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and it is WONDERFUL!]
As always use whatever works for you.
So experiment with a few of these tips. Keep what works, toss what doesn't. Sleep well, we'll see you in the morning!