Starting the day right doesn't need to be a struggle. We've been speaking to friends and gathering some advice and ideas about how best to wake up and start the day. Here's our first suggestion.
Journalling / Morning pages.
'Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritise and synchronise the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page ...and then do three more pages tomorrow.'
Morning pages is a practice we came across in The Artist's Way, the infamous self-help book by Julia Cameron. It's essentially a journalling exercise to unblock your mind of intrusive, confusing or crowded thoughts. A stream of unconscious writing - don't think to much about what to write, just let it all flow. Think of the pen as literally extracting thoughts from your mind and alleviating it - creating more space for positive energy to flow and ideas to surface.
Morning pages are not hard to do, and there is no wrong way to do them, but it is important to follow these guidelines:
They should be written longhand (that's with a pen or pencil, not typed).
They need to be written first thing, before you've done anything else. Cameron suggests waking up 20-30 minutes earlier to make time for morning pages.
Your pages should be no less or more than 3 sides of A4 paper. That seems like a lot, but when you're in a stream of unconscious ramblings, writing about literally anything, the space does fill quite quickly!
They should be kept private. Not just from others, but maybe even from yourself. Cameron suggests you don't re-read your morning pages, at least not right away. This is not a rule as such, but by keeping them to yourself - from yourself even - you hold your thoughts in a safe, private domain that is truly yours to be in control of. It's a powerful and liberating place to be.
You'll begin to see the benefits of morning pages even after the first session. You'll feel calmer, more in control. Here's a little extract from a Guardian article by a journalist who was initially skeptical, but now swears by morning pages...
'Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised at how powerful Morning Pages proved, from day one, at calming anxieties, producing insights and resolving dilemmas. After all, the psychological benefits of externalising thoughts via journalling are well-established. And that bleary-eyed morning time has been shown to be associated with more creative thinking: with the brain's inhibitory processes still weak, "A-ha!" moments come more readily.'
Give it a go and let us know how you get on!