#SWAAYthenarrative

How To Create A Conscious Morning Ritual

7 Min Read
Lifestyle

The morning is a powerful time of day.


It is during the first moments of waking that your mind is shifting from the subconscious stages of sleep into the more conscious state of reality. During this transition, your mind and heart are open, alive, and just waiting to soak up the energy of a new day.

The morning is also a time when your intuition is more readily accessible and your creativity, problem-solving skills, and motivation are at their highest. This is why it is commonly believed that how you spend the first 30 minutes after waking will determine the energy with which you move through the rest of the day.

So what if you could shift a couple things around in your schedule to reclaim some of this sacred space in order to set your mind into a positive state the minute you woke up? What if there were little rituals you could practice that would change your whole outlook of the day so that you could think more clearly and be more productive? Well, a simple morning routine may be just what you need to set the stage to make your whole day more successful.

When you start the day with a conscious and powerful ritual, it can help you to:

  • Feel more positive
  • Manage your energy
  • Tune into your intuition
  • Be more productive
  • Feel more aligned with your purpose
  • Feel motivated and inspired to get things done
  • Be more patient and compassionate to yourself and others

There are no steadfast rules when it comes to creating the perfect morning ritual. However, it is a form of self-care — so make sure to choose the practices that fit your personality and your life, that make you feel good and uplifted, and that you will look forward to doing on a regular basis. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Gratitude

Cultivating gratitude and appreciation is a perfect way to start your day, as it is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those things, small or big, that grace your everyday life.

To achieve this, try reflecting for a moment on the things in your life for which you are most grateful, whatever they may be: family, friends, your comfy bed, a roof above your head, the ability to stand, to breathe, or to move your arms above your head. Or perhaps you feel gratitude for the day ahead and all of the amazing opportunities it holds for you. Whatever it is, be clear and specific. Let that sense of gratitude begin moving into your physical experience, coming into the body, and spreading out through your limbs. Feel the shift in your energy and in your body.

Meditation Or Mindful Breathing

Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health. With science on our side, we have become more aware than ever of the many benefits of meditation — or mindfulness. Some of these benefits include:

  • Reduces stress
  • Controls anxiety
  • Promotes emotional health
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Lengthens attention span
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps control pain
  • Can reduce blood pressure
  • Can help generate kindness

Practicing meditation, or any form of conscious breathing, will help you relax and restore your energy before you're off to the races. I suggest about ten minutes. But even just a few minutes will help you improve your mental and emotional state.

If you're new to meditation, simply start with three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Sit tall and gentle either on the floor, a cushion, or a chair. On the inhale, visualize fresh, new oxygen filling you up. On the exhale, visualize the releasing and letting go of all things that no longer serve you. Or simply breathe and repeat the mantra, "I am healthy, well, and vibrant."

Meditation courses and apps are widely available and there is a great variety of styles from which to choose, each with different strengths and benefits. Trying out a style of meditation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day.

But most of all, be gentle with yourself and try not to judge your experience. Like everything else, mediation is a "practice."

Exercise

Exercise is a great way to get your energy moving and flowing for the day ahead. An early morning workout offers enormous benefits to both your health and your daily schedule. In fact, engaging in morning workouts is often touted as your all-natural cup of coffee — waking your body and preparing your mind.

Movement, in general, is a wonderful source of both physical and mental energy, something many of us need when we start our day. But beyond that, morning exercise has been shown to improve focus and mental abilities all day long. Not only will you feel awake and have more energy after your workout, but your mind will be ready to take on whatever tasks you have in front of you.

Of course, there are many mental health benefits of exercise, and working out first thing helps you experience those benefits right away! Exercise leads to the secretion of neurotransmitters that promote mental clarity and improve attention spans.

Breaking an early morning sweat will also reward you with a rush of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine — feel-good chemicals that will boost your mood and help eliminate stress. Plus, you're guaranteed to feel happier knowing that you started your day doing something amazing for yourself and your health.

A morning exercise routine will even help you get better sleep. Evening exercise can actually have the opposite effect: it can boost the body's temperature and stimulate the body, which can make falling asleep more difficult. Working out in the morning not only improves the length of sleep you will enjoy but also the quality of your sleep by promoting deeper sleep cycles.

If getting up for a morning jog, a HITT routine, or weights is not your style, try yoga, Pilates mat, or even some light stretches. All of these things can be found on my website — there is literally something for everyone! Plus you'll feel a sense of accomplishment, as well as rejuvenation and recharge.

Nourishment

Breakfast is recognized as the most important meal of the day, because it energizes your body, helps improve your concentration and productivity, and boosts your metabolism, keeping your blood sugar levels stable throughout your entire day. Eating breakfast is also associated with a lower incidence of heart disease and diabetes.

Research shows that breakfast-eaters have increased energy levels, higher consumption of important vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, and are more likely to be within their ideal weight range compared to breakfast-skippers. Studies also show that eating breakfast reduces the risk of cravings and overeating later in the day.

But probably the most appealing benefit is that it jump-starts your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.

I suggest eating within two hours of waking to keep your blood sugar levels steady and to provide you with essential nutrients to kick-start your body, mind, and spirit.

So what are the best breakfasts to reap all of these benefits? A healthy breakfast should be balanced and provide a mix of protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats to keep you satiated and fueled up for your day. Here are some of my favorites.

Studies have also shown that eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels and lower stress levels, improving our mood and making us happier! So the next time you start to rush out the door in the morning without something to eat, consider that without breakfast you are essentially running on empty, like trying to start a car with no gas. On the other hand, a healthy morning meal can give you energy, satisfy your appetite, and set the stage for healthy eating habits all day long.

In Summary

A morning ritual is an investment in yourself and a commitment to improvement. If you don't take some time in the morning, you may find you've put your personal well-being on the backburner for the whole day. But starting the morning with self-care, love, and acceptance can help shift our mental dialogue and allow space for us to truly flourish in our daily life.

By using the morning to be fully present, compassionate, and alive in your body, mind, and spirit, you can consciously form positive habits that will significantly transform and empower your life.

5 Min Read
Self

The Psychological Power Of Clothes

She walks into a room ready for her presentation. She wants to land this new client and has worked weeks on it. She heads to the 35th floor of the tallest building on the block knowing she has documentation that is sure to impress. The conference room has a 20-foot long table surrounded by executives in blue suits, button-down shirts, pencil skirts, and blazers.

At this point, she realizes she didn't take into consideration the other important component of her presentation... she is not dressed appropriately.

Is it true that there is power in clothing? Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I believe that clothing can greatly impact first impressions and make a lasting impact on anyone you interact with. Like it or not, people will judge you on how you look and they will make both conscious and subconscious decisions about you based on what you're wearing… Is she trustworthy? Is she the expert we need? Will she fit in our corporate culture?

Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive? For me, the answer is a resounding yes.

After all, if you were hiring a financial advisor, and one walked in with a pair of jeans and the other in a pair of trousers and blazer, who would you trust with your money? Even if you don't realize what you're doing when you interact with people, there may be more going on beneath the surface. It's something to think about for sure.

Here's another example, let's say you want to hire a party planner for an event. You meet with the first candidate, and she is wearing a wrinkled shirt and her fingernails are chipping and half-painted. Whereas candidate number two walks in and has on a pencil skirt, pumps, and silk blouse. Who do you think would pay more attention to the details associated with your party?

In 2019, WWD wrote about the psychological effects clothing has on a person:

It is said that clothing is what makes and defines a person. What you wear tells others what you are and makes a statement about your taste, character and individuality. It gives an insight into your nature, whether you are casual or formal, playful or serious, cool or just composed. Whether you are attending a job interview, out on a date or just strutting by the beach, your apparel tells us so much about you at a simple glance.

We know that it takes 5-7 seconds for a person to subconsciously form an opinion about you. Our eyes take in how you look; after all, what you're wearing will influence how you are perceived. How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?

How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?

And it goes way beyond the external. There is scientific data that shows how an individual feels differently when dressed in a variety of styles. In an article from Research Gate, they found that, "Fashion choices can affect both self-image, the impression that you convey to others and in turn, the way in which people behave towards you."

Have you ever heard of the term "enclothed cognition"? It refers to the phenomenon in which people tend to adopt the traits and properties they associate with the clothes they wear. In a study on the psychology of clothing, that same article as above reports that, "Participants judged women to be more forceful in job interviews and were more likely to recommend them for hiring when they were dressed in a more masculine style compared with a more feminine style," and that "Both men and women are attracted to stylish clothing that fits them well, makes them feel well-dressed and looks current."

On some level, we may all agree with that statement.

Naturally, as a personal stylist, I am a true believer in the power of clothes. I have seen my clients' exhilaration as they take in their transformation, brought about by an outfit, a new style, and clothes that look incredible on them. I have also witnessed physical changes like their facial expressions, huge smiles, laughter, sparkling eyes, and even a change in the way they walk. It's almost like there has been a shift in attitude toward their inner beauty, which has increased because they feel and look amazing and confident.

Although most of us are no longer strutting our way to the boardroom, the psycholigcal power of clothing is still necessary and relevant, especially now that we're confined to our home offices. Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry. Not only will your peers perceieve you as more professional and more put-together, but I am sure you will also feel better, be more alert, and have more energy.

Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry.

I'm not saying you need to look like a superstar every second of every day. However, I want you to think about the positive impact well-fitting, stylish clothes can have on both others' perceptions of you as well as your inner-confidence and intrinsic behavior.