Similar to Dr. Iwanicki, Dr. Mike Varshavski makes proper nutrition a priority at the start of his day and uses many of the same foods and nutrients. “Proteins and complex carbohydrates such as those that come from eggs and oatmeal are a great way to start your day and leave you feeling full,” says Dr. Mike. Prior to eating his breakfast, Dr. Mike first drinks a glass of lemon water upon waking to aid in detoxification. The next thing he does is make his bed as a practice for task completion. Completing even simple tasks first thing in the morning has shown to have a powerful effect on one’s ability to stick with and complete more arduous tasks later on throughout the day. Next, he takes a cold shower for alertness and positive hormonal shifts, followed by a small amount of movement exercise akin to a warmup. Finally and just prior to his morning meal, he takes a walk outside with his dog, being sure to leave all devices and technology at home. This he does as his form of meditation to spend time outdoors before the hectic day begins.
Before leaving you with some key principles learned from these physicians collectively, let’s take a look at an additional approach and see what Doctor of Divinity, Dr. Erin Fall Haskell advocates as her 5 key elements of a nurturing morning ritual: While the rituals mentioned thus far emphasize mainly external practices (e.g. exercise, task completion, nutrition & supplementation), this one is focused almost entirely on internal practices such as meditation, visualization, affirmation and gratitude.
Dr. Erin starts each day with a gratitude journal in which she writes down the first things that come to mind for which she feels a strong sense of appreciation. “Directing one’s attention toward all of the many positive aspects of life such as love, beautify, family or friendship is a great way to begin the day by teaching your subconscious mind to focus on the what you DO have as opposed to areas you may feel a sense of lacking”, says Dr. Erin. Next, she performs a brief bout of movement to get blood and oxygen flowing throughout the body before sitting in meditation and observing the stillness and calmness within. Directly following her meditation, Dr. Erin will visualize what she wants to have happen that day or sometimes simply use a visualization to place herself in a state where she feels uplifted, recharged, connected and grateful. The fifth and final piece of her practice is what she calls prayer. Practically speaking, she recites positive affirmations and incantations to mobilize energy and begin the process of actualizing that which she visualized in the previous step. With that as her preparation, she is now ready to go to work on her “one thing” or single most important task of the day and follow it through to completion.
Creating your own winning morning ritual
Despite the differences in specific activities of those rituals we observed above, there are three fundamental elements, each with an important function, that emerge as keystones for a winning morning ritual. They are:
- Meditation (to calm the mind and let go of the previous day)
- Visualization (to identify and create the day’s outcome or intention)
- Actualization (to begin the day with achievement and habituate success)
First, Meditation. Meditation has seen a huge resurgence in popular culture, and for good reason. Creation of anything we’re after in life, any goal we want to achieve, or result we wish to manifest, begins in the mind. If the mind is not calm and capable of focusing, then the act of creation is an uphill battle. But with thoughts at bay and brain function optimized, the mind becomes a clean and clutter-free canvas from which to initiate the next phase of creation.
Visualization. Now that the mind is calm and physiology is approaching a healthy baseline after some sort of meditation or focusing activity, it’s the perfect time to align mental processes with one’s higher Self desires or sense purpose. Visualization can consist of creating a mental image of a result that you wish to create, or it could be the summoning of a feeling such as enthusiasm, that you wish to experience when a certain goal is accomplished. You could visualize yourself having already achieved your desired outcomes, or you might wish to simply imagine yourself with a certain level of vitality and positivity, the feeling of which you aim to produce during this time. When you allow yourself to jump into and fully inhabit the object or outcome of your desire, you set up a powerful neural network that will not only keep you focused on that outcome, but also signal your subconscious mind that you absolutely will obtain it. Your actions will follow.