What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you look at a digital device like a phone, laptop or television? Do you think negative thoughts and worry? Those first minutes from sleep to waking are not only a critical time for setting the tone for your day, but it is also a time when we are very open and receptive to influences on our thoughts and feelings.
There are four brain states or frequencies at which the brain operates. When we are engaged and interacting fully with the world around us in full consciousness, we are in Beta. Beta is the state when the mind is at its busiest with the highest number of thoughts occurring. Delta is the deep sleep brain state where the thinking mind is virtually inactive. As we wake up, we pass through the Theta and Alpha brain states. In Theta, we are in a dreamy state where creativity flows, and in the Alpha state, we are good at learning and leaving impressions on our unconscious mind. It is also a very suggestive state like when we are in hypnosis. Interestingly we are often in the Alpha state when we watch TV.
Why is this important in the morning? As you are waking up and find yourself in the Theta state, and your first thoughts are negative, you will be using your creative state to conceive of a negative outcome. If you start your day imagining negative consequences, this lays a poor foundation for the day ahead. As you enter the Alpha state, if you start your day looking at social media, you will be far more easily influenced by advertising, opinions and other triggers meant to grab your attention. Also keep in mind that each of us will fall into the Alpha and Theta states throughout the day, but you can strongly influence your mental and emotional state for your whole day by managing what you are exposed to upon waking.
Most highly successful people have a morning routine. It usually involves getting the body in motion through things like exercise or stretching. I enjoy yoga in the morning, followed by ten to twenty minutes of mediation. These days I also walk my foster dog. Getting in touch with nature is an excellent start to any day, even if you can only look out the window and see grass and trees or if you can walk through a park. Use those first minutes while you are still in bed to imagine the best possible outcome for your day. These are much healthier ways to start your day than reading the news, worrying about problems or checking your social media. Having a morning routine is essential because you can start your mind down the right path while also creating new daily habits which allow for better mental health and greater happiness.