Recently we have highlighted the impact that stress can have on our breathing pattern as well as our movement, but how do we effectively manage stress? This is the first in a 4 part series emphasizing specific behaviors that can optimize stress management. In this post we will discuss the importance of establishing a morning ritual to help set up a day for success. This will be followed by sleep optimization, nutritional support, and concluded with the benefits of consistent exercise.
Let’s jump into learning the importance of a morning ritual. This will be the easiest of the four pillars to implement into life immediately.
What is a morning ritual?
First, I believe that we have to define, ritual. A ritual, typically associated with religious beliefs, can be viewed secularly as an order of actions arising from convention or habit to support a goal.(1) It is likely that most, if not all, of us already have some form of a ritual each morning. But is it setting a foundation for success? The key component of a ritual should be the freedom of thought.(1) We should not have to think about what our next action will be. This is wasted energy and will ultimately lead to fatigue during the day. The brain is only about 2% of our bodyweight, yet it consumes an astounding 25% of our glucose energy supply.(2,3) In other words, if we reduce decision-making fatigue we can reduce the onset of early morning stress.
Why have a morning ritual?
By reducing morning stress we in turn allow our actions to become more goal oriented whether in regards to movement health, career health, or family health. I have noticed since implementing my own morning ritual I have been able to restore what I call my daily-margin. If we think about the margin in a book or on a piece of paper, we recognize there is only a finite amount of space. Now apply this to a day where in today’s society we are jam packed from sunrise to sunset with checklists for our checklists. Ever heard there isn’t enough time in the day? There is no margin. The words we are writing on our piece of paper is our daily stress. We can only accumulate so much each day before we are maxed out and start developing health complications. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation. When stressed we are less adaptable when faced with stressors that actually matter. Implementation of a morning ritual can be our first offensive tactic to reduce stress at the front end of the day and allow us to tolerate stress in a better way.(4)
What is my morning ritual?
- 4:05AM Wake up and drink a bottle of water
- 4:10AM Make a cup of Neuro Coffee (best coffee available, no joke! Check it out.)
- 4:15-4:45AM Read daily bible scripture and meditate on the day’s teachings.
- 4:45-5:00AM Daily Movement Hygiene
- 5:05AM Make wife coffee and leave for gym
- 5:15-6:30AM Workout
- 6:30-7:00AM Eat, shower, and get to work
What is your morning ritual?
Stay Well, Stay Strong,
Hartman, Bill, ALL GAIN, NO PAIN: The Over-40 Man's Comeback Guide to Rebuild Your Body After Pain, Injury, or Physical Therapy. William Hartman. 2017.
Kuzawa CW, Chugani HT, Grossman LI, et al. Metabolic costs and evolutionary implications of human brain development. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014;111(36):13010-5.
Esch T, Stefano GB. The neurobiology of stress management. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2010;31(1):19-39.
Swenson R. Margin, Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. Tyndale House; 2014.