Can you guess what the world’s greatest thought leaders and change makers have in common? They believe in the power of a morning routine, because the facts are simple: How you wake up sets the tone for the rest of the day.
While these leaders have different self-care habits, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama make time each morning to bring their minds and body into balance. For Oprah, it’s meditation. For Tony, it’s a cold shower (57 degrees Fahrenheit!), and for Barack, it’s cardio or strength training.
Another popular morning activity is journaling. Writing can be a very therapeutic daily habit and provide greater mental clarity. If you’re looking to boost your productivity and mood, morning pages are highly recommended by health and self-improvement experts.
What are morning pages?
The phrase “morning pages” was coined by author Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. Morning pages are stream of consciousness longhand writing, done first thing in the morning. It's daily writing, and committing to three full pages each day.
You can write down anything that crosses your mind. There isn’t a right or wrong way to write morning pages. Don’t over-think it — this is intended for your eyes only!)
This exercise only takes 15 to 20 minutes. Writing pages of longhand will help clarify your thoughts and prioritize what’s important.
Sometimes, we have nagging thoughts below the surface affecting us in ways we don’t realize, also known as our inner critic. Writing morning pages is a powerful daily practice. It cleanses the mind and frees up space to be more productive.
Why are morning pages important?
According to a recent study, the average person has 6,000 thoughts per day. Yep, there’s a lot going on up there. And not surprisingly, most of those thoughts are repetitive.
This is why journaling is one of the best ways to raise your self-awareness. Over time, you’ll start to see a thinking pattern emerge in your journal entries, which will provide deeper insight into who you are.
"Think of your morning pages as a chance to get to know yourself better in a compassionate and introspective way,” says Wellness Mentor, Nicole Catenazzi. “Morning pages help you do an uncensored and unedited brain dump of your inner dialogue.”
Many people don’t realize how toxic their thinking can be, and how it can negatively impact their health. That’s why it’s important to take back control. By changing your thoughts and developing a practice of morning pages, you can change your life.
“All of the negative thoughts, random ideas or limiting beliefs need someplace to go, otherwise, they preoccupy your mind and can cause you to repeat unconscious habits or unhelpful patterns,” Catenazzi explains. “Morning pages can help make you more self-aware; connecting you with your intuition and stimulating creativity."
Don't be afraid to unleash your inner creative genius! For many people, their creative selves are right below the surface just waiting to be discovered. Once you finish the first page, it will start to flow.
As an added bonus, morning pages not only help clear away the mental cobwebs, they can make you a better writer.
How can you make make morning pages part of your routine?
Catenazzi recommends the following tips help incorporate morning pages to your daily routine:
Set your alarm 20-minutes earlier than you’d normally get up. This will help prevent procrastination.
Choose a quiet place to write from and develop an inviting ritual around the practice. Perhaps you light a candle, make a cup of tea or take a few deep breaths before you start. Avoid social media or doing any other activities before you start writing. Mindfulness is an important part of this process.
Decide whether you’ll write for a set period of time or a set number of pages. 15-minutes of stream of consciousness writing will generate approximately 2-3 pages of writing.
Write whatever comes to mind and write continuously until you’ve finished. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, sentence structure, or even if it makes sense! And try not to take your pen off the page — if you get stuck or feel like you’ve got nothing left to write about, repeat the previous word or phrase over and over again until something new pops into your mind
Once you’re finished doing morning pages, put your journal away and try not to re-read the pages. Let it rest, as it is.
Try committing to doing the morning pages every day for at least one week. Make it part of your to-do list. Be mindful of how it influences the rest of your day, and if you find the practice helpful, continue it week after week.
The next time you're sipping your cup of coffee in the morning, pick up a pen and paper. Free writing is good for the soul. You'll be surprised how this simple new habit will transform your mental health and well-being. Happy writing!
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