Three Proven Ways To Kickstart Your Day
When we get a slow start to a day, it’s very difficult to turn things around. However, If you start your day off strong it’s hard to be derailed. Challenges will still arise, shit will still happen— but you will have prepared yourself to deal with 99% of the problems that come up. Whether its a day of work or a day of fun, here are three simple practices to ensure that the day is yours to seize.
Take A Cold Shower
"Wait, cold shower? I thought this is supposed to be how to have a good day?"
You feel that hesitancy? That is you not wanting to be uncomfortable. A cold shower is not going to harm you in any way yet our mind acts like it is dangerous. As creatures of comfort we tend to avoid uncomfortableness at all costs. It’s the reason so many goals are left unfulfilled; as soon as things start to get uncomfortable we give up. This simple practice will give us an edge in dealing with discomfort. It will also help cut through that bastard called ‘hesitancy’ and help achieve that zen state referred to in Japanese as ‘mushin' literally translating into “no mind’. When we stop hesitating we act more boldly and give room for spontaneity and creativity.
But that’s just the start. Cold showers will induce thermogenesis (the metabolic process of burning calories to produce heat) and a multitude of benefits. Our metabolism will ramp up thus increasing our fat burning ability. A huge amount of electrical impulses are sent to our brain releasing a plethora of ‘feel good’ endorphins and neurotransmitters. This translates not only to a calm focused alertness that you will begin to feel moments after your cold shower but improvements in mood and resilience to stress. Cold showers even boost immune function. Your whole shower time does not need to be cold; just start and end cold. Your body will freak out at first and you'll likely let out some funny noises and hoots. You may jolt or start shivering. Stick with it and you'll start to relax. Your skin will get rosy as blood rushes out to warm you up. When you've had enough switch to a hot shower. It will feel better then any hot shower you've had. Do your normal washing and routine, then end on cold briefly to kick that alertness back in. Each day try staying with the cold a bit longer. You'll not only mentally get used to it, your body will get better at reacting to it. Now go enjoy the crisp focus and calm energy you'll soon be having.
Start A Gratitude Practice
This may sound a little woo-woo to some of the more ‘scientific’ types out there, but there are plenty of studies to support the benefits of a gratitude practice. Gratitude practices not only improve happiness, health, self esteem, relationships and sleep, but they improve energy levels and productivity. I like to use an outline called The 5-minute Journal and I find it is a great way to integrate a gratitude practice into your everyday. Like the name implies, it only takes 5 minutes so there is no excuse not to do it. Simply write out three things you are grateful for no matter how big or small. It could be the cup of coffee your drinking or your family, your health—anything that you are grateful for. Try to actually feel the feeling of being grateful and not just simply write it out. After that write three things that would make your day great such as, “If I got this done today, my day would be great.” or “If I called up so and so my day would be great”. Then write out three affirmations in the form of ‘I am’ such as “ I am capable” or I have the energy I need” You can find more detailed information on Tim Ferris's version of using The 5 Minute Journal here.
Eat The Right Breakfast
A traditional western breakfast is very heavy on carbohydrates and sugar. Typical breakfast foods like pancakes, cereals, muffins, breads and fruit while all being delicious, cause a big spike in blood sugar followed by a crash that will surely put a halt on your kick-ass-day. If your’e going to do one meal right, make it breakfast. Ditch the carbs and stick to protein and fat. If you want a more traditional breakfast eggs and bacon is fine. However non traditional foods make great breakfast as well!. At first they may not seem appealing because we are culturally programmed to eating certain styles of breakfast. However, many parts of the world soups, stews, and stir fries are enjoyed early on. Pick a protein add some veggies and you'll not only have more consistent energy but you'll be satiated much longer. Or you can ditch breakfast altogether and experience the many benefits of intermittent fasting. At first it may be counter productive as your body adjusts to skipping its morning meal but once you do you'll find your morning energy levels skyrocket without the burden of digestion in the morning.
Now that you've taken your cold shower, did your gratitude practice and ate a good breakfast (or skipped it) you are ready for whatever the day brings. Whether you're off to work, spending the day with your family or traveling somewhere far, you'll have the edge you need to get more out of your day. All three things could be done easily in well under an hour and by doing them you will seem to have gained time with your new found energy and clarity. If you have time and really want to ramp your morning up, add in a form of exercise (morning sex?!) or movement practice along with ten minutes of meditation and you'll truly be unstoppable. Have a kick-ass-day!