A Morning Ritual That Will Transform Your Day

I’ve recently been reading Shawn Achor’s best-selling book The Happiness Advantage. Within it he argues if you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what he calls a “happiness advantage”. Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral, or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise.

That also means, according to Achor, that a more positive brain gives you a competitive advantage at work. He says the brain at this state can increase your productivity by 31 percent.

So what if you could set your whole day to this “happiness advantage” with a simple routine that anybody could do in as little as 23 minutes every morning. Here’s how….

Exercise.

Even if you hate exercise, Achor says that a short burst of cardio activity (jogging, a brisk walk with the dog, etc) works wonders. The reason why exercise is so key to your morning routine is that it literally trains your brain to believe “my behaviour matters,” which then carries into other activities throughout the day.

Time length: 15 minutes

Write down three acts of gratitude.

What three new things are you grateful for? Write it down. For long-term effect, Achor says do it for 21 straight days. He says the reason this is so powerful is you’re training your mind to scan for positives instead of negatives. This activity is the fastest way to teach optimism.

Time length: 2 minutes.

Document one positive experience.

Write in detail about one positive experience you’ve had during the past 24 hours. Bullet point each detail you can remember. According to Achor, this allows your brain to relive the experience, which teaches your brain that the positive behaviour matters.

Time length: 2 minutes.

Express kindness through a text or email.

The most important of the five: Write a positive email or text every morning praising or thanking someone you know. Do it for a different person each day. Achor says people who do this become known as positive leaders with strong social connections – the greatest predictor of long-term happiness.

Time length: 2 minutes.

Meditation.

Breathe and watch your breath go in and out for two minutes. This allows your brain to focus on one thing at a time and be present in the moment. Achor says it will “raise accuracy rates, improve levels of happiness, and drop stress levels.”

Time length: 2 minutes.

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