I'm a huge morning person, and I finally have a somewhat-consistent morning routine. I wake up, make my bed, play some nature sounds or soft cafe music, drink my coffee, and there's more, but I'm getting to that later! Oh, it's so blissful. Watching the sunrise, being awake in a quiet house, starting the day of calmly.
It wasn't always this way.
I learned a lot during my first year of college. One of them was just how valuable mornings are. I'd wake up at about 11 am, sometimes later, groggily roll out of bed, complain about how tired I was, then I'd shuffle to whatever I needed to do. I'd stay up until 3 am, laughing with friends over who-knows-what, and while I had a lot of fun and wouldn't trade such an experience for the world, having this grumpy, I-hate-mornings, "night-owl" routine certainly wasn't doing any good for my mental health, productivity, positivity and more. Especially because I had morning classes!
It all started when my life coach had recommended that I begin journaling. I was always stressed, under-going many mental burn-outs (because, you know, college), often feeling irritable, and I certainly wasn't achieving as much as I should, even though I already felt too burnt-out to do anything else. She said journaling would help clear my mind of unwanted clutter, as well as have a place to go to dump out my stress.
So, I agreed with her -- journaling sounded simple enough, and meditation, affirmations and other techniques hadn't been working. I just had way too much on my mind 24/7.
After a few days of writing down random thoughts into my journal and thinking, "How is this helping me?", I stumbled upon a blog post by The Little Coffee Fox, a blog I enjoy, which went into depth about this journaling practice called Morning Pages. In your Morning Pages, you journal for 3 pages in the morning. No journaling prompts, no add-ons, just train of thought. And apparently journaling in the morning is better for your health because your mind is fuzzy and un-filtered and you're more likely to write out what you're truly feeling and science!
You can find that blog post here.
I decided to try it. I got up about 30 minutes earlier than usual, would journal for just 10 minutes with my coffee in the dim lighting of my dorm, and then I would start my day. After a few weeks of trying it out, adding things to it, making it my own practice I formed not only a journaling routine but a personal Morning Pages routine. In the past four months that I have been doing this every day, my life has changed drastically, for the better.
At first, I'd just journal. It was hard. I didn't always have a lot to say, therefore I just wouldn't journal that day. As usual, my journaling practice got messy and I skipped many random days. Even though in Morning Pages, you're not supposed to filter your words, you're not supposed to write elegantly and artistically. You're supposed to write whatever comes to your mind. You're just supposed to go.
Then, I stumbled upon another blog post by another blog I love, The Blissful Mind, and she talked all about her morning routine. She would meditate, write down three goals, and three self-beliefs (basically affirmations), and I decided that these were great ideas and added them to my Morning Pages.
You can check out that blog post here.
Before I really get into this post, I want to say that I've been wanting to make a post about this for some time now, as I think Morning Pages are something everyone should start doing. But, because Morning Pages are so personal to me, I felt weird sharing it. I also felt, to some degree, that I hadn't changed quite enough to prove that this actually works. I've gone back and forth for a bit, and have finally decided to share my exact morning journaling practice. Because it does work, if you're willing to allow it. My Morning Pages were exactly what I needed to get my life together. My Morning Pages routine
I wake up at various times during the day. It's summer, so I can sleep in on occasion, but I also work 4 times a week and sometimes work out in the morning. I aim to wake up around 7:30 am every day, but the time I do my routine varies.
The first thing I do is drink some water and make my bed -- I have to be fully prepared for my Morning Pages. I grab some yummy coffee, toss up my messy bed hair, and sit at my desk with my journal, which by now has nearly been filled (never have I filled a journal before)!
I set a timer for 15 minutes, and play some soft music. Sometimes I write for an hour, sometimes I write for five minutes. It really just depends on what I have planned that day and how much I have to say.
I write about how I'm feeling, clearing tension, taking notes, understanding myself. Sometimes I write a sentence, sometimes I write three pages, it's whatever my mind feels necessary. I always aim for 2 pages of train-of-thought writing. I write about my plans for the day, how I slept, what I did the night before, whether I'm super tired or reasonably awake. When I feel refreshed, like I've let most everything out, I move on.
Next, I list:
- 3 things I'm grateful for and explain why. For example, "I am grateful for my job because it pays for my apartment and other fun things, and it gives me real-life experience." explain why you're grateful so you're not just rushing through it. gratitude is the most refreshing part of my journaling practice, honestly.
- 3 goals I have. These vary each day. some days I want to be a successful blogger, other days I want to go to Paris. sometimes I just want to find mental clarity once and for all. they're all big, and they're always changing based on how I'm feeling. i mean, they don't vary too much, but we're always changing. so do our goals.
- 3 affirmations (or more if wanted) that I feel relate to my goals. Y'all should know by now that I love my affirmations. The best thing is to write down the same affirmations every day, which should relate to your three goals. An example of an affirmation I write down every day is, "I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing." For more on affirmations, read my post 20 affirmations to say every day.
- 3 things I want to get done today/my goals for the day. Of course, I rewrite these in my to-do list in my bullet journal, but this is just a way for me to get my mind organized before the day. Then, I write some more, if my mind feels up to it, or I don't. Regardless, the next thing I do is meditate for 5-10 minutes, then do some tapping/say my affirmations out loud. Lastly, I add to my bullet journal, then start my day!
How morning pages have helped me
Clearing my mind before my busy day has been a huge blessing this summer. I used to wake up cranky and would start my entire day on the wrong foot. But now, regardless of how I feel, I get excited to wake up, drink my coffee, and journal. I release anything that's bothering me, or anything that's giving me anxiety. Or I just pump myself up. Sometimes I don't realize something is even on my mind until I write it out.
Since adding Morning Pages to my morning routine, and just beginning a morning routine in general, I begin my days happier, and in a clearer state of mind. I've also seen my goals materialize before my eyes, my anxiety fading away and being replaced with a clarity I've always wanted. I've noticed that by stepping back and writing about the things you want in life rather than working yourself to death pursuing them is much more beneficial.
There are so many ways in which Morning Pages has helped me: I've become a more positive, relaxed person, and feel like for once in quite a long time, I understand myself. I know what I want to do in life (sort of). I've also learned to love and truly appreciate mornings!
It is actually proven that journaling every day can give you a clear state of mind, reduce stress, lead you to understand yourself, and will also help you to quickly come to conclusions and resolve issues in healthier ways. For more factual information about journaling, read this article here.
So, obviously my journaling practice is my best friend. It's grounding, has helped me in various ways, and has lead to being overall, a better person. Maybe journaling isn't something you do, but I do hope this post has somewhat inspired you to start a journaling practice.
It's funny, because I used to go to others for help (and I still do), but now, I go to myself, because I understand myself, and I know how to help myself, and I know that the only thing in the world that can make you happy is you.
Do you have any sort of morning routine? Or, do you journal? Tell me about it in the comments!