For whatever reason, over the past year or so, I've found myself grow increasingly obsessed with morning routines.
May be it's the type-A, 'must-plan-everything' in me... Or may be it was reading Daily Rituals by Mason Currey.
Or may be it was the rest of the internet sharing their own morning routines and habits that drove me to it, via osmosis.
But I've only recently stopped to think about what the REAL benefits are of having a morning routine.
Ok, so far we know:
• It removes decision making (which saves some of your will power reserves for later in the day)
• It enforces habits that bring us, ultimately, better health (eg. drinking water, exercising, meditating...)
• It establishes a routine (humans crave routine after all)
But one unexpected bonus benefit I've been seeing is this:
A morning routine is confidence boosting.
Now this hasn't come from certain parts of my morning routine (unless brushing my teeth suddenly brushes away my camera shyness) but I've introduced certain habits designed to increase my confidence.
This is the breakdown of my current morning routine (with explanations about why these things boost confidence... #science)
5:00 - Alarm goes off
5:10 - Yoga
How does throwing shapes on the mat boost confidence?
Well, for one we know that active movement itself releases happy chemicals in the brain (endorphins) - and I for one find it pretty hard to feel sad and confident at the same time. So it lays the groundwork for a feel-good day.
Plus, holding my foot up in the air for five breaths without falling on my face definitely fills me with a sense of achievement that boosts my confidence.
5:40 - Meditation
I think the best explanation of why meditation can help with confidence is from Norman Fischer:
When you are truly self-confident, you are flexible with regard to ego: you can pick up ego when necessary, but you can also put it down when necessary in order to learn something completely new through listening.
... That picking up/putting down your ego part? That's what meditation gives you - and that in itself is incredibly useful when battling the ego at times of low self-confidence.
There are some guided meditations to help with confidence specifically. I'd recommend having a search around to find what best resonates with you, but I've enjoyed this one.
6:00 - Drink a pint of water, whilst journalling
I doubt the water alone is doing much for my confidence, but the journalling certainly helps.
I write about a few different things:
(1) Two things I'm currently grateful for
In general, gratitude, when heartfelt and genuine, does lead to a more positive outlook on life. In my experience, being grateful for one external thing (eg. my comfy mattress) and one thing that is about myself (eg. my ability to emphasise with others) is key: I remember to be appreciative of what I have as well as WHO I AM. That one can be harder at times when we have low self-confidence, but the more I practise it, the easier it becomes.
(2) Something I'm grateful for that I don't currently have
This is where this post levels up it's hokey-factor. So, if you've watched The Secret or have any interest in the 'Law of Attraction', you'll probably understand where I'm coming from.
But if you're a bit more skeptical (like I was not long ago) here's the general idea: by being grateful NOW about what we're shooting for (eg. HAVING the new job we're currently trying to get) increases our chances of following through and making it happen.
Basically, training ourselves to have a 'can do' attitude (the 17 year old in me wants to kick myself while I type this) can be a huge confidence booster when we need it most.
6:15 - Positive affirmations... in the mirror
Continuing our travels down woo-woo lane, we come to positive affirmations.
I see affirmations (positive self-talk, expressions like 'I am...' or 'I can...') as a way of brain-training. So, much like working out to build up our muscle strength; practising positive affirmations build our brain to see us in a more... positive light.
I also find the sheer act of talking to myself in the mirror every morning a HUGE confidence booster - because it feels totally silly at first - and embarrassment is a definitely a confidence killer.
Once it stops feeling silly, you'll realise just how much your confidence has grown.
6:20 - COFFEE
Coffee has been clinically proven to increase conf... OK, just kidding. But: coffee is definitely the 'reward' at the end of my morning routine that gets me through the first lot.
Having a mini-reward like this is great for developing new habits, so if you are considering implementing any of these and find yourself struggling: I recommend ending your routine with a 'treat'.
Certain smells can also act as triggers (for the non-caffeine drinkers out there) so lighting a scented candle, some incense, burning some essential oils, can all act as positive triggers.
We can't all wake up feeling full of confidence every day.
But we can take some time to carve out a morning routine that actually boosts confidence, and sets us up to face just about anything.
Cat Rose helps creatives grow their confidence and teaches how to get their work found and shared online. Learn more here.