Miracle mornings and masterpiece days

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On the one hand, we all want to be happy. On the other hand, we all know the things that make us happy. But we don’t do those things. Why? Simple. We are too busy. Too busy doing what? Too busy trying to be happy.

~ Matthew Kelly, Bestselling Author

What is a miracle morning?

Well, it was maybe first referred to by Hal Elrod.

At age 20, Hal Elrod was hit head on by a drunk driver at 70 mph. He was dead for 6 minutes and doctors told his parents that if Hal ever came out of his coma he would have permanent brain damage and may never walk again.

After 6 days of fighting for his life, Hal proved that we all have the ability to overcome any obstacle and create the life of our dreams.

Not only did he walk, he became an ultra-marathon runner, hall of fame business achiever, international Keynote Speaker, Success Coach, husband, father, hip-hop recording artist, and multiple time #1 bestselling author of “The Miracle Morning”.

Hopefully that’s enough to subscribe to the concept of Carpe Diem, as the Roman’s put it, or – Seize the Day.

Hal recommends the following each morning-

  • Silence
  • Affirmations
  • Visualisation
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Scribing

Silence

It’s a scientific fact that with daily meditation you can train or retrain and grow your prefrontal cortex in just two weeks. This is the part of the brain that manages and modulates our limbic brain and our emotional responses. It’s the part of the brain where our fear originates and if we strengthen it we can learn to override automatic behaviours and habits that cause us pain and distress in life.

Wow! All that from just sitting still and silently for a few minutes per day. Maybe I can start to understand why or how the Dalai Lama is the person he is because he must be the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the prefrontal cortex world.

However, like your muscles, or brain muscle also starts to degenerate again after just 72 hours without training. So keep it up, every day, day in and day out to see extraordinary results.

Affirmations

As you think, so you shall be. The greatest minds in the world, including Einstein, all stated that it is your thoughts that create your reality. Daily affirmations are a powerful way of creating your reality.

They keep you focused on what is important in your life. They keep you on target for your goals and stop you drifting off so much in the wrong direction. This is very easy to do in today’s world with so many distractions and clever marketing and advertising that can lure you in the wrong direction with false promises. That sounds a bit like a religious sermon, but you get what I mean.

Research also shows that daily affirmations can lead to a healthier heart, reduce your risk of stroke and help you maintain a positive state of mind. The research presented that optimistic individuals were 50% less likely to experience a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke, compared with people who had a less optimistic outlook.

50% – Amazing

Bolstering psychological strengths rather than simply mitigating psychological deficits may improve cardiovascular health.
Dr. Laura Kubzansky, Associate Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard

In the research press release the researchers go on to say:

The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive.

The most famous affirmation and the one I started with and still use-

Every Day In Every Way I Am Getting Better And Better.

This is credited as being created by Emile Coue in the nineteenth century and it is said that he cured many patients using this one simple affirmation.

Visualization

david-michelangeloVisualisation is one of my favourite exercises, yet it can be the most difficult for people as it can take a bit of practice to master. Also, it should be pointed out that solely focusing on visualising the end result of a goal can actually be detrimental to success and happiness, even if the immediate result seems enjoyable. You can read more on the science behind that researched by Gabriel Oettingen and her W.O.O.P. Method.

I’ve written quite an in-depth instructional guide on visualisation here too.

But to give you a flavour of how important visualisation is, just imagine, or visualise if you will, Michelangelo just before he created David. Now, had he not visualised in his mind exactly what that sculpture would look like finished, how do you think it might have turned out? And if you think his genius was something he was born with, think again. Michelangelo spent years honing his craft and studying as an apprentice with masters before he created David.

Visualisation is a skill that you develop and grow and requires effort every day, but the rewards can be amazing.

Exercise

It’s like taking a little bit of Ritalin and little bit of Prozac. And a free and healthy option at that.

What’s the science behind exercise? I think this one should sum it up for most people when it comes to the reasons to exercise every day. And yes, I really mean every day. I used to be of the school of thinking that we need a few days of rest. However, if training 7 days a week is good enough for Michael Phelps, who is one of the most successful athlete ever, it’s good enough for me. OK, I don’t train as hard as him of course, but a commitment to train every day is much easier than trying to negotiate with myself which days and how days many I should have off and possibly letting 1 or 2 days off turn into 3 or 4 or maybe a few weeks or months, which I have fallen foul of in the past. Does that ring any bells with you?

So, back to the science and a bit about exercise and health from John J. Ratey, MD who is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an internationally recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry who has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles and established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection.

I tell people that going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because, like the drugs, exercise elevates these neurotransmitters. Exercise balances neurotransmitters – along with the rest of the neurochemicals in the brain. Keeping your brain in balance can change your life.

~ John J. Ratey, MD

You really need to read just this one page on exercise from one of his websites:

Worldwide studies and science support exercise for relieving symptoms related to ADD, OCD, anxiety, depression, addiction and aging

Reading

Well, enough said on this subject I hope. The only point to make is to make it a daily habit. Reading and writing were the domain of only a privileged few until only a few centuries ago and now we all have the amazing ability to learn anything we want, especially since the internet makes knowledge so accessible.

Scribing

Scribing, or writing in this case really refers to keeping a daily journal or diary of your life. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the greatest minds of today and in history have kept diaries. Why, we should ask. It can’t just be for fun or narcissism. Is it because their thoughts and lives are so much greater than our own that they are worthy of being recorded?

Well, I’ve discovered the benefits of keeping a journal or diary and I am a big fan. I use my diary in conjunction with a survey I take of myself and record three times a day, every day. My alarm goes off three times a day and I open an app I created (actually it’s just a link to a Google Form. Instructions on how to create it here) that asks me questions about different elements of my mental, physical and emotional well-being. The extra benefit with the diary is I can look back on my past days/weeks/months and see if there was a drop in my scores and if so I can go to that day/week in my diary and read about was happening in my life at that point.

I’ve discovered that drops in my scores are often linked to very specific events that I would probably have been unaware of at the time and I wouldn’t have been able to remember later if it wasn’t for having recorded them in my diary.

Another recommendation is to not only verbalise your attitudes of gratitude every day, but also to write your gratitudes down daily. Here’s what the good folk at the University of California, Berkeley have to say on it:

Recently scientists have begun to chart a course of research aimed at understanding gratitude and the circumstances in which it flourishes or diminishes. They’re finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
  • Higher levels of positive emotions;
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness;
  • Acting with more generosity and compassion;
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated.

And there is even more research from many different universities that show that writing can help you in a whole host of ways. Here are just a few –

  • Participants writing about “imaginary” traumas also showed improvements in physical health (Greenberg et al., 1996).
  • Writing about the “worries” relating to an exam before it takes place significantly improves test scores, especially for those who are normally anxious about exams ( Ramirez & Beilock, 2011).
  • Participants who wrote about their relationship were significantly more likely to still be dating their romantic partners 3 months later (Slatcher & Pennebaker, 2006).

Did you imagine even for a second that daily journaling could have such beneficial effects on your health?

I use iDoneThis to keep a track of my personal and business life. It’s free, easy to use and has some good extra features. There is also a journaling movement and a Centre for Journal Therapy which you might find interesting and get some more tips.

The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.

~Arianna Huffington

What did I do this morning?

  • Woke up before my alarm clock
  • Visualised in bed
  • Stretched a bit
  • Meditated for 45 minutes
  • Had a fruit shake
  • Stretched for 45 minutes
  • Wrote my journal
  • Worked on personal stuff for a while
  • Went for a 45 minute walk
  • Had breakfast
  • Did some chores
  • Started writing an article

And it is just 9:00 am.

Masterpiece days

And this is just the start of my practice of creating my masterpiece day. More on masterpiece days to come.

The keys to miracle morning success

Dedication

ulysses-sirensLash yourself to the Aréte mast. Unless you are 100% committed to beginning and continuing with benefiting from a miracle morning life you may not get all the juicy benefits from it.

You need to use your willpower to create a daily habit that then gains its own momentum and no longer requires your mind to motivate it. It can be broken down into three phases and if you are ware of these phases it can help you break through them until your miracle mornings are part of your life.

30 days = 3 x 10 day sprints to forming a habit

10 days = painful

10 days = getting into the groove

10 days = loving it

Passion

You need to love what a miracle morning brings to you in life. Most importantly – more time- which we can never buy or get back in life once it has passed us by and gone forever.

Once you start to experience the joy of having already had an amazing day before most people even start theirs there is no turning back, it becomes addictive.

Awareness is progression

Once you are loving your miracle mornings rejoice in the moments where you notice all the little benefits of dedicating your life to something more powerful than you are.

Miracle morning help you-

  • Enjoy more time to play with your kids
  • Stop begrudging having to do the boring every day stuff in life
  • Have more patience with other people
  • Not get stressed out when something holds you up like traffic or while standing in a queue
  • add your own here too

POST EDIT++++++++++++

I’ve just transcribed this from a Radio 2 show with Chris Evans I listened to yesterday and thought it was perfect to add to this article:

Chris Evans :
And you are an early riser, you’re one of us lot, the worm catchers. Don’t you think, you know, people that get up early in the morning, don’t you think we have a different appreciation for life.
Baker (J.G.):
I think you have a longer appreciation for life as well because the day is so much longer and better because you are up earlier.
Chris Evans:
And we get our work done early so we can relax and enjoy the day I suppose. People say to me – why are you in such a good mood. Well, A, I’ve got a great job. B, I’m surrounded by wonderful people. C, I’ve got a fantastic family, but it’s also because I get up early every morning and grab the day by the scruff of the neck. Do you know what I mean J.G.?