Henry Ward Beecher once said, “The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.” Have you ever heard someone say, “Man, I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning”? What are they really saying?  Something negative happened during the first part of their day that set the tone, trend, and trajectory for the next 24 hours. 

According to Entrepreneur magazine (writer Ahmed Safwan) explains why: 

The brain produces electrical patterns, often referred to as waves. Scientists have found a correlation between the frequency of brain waves and the body's state. When you first awake, your brain operates at around 10.5 waves per second. The range from eight to 13 Hz, or cycles per second, is the alpha stage. It's been called the gateway to the subconscious mind. 

Have you ever gone into a semi-daydreaming state while commuting? A few minutes pass, but you don't remember what happened. It's likely your brain entered the alpha state.

Interestingly enough, this is proven by science. How you start your day will determine how you sustain that day.  The first 20 minutes of your day are when your subconscious mind is the most impressionable. Whatever you hear, read, and think about within the first 20 minutes of waking up, that will affect the spirit of your day. 

So having this knowledge, how should that affect your morning routine? 

Knowing that the first moments upon waking up are your most impressionable, here are some things you should probably avoid: 

  • Don't click the snooze button: Don't ever click your alarm's snooze button. This tells your brain it's OK to procrastinate by putting your day on hold.
  • Avoid the News: You don't need the latest crimes, murders, or scandals to dictate the trajectory of your morning. 
  • Avoid Social Media: seeing your friends latest political rant probably isn't a great way to get your day started. 
  • Avoid Email: This will either be a mindless duty or if there are immediate emails you need to respond to, it can send your mind into a myriad of directions.

Instead, why not spend the first moments of your day engaging in these things: 

  • Spend time in God's Word. There's a reason why the Psalmist said, "In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly." (Psalm 5:3). Even King David knew the value of starting your day out with the Lord.
  • Visualize: Think about the goals that you have for your day. Pray about the long term goals and vision for your future. Where do you want to be in the five essentials of life (spiritual, relational, physical, intellectual, financial) a year from now? Five years from now? Spend some moments during the first part of your day praying and dreaming.
  • Practice Affirmations: Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) was known for doing this. An affirmation or mantra is a personal statement that you live by and focus on. Maybe it's a promise God's given you in His Word or a new habit you are trying to grow into. Instead of saying, "I want X," instead, declare by faith, "I am X." 
  • Practice Gratitude: Did you know that just the having the discipline of mentally listing out 10 things you are grateful for each day has the same affect on you neurologically as taking an anti-depressant. Of all the human thoughts and emotions we have, gratitude is by far the most powerful. Not only that, but when you focus on the positive, you'll see, discover, and create more of the same. 

What else are you going to add to your morning routine? Comment on Facebook and Twitter.