A friend pointed me to this short film by Awaken the World - Fear: The Most Insidious Contagion. And It's Cure that talks about fear, how it spreads, and to remind people to maintain their practices, which is something that I like reminding myself and that teach in my workshops and webinars. Give it a watch; I like its tone and message.
Combatting Fear by Keeping up our Wellness Practices.
If you've seen my presentation or attended my workshop on The Maven Principle - Becoming an Expert of You, I start it with The Litany of Fear quote from Dune by Frank Herbert. It is not only a pertinent quote but has become a meme for the 20 seconds we all should be taking to wash our hands.
“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment." Zig Ziglar
Creating good morning habits in the best of times isn't always easy, remember these and keeping them up when times are challenging is even more critical.
Below is a process I created for my The Maven Principle - Becoming the Expert of You and my Personal Brand Workshop clients.
The Maven Morning Emerge or EMRJ is a guide, a set of thoughts that work for me, and I don't always do them every day, but I work hard to do so. Yours doesn't have to be precisely like mine, but I wanted to share this with you. With all the fear, frustration, and need of some positivity in an uncertain time. I'll have the ebook and a worksheet up shortly as well here on the site. I built this over many years with great inspiration from a lot of sources and recently figured out the acronym EMRJ to go along with it. I hope you find it useful.
"Starting your day positively is the gift you give yourself, your family, your colleagues, and the world." – Heather Newman
Emerge: to manifest, become known, to rise from, to come into view. Becoming apparent, important, or prominent; a reveal. From the Latin, e+merger, to plunge.
Being our most authentic selves and embodying our brand starts with how we begin every day. Emerging into the day is your way of giving yourself a great start, and making ready for whatever the day holds.
Our Morning Emerge Guided Activation has four components: Exercise, Meditation, Reading, and Journaling (EMRJ).
EMRJ builds positive habits and can be the foundation for your journey into creating a new personal brand story. Creating this foundation is always in your hands and is private, so you can add or take away from it to suit your own needs.
Applying EMRJ to my life has helped me bring my best self to my clients, colleagues, family, and the world.
EMRJ does require a few changes to your morning. And before you say you can't, let me assure you, you can, and it's worth it. My routine is 20-30 minutes, but yours will differ based on your existing method around your home, family, commute, pets, and anything else that needs to happen before your day officially starts.
The good news: time and energy are the only costs of building a Morning Activation. You are the practitioner, and this document is a guide to building yours.
The only rule in this guide is: do whatever it takes not to pick up your phone or any digital device until you finish your EMRJ. Many of us use our phones as alarm clocks, so either get an actual alarm clock or turn it off and immediately make your way to your EMRJ.
A little bit of activity in the morning goes a long way to your physical and mental health. Exercise helps you make healthier choices, can boost your metabolism, and helps you sleep better.
Get your body feeling good and ready for the day. Some people do their full workout, take a 20-minute walk, or complete an exercise routine, but I like simple stretching in the morning—something you can do next to the bed without looking at your phone.
Let the "E" in your EMRJ be what feels right for you, your body, and what your doctor recommends. And frankly speaking, sex counts for the E in emerge, solo or with a partner.
Warm Water and Lemon: After you stretch, drinking warm water and lemon can be a great addition (as your diet or doctor's recommendation allows).
A slice of lemon in hot water has vitamin C and flushes out toxins and balances and maintains PH levels in the body, nourishing the brain and nerve cells. Here is a further article on the benefits - 11 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water (And How to Drink it for Good Health.
Meditation is a practice of mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. We suggest a ~10-minute meditation to help clear your mind and get ready for the day.
I use the free UCLA mindfulness meditations and app.
For an introduction to mindfulness meditation, you can practice on your own, download the UCLA Mindful App (iTunes / Google Play), stream, or download the guided meditations below — recorded by UCLA MARC's Director of Mindfulness Education, Diana Winston.
I use the Loving Kindness Meditation often. I repeat the phrases from the guide aloud to myself. See if you might like this one too, but there are others to choose from in the series.
There are dozens of meditation apps. I tend to like free, and of course, just sitting still for 10 minutes without any sound input counts as meditation.
Some Paid Meditation Apps: Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer (free basic plus programs you can buy), Simple Habit, Buddhify – most are available in iOS and Google Play, listed in order by popularity.
Healing Tones 432Hz and 639Hz: These two frequencies occur naturally and are also called healing tones. There is an interesting debate on the internet on the theory of these frequencies being healing and beneficial for sleep and to focus throughout the day. They are also frequently used for meditation. I like this article on the subject - Music Theory: 432Hz Tuning – Separating Fact from Fiction.
Reading in the morning is all about inspiration and motivation. Reading in the morning after your exercise and mediation means your body and mind are both awake and ready to take in the good words of others who look to bring us ideas, insights, joy, entertainment, or education. The idea is to spend 10-15 minutes reading for pleasure.
I wrote about the importance of an excellent start to your day a few years ago. That was the foundation of my expanded EMRJ guide, which you are now reading. I think it's fun to see the beginnings of things. If you do too, read What's Your Story Morning Glory – How Do You Start Your Day?
I'm sure you have a stack of books or blogs that you may already read or want to read. I usually time myself to keep my EMRJ no longer than 15 minutes. I'm also a big fan of Audible and tend to listen to books to minimize my screen time. If you use Alexa and Amazon, Alexa can read it to you in the morning.
An excellent article on reading in the morning - 4 Reasons Why You Should Read Every Single Morning.
I'm a big fan of Medium. I write there (in the inspiration category) and on our Creative Maven blog.
Some bloggers I like and read in the morning:
Benjamin P Hardy - Org Psychologist. Bestselling Author
I prefer blog articles for my Reading time because they are short and keep within my time allotment. Sometimes I love a book so much I can't put it down, so I use a timer when I'm reading or listening to keep my EMRJ on track.
I also love this poem my father gave me. It guides me in the actions I take every day, and I read it every morning.
When I was young and free, and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But, it too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.
Journaling is a terrific tool for stress management, for giving gratitude, and for your overall mental and physical health. Studies show that journaling for 10-15 minutes a day can impact all facets of health, mood, and confidence. It also engages right-brained creativity, giving you more access to that impressive brainpower of yours. Journaling also helps grow your faith in your personal brand story.
Again, try not to touch anything digital before you finish this part of the EMRJ. Devices distract us, altering both mindset and mood.
For this part of the EMRJ, we suggest no more than 10 minutes. Use a timer (the only reason to touch your phone) or, better yet, use your kitchen timer to write.
For these 10 minutes or less, pen to the page is important. Don't journal on a computer. There is a ton of research showing that the act of writing longhand stimulates, activates, and trains our brains the way typing on a keyboard does not. I journal in the morning, pen to page. I write longer pieces and work for publication on my computer in OneNote, transfer to Word, use Grammarly, send it to my editor, then post. But that's not journaling.
The journal itself doesn't need to be fancy or expensive. Do look for something you enjoy interacting with, and if you like lines or a blank page, choose whatever speaks to you. I suggest going to a store instead of buying online so you can see what resonates with you. Same with a pen - find ones you love.
I love Gratitude journaling as a great way to start the day, especially if you are new or haven't journaled for a while. I also suggest using a dedicated journal for gratitude. If you want to have one for another subject, use another journal. The prompt here is to write what you are grateful for and looking forward to that day for about 10 minutes, however much or little you choose to correspond, but you have to write something.
Journaling can also be more freeform or use prompts about goals, dreams, or recording the events of yesterday. If you already have a gratitude journal, let me know, and I'll give you some different writing prompts.
One of our Mavens Do It Better podcast interviews is with journaling maven Mari L. McCarthy, whose story is lovely and super inspirational, on the benefits of journaling for "The Health of IT."
Writing in the morning and starting with gratitude, clears your chest and mind before your day begins. The impact of this positive motion on your mind lingers throughout your day. Your subconscious mind also keeps working on things from the day before, and when you journal in the morning, you are bringing all that good work from your dreams and subconscious into more clarity and understanding.
Think of the Morning Maven Emerge Activation (EMRJ) as a guide, a tool in your toolbox. Use EMRJ as a guide to creating a morning activation that starts your day in a positive motion as the foundation of your personal brand story. You may add in or take out what works for you. Ideally, you will do the activation every day, but no one is watching, and you won't be tested. Some days you will get to it, some you will not - there is no pressure, and using this tool shouldn't be stressful. Excited to help you build yours that is specific to you.
Empathy makes us human. Action makes us warriors. What we do every day makes us who we are. – Heather Newman
I hope this helps a little to remind us all to keep on with how we take care of ourselves as we go through this challenging time together.
I will be sharing articles, videos and holding Facebook Live events from my Marketing Done Better Facebook Group to address morning ritual, working from home, dealing with kids at home, freelancing/side hustle/front hustle, remote working and how to leverage technology to do so.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Creative Maven. Your information will not be shared.