Jason Zook realized he needed to revamp his morning routine once he noticed how much negativity was creeping into his brain in the pre-work hours. If you turn to email, Facebook, or Twitter first thing in the a.m., you’ve probably experienced the same:
Even if you have the most highly curated feeds and friend lists, negativity will always slither its way through the cracks of our digital lives.
Indeed, a German study found that, out of 600 people who logged onto Facebook, one in three felt worse about themselves after doing so thanks to unconsciously comparing themselves to their friends and followers. Even if your social media usage doesn’t lead to self-deprecation, it could let negative ideas infiltrate your brain in the vulnerable early hours of the day thanks to news stories, complaints, and strong opinions.
As such, Zook instituted “InstaCoffeeHobbes,” a 10-15-minute morning ritual that fills his brain with positivity to start his day off on the right track. It’s a three-part combo of scrolling through Instagram (he’s careful to only follow family, close friends, and inspiring photo feeds of landscapes, cars, and the like), enjoying a cup of coffee, and flipping through a book of Calvin and Hobbes comics that hearken back to his youth:
By the time my coffee is finished brewing, I’ve spent 10–15 minutes doing only things that make me happy. My day has started with positivity — positivity that will be a shield of armor from the rigors of the rest of my day. If I were to start with negative influences first, the rest of the day is an uphill battle to reach positivity.
Experiment with your own combination of positivity-infusing activities that together launch your day with a feeling of calm and brightness. That could include doing a crossword puzzle, listening to contemplative music, brewing a cup of chai tea, or meditating. Labeling your mixture with a goofy portmanteau like Zook’s might not hurt either, both for the sake of remembering it and injecting the concept with a little fun.