The Golden 30. Using the first moments of the day to stay positive during Lockdown 3.0

The Golden 30 minutes are just after you’ve woken up. I think this time holds the key to helping us get through the final stage of this pandemic.


Here are a few ideas I’ve been sharing with clients recently that might give you some food for thought about how you can maintain your mindset and stay resilient in the coming weeks.


YOUR THOUGHTS

This is undoubtedly a difficult one to master, but, ultimately, you can choose your mindset each day. You can choose whether you approach the day with positivity or negativity, with vitality or lethargy, with hope or indifference.

Some days, it may seem harder than others. If you have something to look forward to it’s easier to feel hope and positivity. If you’re going through a trauma or have experienced a setback, make sure you give yourself time to grieve and heal, but there will reach a point where this becomes relevant too.


Start your day with positive thoughts and it impacts the lens you view everything through for the rest of the day. Even in tough times, start with positive thoughts and let them filter into how you feel and act that day. Some Golden 30 positive thinking ideas:


* Wake up and think about (or even better right down) three things you are grateful for right now.

* Think about three things that you can look forward to that day. No matter how small they are, any sprinkle of positivity or hope counts!

* When you get out of bed, as your two feet touch the ground, say thank you. Thank you for all the things you do have, and can do.

* Think about the last time you did something nice for someone else, or someone else did something nice for you. Perhaps you could think about something nice you might do for someone today.

* When you wake-up, sit up and tell yourself ‘I FEEL TERRIFIC’. Say it a few times, loud and clear. Then as you begin your morning routine, say it a few more times. If you can laugh at yourself whilst doing it – even better!


It may seem like forced positivity at first, but doing these things will help to feed your subconscious mind with thoughts about feeling great, and give you the chance for it to become reality.


YOUR ACTIONS

You could start the day by crawling out of bed, wishing that you didn’t have to, and already looking forward to bed time. You can use that time to watch the news and delve deeper into the frustration of the situation, or flick through social media and feel sad about all the things you aren’t, or can’t have. We’ve all done it, I certainly have.


But there are other options. You can choose to spend those precious 30 minutes when the day begins, to do things consistent with how you want the rest of the day to go. Choose actions that help you to start your day with positivity, motivation, hope or laughter. For example:


* Watch something motivational

* Read about something or someone that inspires you

* Do something that makes you smile

* Phone a loved one

* Listen to uplifting music

* Take a walk

* Stretch


Something that distracts many of us from doing this is checking our phones. That compulsion to reach for it first thing in the morning. To quickly check who's messaged overnight or what notifications you've received. Except the ‘quickly checking’ turns into 15, 20, 30 minutes, and then by the time you do get up, your mindset has already been influenced by the outside world. Same goes for during the day when you’re trying to concentrate on work but keep getting distracted by checking the small rectangular thing buzzing next to you. Much of the time we are doing this totally subconsciously so we are not even aware of it. It’s distraction and procrastination at it’s finest. If this is something that you know is detracting from your productivity, mental health or stopping you from starting your day how you actually want to, then the answer is simple. You know it already, you just haven’t done it yet!

1. Leave your phone downstairs, or somewhere outside your bedroom so that you physically can’t check it first thing. Turn it off and put it in a drawer – make a bit of a ritual out of doing it.

2. Create a phone-free-zone for periods of time during the day. If you’re a real addict, start with 15 minutes. Leave it in a different room. Sit with the uncomfortableness of not having it next to you. Then build it up from there to find a healthy balance that works for you. On the other side of the initial agitation is mental freedom. It’ll be worth it!


YOUR INTENTION

You may well be someone who uses a task or action list. As well as this, use the Golden 30 to set your intention for that day. No matter how busy or quiet, exciting or boring, interesting or dull your day is, think about what you want to get from today. Perhaps it’s just to get through it. Or to be kind, to see the positives, or to give yourself a break. It might be to do one thing to treat yourself, to do your tasks with urgency and then take time to help someone else. Personally, I like to do this on a morning walk because I find the fresh air helps to give me some head space and perspective. But wherever or whenever you can in those first stages of the day, take a few minutes to set your intention. If you can commit pen to paper and write it down, even better!


YOUR ENERGY


“Energy goes where the attention flows”


There are so many things about the current situation that we can’t control. It’s easy to get caught up in the frustration, disappointment, sadness and resentment about what’s happening to us and around us. But if we spend our days focused on these frustrations, it has a negative impact on our energy: the source of all our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The good news is, you can help your energy to flow differently, and in a more positive direction, by focusing on the things you can control.


Here's one practice you could try as you begin your day, particularly on those days where you start them in spirals of negative thought:


1. Get out a blank piece of paper and draw a big circle. Write down all the things you’re worrying about on that piece of paper – with the things you can’t control on the outside of the circle and the things you can control on the inside.

2. Then look at it. Notice how much of your time and energy you’re spending focused on the things on the outside of the circle, and pick something on the inside to focus on instead. When you catch your mind worrying about the uncontrollables (which is inevitably does), remind yourself of the one or two things you can control. This helps to bring about a greater sense of hope and autonomy over the way things are.


In summary, I really believe that every day when you wake up you can…

* Choose your mindset

* Act in ways that are positive and helpful.

* Decide on what you want to get from the day

* Energise yourself by choosing to focus on what you can control


And if you’re in need of any more motivation, to hear about someone who personifies a positive mindset through adversity, have a read of this! https://www.telegraph.co.uk/paralympic-sport/2021/01/28/oksana-masters-interview-child-chernobyl-defied-every-setback/

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