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Five Morning Rituals For The Retirees And Non-Retirees

Written by: Edi Matsumoto, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Now that I am retired, I can get up anytime I want. I could sleep in until noon if I wanted to. I think many of you agree that waking up to the sound of the alarm clock is the most annoying part of the day. I loved being a nurse, but I did not enjoy getting up at 5:30 am to work the morning shift at a hospital. To be more precise, I didn't mind getting up early, but I wanted the freedom to choose when I got up.

Since I retired last year, I have been getting up whenever my eyes open naturally. No alarms. No obligation. I don't have to be at a particular place at a specific time, and I enjoy the freedom I craved before jumping out of bed. As a result, I usually get up anywhere between 4 and 6 am. I am getting up earlier than I used to, working harder than ever seven days a week. I retired from my clinical work, but now I run my art and coaching business from my studio office. When I was in elementary school, I got up earlier on the weekend when my exhausted parents tried to catch up on their sleep. I could not wait to get up early on the weekend because I was so excited with anticipation of a glorious weekend with lots of fun and adventure. Who do I want to play with? What new activities can I try? After 40 plus years of working for corporates and institutions, now I regained the excitement of embracing each morning. I have so many ideas and plans and am thrilled to see the day unfold each day.

I once read a book written by an "old" woman (she must have been in her 60s, which seemed old back then) who was semi-retired but still practicing medicine part-time. It was a book on health maintenance, and she described her daily morning rituals. She would get up before dawn. Before seeing patients in the late morning or afternoon, she had prayer and chanting rituals and physical and eye exercises, meditation, reading, and journaling. In the back of my mind, before I retired, I was always looking forward to the day when I could leisurely spend a few hours on my morning rituals.

There is no lack of resources when it comes to morning rituals. I got information on meditation, yoga, chanting, walking, weight exercises, diet, supplements, motivation, positive affirmation, etc., learning from Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, Jose Silva, Jim Kwik, and Vishen Lakhiani, to name a few.

After eight months of information gathering, I came up with some common morning practices that many successful people do: 1) get up early (i.e., 4-5 am) while it is still dark and quiet; 2) meditate; 3) think, visualize, and write out what your goals, your perfect day or life looks and feels like. Feeling the emotion is the key, and 4) spend a few minutes organizing the day and write down 3-6 essential actions to take that day on a card. These practices seem to set the right mindset, direction, and energy for the day.

After some trials and errors, here are details of five mental exercises and meditation I do between the time I get up and when I start tackling my action items of the day.

Breathing: There are various breathing methods we can learn by searching Google or watching YouTube videos. I use different techniques for different purposes, but my husband and I found Bhastrika breathing to be helpful in the morning to boost energy. Bhastrika means bellows to blow air to start a fire. We first learned this method in the Art of Living workshop. It was introduced as a calming exercise before a big event or speaking engagement when you feel nervous. But we found it energizing and refreshing exercise to do first thing in the morning.

Gratitude: If there is one exercise everyone should do every day and night, most psychologists and spiritual teachers seem to agree on a gratitude exercise. The effectiveness of gratitude is well-established in positive psychology. Gratitude also appears to be the key to manifesting what we want. Similarly, Metta is a meditation of compassion, sending positive intention to self and others. First, send a loving and positive intent or prayer towards yourself, your family, neighbors, town and city, region, country, continent, the entire world, all sentients, and even towards the whole universe.

Forgiveness: The effectiveness of forgiveness exercises is also well-proven. Forgiveness is particularly powerful in releasing the negative energy you are stuck with for a long time. Rather than doing it for others who "wronged" you, it is a powerful exercise to free yourself from the negative rut. You can start with easy forgiveness and gradually move on to more tough ones. It is great to mix up the difficulty level and repeat the process as many times as needed. I have not run out of things to forgive so far, although most of them are minor irritation and inconveniences on my part.

Projection or visualization: This is another well-established exercise that is an absolute must if you want to make your dream a reality. It will help if you visualize your future self, your vision, as much as possible to the point it feels real. As Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy suggests, "Fake it till you become it." Often the hard part is to retrain your brain's bad habit of constant narrative, saying that you are not good enough or something similar. Our million-year-old brains are programmed to keep us alive by giving us the most pessimistic scenario to avoid possible predators and disasters. Repetitive negative thoughts serve the purpose when needed. But when it prevents you from achieving your goals, you can reach out to coaches and mentors who can help rewire the negative thinking loop.

Meditation: Some may consider gratitude, forgiveness, and visualization part of meditation. I am talking about having a few quiet moments here. "Emptying" your mind can be interpreted as maintaining a perfectly blank mind for a while. I think of meditation as an opportunity to stop the habitual mental merry-go-round and let in the universal wisdom. I try to remember that the universe's intelligence that creates everything, including each of us, is far greater than the IQ of any human being, no matter how clever we think we are. We can get close to our default mode by not focusing on any thought. A simple way to put it may be to imitate a baby's mind. A baby does not define anything, does not think with language, does not judge but accepts what is happening, and observes everything with fresh eyes. Another feel-good way to think about it is to imagine floating in a perfect hot spring. No effort is needed whatsoever, be happy, content, and comfortable without paying attention to anything. Just be comfortable being you as you are right now.

I mainly listed mental practices. Of course, there are other physical parts of the rituals such as drinking a full glass of water with sea salt, lemon water, or seaweed, juicing, aerobics or anaerobic exercise, a cold shower, ice bath, or sauna, watching a positive mind movie, and so on. There are plenty of recommendations, and we have to try what resonates with you and stick with it.

If I do all of the above, morning rituals can take up to 2-3 hours, especially the meditation part alone can take 1 hour. Like many retired friends, my days are fuller and busier than before retirement. Depending on the day, the time I spend on my morning rituals can vary from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours. If you are not retired, you can do a short version on workdays and a full version on your days off. I am still a retirement novice, but I enjoy the fruit of these practices. The energy and vibration level I set in the morning positively affect the rest of the day. Instead of dreading getting up early, I treasure my early morning time to energize, motivate, and manifest the best version of my life.

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Edi Matsumoto, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Edi Matsumoto is an experienced health, wellness, and spiritual coach. After working with Mother Theresa in Kolkata, India, while she was alive, Matsumoto devoted almost 30 years to healthcare, helping thousands of patients with physical and mental wellbeing. She is the founder of the Satori Method based on her experience as a nurse practitioner, certified wellness coach, and facilitator of a spiritual course. Satori is a word for awakening or enlightenment in Japanese. Unlike the traditional spiritual methods in which one devotes decades to one discipline, she combines positive psychology, meditations, the law of attraction, theory, practicum, and modern technology all in one program to meet the individual needs. She is a bilingual speaker, author, and an accomplished artist. Her mission is to help people uncover the state of fundamental well-being they were born with and unleash their creativity.



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