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Are You Nocturnal? Here’s How You Can Ease Into an Effective Morning Routine

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I have a confession to make. I am 36 and have been a nocturnal guy for most of my life and career. My most productive parts of the day (okay, night) would be from 11 pm to 2 am, where I used to get most of my creative work done. I thoroughly detested waking up in the morning for an early meeting with clients. Social commitments were a stretch, as most events happen first thing in the day, and I would end up groggy-eyed in the wedding, stifling yawns till I could drag myself to the food counters.

I had a bunch of colleagues who used to prod me into trying a morning routine (yes, we all have those friends) and I used to berate them for trying to change me and my lifestyle. But one fine day, I happened to chance upon 2 books, ‘Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod and ‘Why We Sleep’ by Mathew Walker and that book changed my perception of trying a morning routine. I know, I see your eyes rolling on such a cliched trope, but here is why and how it went down.

My daughter’s school started at 8.20 in the morning, and I used to miss this opportunity to bond with her while dropping her off to school. A few more years and she would be doing that stretch by herself, and I would end up regretting it in my final days, that I lost the chance to have this quality time with her. So I decided I had to give my morning routine a shot. I had this nagging fear in the back of my mind that I might end up like a sloth-man constantly playing catch-up with sleep, vainly trying to find my outlet in the absence of my previous nightly slot.

“Your habits will determine your future.” – Jack Canfield

I started out doing the SAVERS technique which Hal elaborates in his book. And while I think it is a crummy acronym, all of the techniques work well, if you do them consistently. The reason why I am writing this is to provide additional commentary to the SAVERS technique as a recently-turned-morning person and how you too could benefit from making that shift as a nocturnal person.

Start slow and easy, the night before

Please do not try to drag yourself to bed at 9-10 pm, thinking this would help you wake up in the morning. You might only end up staring wide-eyed at the ceiling until 2 am. The things that will help you hit the bed at the right time to wake up refreshed are the activities that lead up to your bed-time routine. Some of them might be patronizing (I felt the exact way you are reading through this), but I decided to keep my prejudice aside for trying this out once to see if it helped.

  • No Alcohol or caffeine after 7 pm: I am a teetotaller, but I drink copious amounts of coffee (no time was a bad time for coffee, according to me) so abstaining from reaching for that coffee mug after 7 pm was tough. I ended up replacing the 8 pm coffee with a 10 pm hot chocolate (without sugar) and that worked wonders in settling me down for bed.
  • No TV and mobile viewing an hour before bed: This was the most unsettling part. We used to watch TV during and right after dinner as a routine, and there was always Instagram and LinkedIn (beware that endless scroll) to browse through in bed. This was tough too, but agreeing on this routine with my wife helped make both of us accountable, and a few days of bickering later, we were able to make it work.
  • Affirmations for bedtime: The affirmations that Hal talks about to perform in the morning work well in your bedtime routine too. Consistently telling yourself that you need to wake up at 6 am right before you sleep, is a subconscious way of telling your brain that this needs to happen. It might take a few more alarms before you internalize it, but give it time.

Take a power nap, if you have to

Settling into a morning routine in the first week is tough, and you might find yourself frequently hitting the lows as early as 11 am. Chances are you reach out for the coffee mug and you hit the depth again right after lunch. Then you go down that endless spiral of pumping yourself with caffeine until you get to finally go home and crash.

To avoid this unfortunate series of events, it is better to yield and time yourself for a short nap of 15-20 min. Now before you cry hoarse and say you will get fired if your boss caught you napping, I am only recommending this right before lunchtime. Take a bio break or catch these winks in a break room, and if you work remotely, take a quick nap on the couch. These 15-20 minutes have helped me reset my sleep patterns effectively and give me a boost in productivity, way more than any coffee would grant me.

Run the morning errands

If you feel running errands is no mighty purpose to give up on sleep in the morning, think again. It has been widely studied that making the bed first thing in the morning helps stimulate a sense of accomplishment and sets the course for the day. In my case, setting the bed, getting the daughter ready for school and getting the morning walk in the sun has made a huge difference in the motivation to wake up every day. Again, sharing the motivational goals with the family helps. My wife takes the evening shopping done, while I step out in the morning to finish household chores.

These simple techniques, combined with the SAVERS technique by Hal Elrod, have helped me get into the morning routine and (brace for it) also start enjoying it. I get my creative streak to write in multiple intervals during the day, and not just in the wee hours of the night. And last but not least, I get to talk to my daughter every day on our bike ride to school and she waves to me right before she enters the school gates, which is the best reward any father could ask for to make his day, every day.

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The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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