15 Things I do to Answer Anxiety in the Morning

When your hair’s on fire in the morning, you’re toast by end of day.

Establish morning rituals and routines to answer internal anxiety and prepare for external chaos.


Power of ritual:

Internal anxiety is rushing through this moment to get to the next.

Thinking ahead creates tension. You reason, “I need to get this done so I can get the next thing done.” Rushing through this moment to get to the next makes you resent this moment.

Rituals free you to focus on the current thing, not the next thing.

15 things I do to answer anxiety in the morning:

  1. Get up before others.
  2. Keep the lights low. It’s dark, but don’t turn on the light. Dark is calming. I’m less distracted when the light is low.
  3. Push the button on the coffee maker.
  4. Wash my face with a cold washcloth after other personal matters are resolved.
  5. Sit, relax, and reflect until the coffee is done.
  6. Walk to my home office with cup in hand.
  7. Place the coffee cup on the coaster. The coaster is in the same place it was yesterday.
  8. Hit the power button on the computer. Stand – don’t sit – and type the password. (A pole light with a three-way bulb – set to low – comes on automatically. It’s plugged into my uninterrupted power supply.)
  9. Get on the floor and do at least 50 crunches.
  10. Stand and stretch.
  11. Sit at my desk.
  12. Open a blank document.
  13. Put my fingers on my keyboard.
  14. Begin to type.
  15. Don’t open email or a browser for at least 30 minutes.

Self-talk empowers ritual and enables consistency. When I walk into my office, I look for the coaster and answer anxiety by saying, “Put the cup on the coaster.”

I don’t think about hitting the power button on my computer until my cup rests in its place.

How might leaders create unnecessary stress and anxiety?

How are you answering stress and anxiety?

Bonus Material:

Crisis Leadership: How to Overcome Anxiety (Enterprisers)

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