” And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. “
– Ephesians 6:18 NIV
John Hopkins University believes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The routine of eating a nourishing meal early on will give you the energy you need to get you through the day. Establishing other routines in the morning before the kids get up and I go to school is just as important. I have been doing these three routines for the past year now. My shift in mindset, energy, and outlook for the entire day has changed significantly. The best thing is that it only takes 15 minutes!
Routines Require Discipline to Become a Habit
I heard of this 15 minute morning routine in an interview with Dr. Josh Axe, author of numerous books on health and wellness. Dr. Axe likened this routine to a triathlon. In a triathlon, you need to prepare to swim, cycle, and run as fast as you can to the finish line. Each of these events requires training and use different muscle groups to perform. In order to be great at a triathlon (or even finish in my case), you must consistently train and be disciplined in all three areas or one will suffer.
The three areas only take 5 minutes each for a total of 15 minutes. Let’s take a look at each one and how they can set up your day for success no matter what is thrown at you.
Gratitude- 5 Minutes
Research has shown that people who consistently practice gratitude are less depressed, and tend to be much happier. According to Greater Good Magazine, showing gratitude “unshackles us” from toxic emotions, and has positive lasting impacts on the brain. From the moment I wake up, I spend the next five minutes expressing gratitude. I don’t necessarily say it out loud, but I think of people and circumstances for which I am grateful in my life. Some examples to get you started could be:
I am grateful for:
Being alive and the ability to do work today
Having a warm place to sleep during these cold months
My wife and children
The school and colleagues with whom I work with each day
My extended family and their positive impact in my life
You could probably go on and on, but these are a few to get started. Doing this right away when I wake up has given me a great appreciation for what is around me. A gratitude journal or even a
After spending some time in gratitude, the next part of the triathlon is reading with a purpose. One of my goals for this year is to read more of God’s word as well as work through a devotional. If you know of any sportsman out there, I would recommend Faith Afield, A Sportsman’s Devotional by Steven Scott. New teachers, I highly encourage you to check out Teaching For God’s Glory-Daily Wisdom and Inspiration for New Teachers. This book walks with teachers through every day of the school year with practical advice to get through that first year of teaching.
Read When You Won’t Be Distracted
You might choose something else to read, but pick something that will challenge you to be the best person that you can be. I am currently reading From Behaving to Belonging: The Inclusive Art of Supporting Students Who Challenge Us. This is a great read that can help give you practical advice to support behavioral challenges in the classroom. A lot of the time when I read, I am often distracted by other thoughts, especially later in the day. I have found that early in the morning I can be more focused on God’s word and what He is wanting me to pay attention to each day.
Prayer Requests and/or Meditation – 5 Minutes
More times than not, I have found that I have gone over the 5-minute mark. The amount of peace though that comes with letting go of my burdens and concerns. Praying for others is certainly worth the extra time. My prayer requests usually start with myself and what I am going through, and then I move through requests for my immediate family. From there, I expand my prayer requests to neighbors, friends, colleagues, students, etc.
The Power of Prayer and Mediation and Your Health
Prayer and/or mediation are powerful and can help with our healing. Just the act of prayer and mediation has been proven to lower blood pressure and stress in the body. The article, Power of Prayer: What Happens to Your Brain When You Pray? , featured by NBC News shows some of the scientific research of prayer and meditation on the body. Spending 5 minutes in prayer and/or meditation each day is a great way to help strengthen your spiritual and physical health.
A Great Way to Start Your Day
I think we can all agree that we could find an extra 15 minutes each morning. The time spent will transform our day. I must say that I do need to get up a little earlier in the morning now. I am trying to get in some exercise in the morning as well for 20-30 minutes to build in fitness goals.
Build Your Energy, Confidence, and Gratitude
This new routine of gratitude, purposeful reading, and prayer requests along with exercise has helped give me the confidence to handle anything that comes my way. It is my hope that you find your mornings being transformed as you prepare for each day.