5 minutes that will change your life
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Are you willing to invest 5 minutes to transform your life?
I’m going to share a fun and easy 5 minute morning routine that can change your life, and it does it on a physiological, chemical level. In just 5 minutes you can do something that helps relieve muscle tension, manage stress, boost energy levels, improvesmood, increase happiness, improve the neuroplasticity of the brain, stimulate the prefrontal cortex, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, energize muscles, and aid in digestion. It also helps increase our resilience, and improves the way that we show up, which in turn improves our performance at work and life.
What is the MMWW morning routine?
MMWW stands for the 4 elements of the routine: music, movement, words, and water. This fun and easy morning routine takes only 5 minutes, but it can improve the way you feel on a physiological, chemical level.
How do I do it?
Choose a song that you love, something that makes you want to dance and sing along. This is your timer. Move your body while listening to the song (traditional exercises like sit ups, jumping jacks, push ups, etc.; shadow boxing; stretches; yoga; tai chi; or just dance. (If you prefer you could choose to sing along rather than exercising. Feel free to mix it up.) Write 5 things that you’re grateful for in a notebook. Drink a bottle of water. (If you don’t like plain water add a slice of lemon or make lemonade using lemon juice and pure organic maple syrup – real maple syrup, not maple flavored high fructose corn syrup.) That’s it. You’re done.
Why does it work?
Music, movement, words, and water are simple, but powerful tools to improve the way that we feel. I’ll briefly list some of the benefits of each element of the morning routine.
Music is a very powerful tool to influence the way we feel. Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function.
Listening to positive upbeat music is a simple, yet effective way to boost mood and motivation. According to neurologists, listening to music affects our emotions and “brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”
Research shows that different kinds of music can actually produce different kinds of emotions. Sad music can help offer a release of pent up negative emotions, while positive upbeat music helps move the brain into a more active state as brain waves actually synchronize somewhat to the pace of the music you’re listening to.
Some people think that spending effort exercising will make a person more tired, but the opposite is actually true. Exercise actually helps us feel more energized and less fatigued. If we want to have more energy, then we have to move more.
Physical exercise can reduce or prevent depression and reduce stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise increases the brain’s production of feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. It also improves your mood, increases self-confidence, improves focus, improves sleep quality, and promotes relaxation.
Now when we put the music and movement together, it can transform the way we feel. For example, if we’re feeling frustrated, powerless, or overwhelmed, we could turn on a song from a Rocky movie and shadow box. By the time your song is done, you’re going to feel so much better. It’s almost like magic. But it doesn’t have to be shadow boxing, it could be any kind of exercise like jumping jacks, pushups, sit ups, or holding a plank position, Or you can do tai chi, yoga poses, stretching, or my favorite – just dance. There’s more than one right way to do things, so choose something that you enjoy.
Singing – another powerful option
Now If the idea of doing any kind of exercise makes you cringe, there’s another option. Rather than moving your body, you can move your mouth by singing along. Singing has been scientifically proven to reduce muscle tension, reduce cortisol levels, increase levels of endorphins and other neurotransmitters that help us feel good.
Singing lowers stress, relieves anxiety, and elevates endorphins which make you feel uplifted and happy. It helps relax muscle tension and decreases the levels of the stress hormones in the blood stream and can help take your mind off the day’s troubles to boost your mood.
Print out the lyrics so you can sing all the words and choose songs that have lyrics that have meaning to you personally. Here are a few suggested songs to help you create your own list: Roar by Katy Perry, Try Everything by Shakira, Waka Waka by Shakira, Brave by Sara Bareilles, Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, Fight Song by Rachel Platten, Happy by Pharrel Williams, Better When I’m Dancin’ by Meghan Trainor, Me Too by Meghan Trainor, On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons, Believer by Imagine Dragons, You Are Loved by Stars Go Dim, and This is Me by Justin Paul & Benj Pasek sung by Keala Settle.
So music and movement or music and singing, feel free to mix it up.
Words – who knew that gratitude could make such a difference
Keeping a gratitude journal may sound like a nice thing for those happy, fluffy, Pollyanna-type people who like to do that sort of thing, but obviously it’s not a real solution for people who have real problems right? Well actually the research shows that it can make a huge difference. Gratitude improves neuroplasticity which is the brain’s ability to reorganize pathways, create new connections, and, in some cases, even create new neurons. Neuroplasticity is necessary for resiliency and our ability to adapt to change.
Neuroscience also reveals that gratitude literally rewires your brain to be happier. Your brain cannot easily focus on both positive and negative stimuli; gratitude directs the attention to the positive. Furthermore, feelings of gratitude directly activate brain regions associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine, generally considered the “reward” neurotransmitter.
Gratitude also helps with depression. Martin Seligman conducted a study with a group of severely depressed individuals, they were instructed to write down three good things that happened to them that day. Within 15 days, their depression improved from “severely depressed” to “mildly to moderately depressed.” 94% of them reported feeling better!
Water – essential but often overlooked
The last part of the MMWW morning routine is drinking a bottle of water, what size? That’s up to you. More is better, but drinking any is better than nothing. Drinking water is a simple, effective, but often overlooked tool to help improve physical, mental, and emotional health. Studies show that even mild dehydration, as little as 1%, has been shown to negatively affect brain structure and function, negatively impact mood, and trigger fatigue.
If you can’t stand the idea of drinking plain water, add a slice of lemon or make lemonade with lemon juice and organic maple syrup (and I mean real maple syrup, not pancake syrup made out of high fructose corn syrup). Drinking lemon water has been shown to aid digestion, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, energize muscles, help manage weight, improve our skin, and help prevent kidney stones.
Give it a try – are you ready to transform your life?
What many people don’t realize is that self care and self improvement doesn’t have to mean something overwhelming that takes hours and hours. We can start with small, simple, consistent action steps. 5 minutes a day is enough to get started.
Will it magically solve all of your problems? Of course not, but what it will do is change how you feel and how you show up, so you can solve your own problems.
Healing and growth comes from a combination of learning and doing. I can share with you what to do and why to do it, but it won’t help you unless you actually try it. So I invite you to accept a challenge to do this 5 minute morning routine MMWW, music, movement, words, and water. If you do it every morning, I promise that you will see noticeable improvements in the way that you feel within 30 days.
Print out the tracking sheet below to help you stay on target.
And if you’re still not convinced…
Now, if you’re still not willing to spend 5 minutes to improve your life, then congratulations, you have just completed a self evaluation and determined that you are satisfied with your life the way things are right now. You are satisfied with the way you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’re satisfied with your level of happiness, your confidence, your stress management, and your relationships.
If you’re thinking, “Now wait a minute, I didn’t say that, I just said I didn’t want to do your 5 minute morning routine.” Here’s the thing. Healing and personal growth can begin when you reach a tipping point of decision, and that tipping point is when you want to change more than you want to stay the same, and you can tell when you reach that point because you’re willing to do something about it.
So think about that for a minute. If you’re happy and healthy and calm and feel fulfilled, that’s fantastic, but if you’re not as happy as you’d like to be, if you’re not as healthy as you’d like to be, if you’re feeling stressed and unfulfilled, but you’re not willing to do anything about it, then you are satisfied with the way things are. You don’t want to change more than you want to stay the same, and that’s okay. You are the author of your life journey. And if you ever change your mind, and decide that you do want to change more than you want to stay the same, if you want to be happier, healthier, with more energy and greater inner peace, 5 minutes a day is all it takes to get started. I invite you to try it for 30 days, and I promise it will make a difference in how you feel.