Mental Clarity, Morning Routines, And 3 Ingredients For Happiness
Here is your weekly dose of Longevity Minded, 3 things I’m exploring in the realms of longevity and simple living this week.
Let’s dive in.
🫀 Live Longer
Mental Clarity via Ignorance
By eliminating the following four actions from my life, I massively reduced my stress and anxiety, gained greater mental clarity, and built more time back into my days.
Take back control over when and where your attention is directed by eliminating the following four and you will experience the same benefits.
Don't watch the news
Are you able to list even ONE occasion that watching the news provided you with information that you had to act upon?
And anything that is somewhat important in the news you will hear anyway through colleagues, family, and friends.
Stop watching the news. It only fuels your mind with fear and worry.
Turn off email notifications
Anyone who can grab hold of your email (not a difficult feat with today’s technology) can email you.
Do you really want to give any stranger or marketing team the power to steal one of your most valuable resources, your attention, at any moment of the day?
By turning off your email notifications you choose when and where your attention is directed.
Delete social apps from your phone
Instead of spending every spare moment of your day scrolling social media, use that time to do something valuable: sit and think.
Allow your bored mind to wander.
Think about how you can be a better son, daughter, parent, sibling, partner, or lover.
Identify areas of your life that you want to improve.
Boredom is a valuable tool. Use it to your advantage.
Don't check your phone for the first 60 mins of every day
Checking your phone first thing in the morning sends your mind into a spiral of reactivity.
By staying off of your phone, you enable yourself to engage in a successful morning routine and maintain the mental clarity required to plan, organize, and execute the activities you deem essential.
Start by eliminating these four activities for one week. The quality of your days will improve 10X instantly.
💪 Feel Healthier
5 Tips For Building A Consistent Morning Routine
A well-designed morning routine sets you up for a successful day by building momentum and priming your mind and body for the day ahead.
Here are five tips to ensure your morning routine is enabling and not just another hurdle to jump over.
Secure a small win
The first thing I do when my feet hit the floor is make my bed.
And I suggest you do the same.
Not only is it a small momentum-building win, but it organizes the space around you and gives you a small sense of accomplishment early in the day.
I aim for ½ to 1 litre of water right after making my bed.
Play with different amounts to see what works for you.
Make it flexible
Can you do it anywhere?
If you need a hyperbaric chamber, two personal masseuses, a sauna, and a cold plunge for a successful morning routine, the quality of your days will crumple as soon as you don’t have access to those amenities.
Design your routine so that it can be done anywhere.
This will allow you to be self-reliant and resilient to planned or unexpected changes to your environment.
Make it sustainable
Does it take less than 20 minutes?
If your morning routine takes more than 20 minutes (30 max) you will eventually despise it.
Your routine should be something to look forward to. Make it short and effective.
Make it feel good
Does your routine prime your mind and body for the day?
Ultimately, the end goal of a morning routine is to put your mind and body in a better state than it was when you woke up.
If the routine doesn’t feel good for you, then you must ask yourself what are you accomplishing by doing it.
I have been guilty of designing morning routines that are way too long.
Learning from my mistakes, this is what I now follow:
Make my bed
Drink 1L of water
Meditate (10–15 mins)
Journal (5 mins)
Optional: sunlight exposure, one set of push-ups to get my blood flowing
After my routine, I kick off my morning by tackling the most challenging work―“eating my frog”―I need to complete that day.
🧠 Cultivate Purpose
The 3 Dimensions Of Happiness
Happy people have an abundance of and a balance across three ingredients that create happiness: enjoyment, satisfaction, and purpose.
Here is how you can cultivate each in your life:
To be happy, you must enjoy the days that make up your life.
I break this down by examining the three major components of life:
Where we spend our time – Location
How we spend our time – Job and Activities
Who we spend it with – Life Partner, Family, and Friends
You can think of enjoyment as pleasure plus elevation
For example, Christmas dinner gives you satisfaction because it fills your belly and tastes good. But to get true enjoyment out of it, you must also enjoy the experience of eating dinner with the other people at the table.
The experience of sharing a meal with the people you love creates a lasting memory, which signals true enjoyment of your experience.
“I can’t get no satisfaction” – (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones
As Mick Jagger points out in the song (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, satisfaction itself is fleeting.
The feeling of satisfaction arises after achieving an outcome or meeting a goal but rapidly dissipates as we set our sights on the next thing.
For that reason, it is important to always have a goal to work towards.
Humans are outcome-driven creatures. We derive much of our positive emotion from giving ourselves the responsibility of working towards a goal and then taking the actions to attain it.
Your purpose is your meaning in life.
Why were you born and for what are you willing to die? – Arthur Brooks, Ph.D., professor at Harvard University
Arthur suggests that if you can’t answer one or both of those questions, you have a serious meaning problem.
The happiest people have an understanding of life bigger than themselves whereas the most miserable people are always focusing on me, me, me.
This ability to zoom out and gain perspective on the bigger picture allows you to stop focusing on yourself for a while.
In turn, you gain some relief from being self-centered and have a chance to think about what your grand purpose in the world is.
These two brain states are often compared by describing the “I self” and the “me self.”
The “I self” is outward-looking and observational. It is the state that gives you relief from a comparing mind and the chance to define your purpose in the world.
The “me self” is reflective of the outside world. It is the comparing mind, constantly scanning your surroundings and comparing your job, money, career, friends, house, commute, me, me, me to others around you (or on social media).
Reflect on your life to determine which of these ingredients is missing or could be improved upon, and then slowly take the actions required to fortify each dimension.
Happiness will follow.
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Much love to you and yours,
P.S. If you enjoyed today’s newsletter, follow me @jackrossdixon on Twitter for daily tweets and threads on how to live longer, feel healthier, and cultivate purpose while living simply.
I loved the part on cultivating ignorance. To an extent, it can be blissful.
I joke that I would trust the news more if, some days, they said "Hey, nothing worth knowing about happened today." But rather, there are exciting, devastating, "newsworthy" events every single day...
Deleting email off my phone and going on 'Do not Disturb' from 7am-5pm lowered daily cortisol.