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How a Morning Routine Can Impact Mental Health

How a Morning Routine Can Impact Mental Health

By Liam McLeod • Rumble Contributor | One of the most important things I have come to realize in life is that happiness is something that is earned, not given. It took me a long time to understand that in order to be happy in life, you have to go out of your way every single day and do something that has the chance to bring some sort of light to your day. It took me even longer to realize that the same was true (for me) when it came to dealing with anxiety. 

When I first started experiencing extreme bouts of anxiety in college, I always looked at it as something that could be cured, or something that I would eventually no longer have. But as I dealt with horrible anxiety over the next four years, I came to learn that wasn’t the case. I researched anxiety, its causes and treatments, almost religiously. I tried to figure out how to stop panic attacks and rid myself of the almost-constant anxiety I was experiencing. Some things worked, others didn’t, and I was still blind-sided almost every other day with varying levels of panic attacks and perpetual anxiety. 

However, over the past few months my mental health has soared, and I am no longer bogged down by nonstop anxiety or surprised by panic attacks. I attribute this to a couple different factors, but one stands out among the rest. 

I forget exactly where I heard it, but through my research I learned that panics attacks are the body’s reaction to something the brain doesn’t know it’s anxious about yet. Obviously everyone’s anxiety stems from different sources, but that notion struck a chord with me. I realized how noisy my life was. If I wasn’t in class or studying, I was on my phone, hanging out with my friends or doing anything but sitting and looking inward. I figured out that my brain had no time to process anything by itself. Things I was anxious about, but never thought about, eventually bubbled over into intense panics attacks. I decided that I was going to start meditating each morning and attempt to give myself time to review everything that was happening in my life. 

For anyone that has ever tried meditating, you know how hard of a task it is. I was terrible at it. I could never fully follow the breathing patterns, I hated sitting still for that long and most of the times I tried, I would just end up falling asleep. I gave up on it and the anxiety continued. 

At the beginning of spring this year I decided to try to pick up Yoga. One of the very first things I learned was how important breathing patterns are to Yoga. My mind immediately jumped back to my days of trying to meditate and everything started to click. I memorized a few of the “flows” from the Yoga classes I attended online and then started to go through the same breathing exercises I had l studied while learning to meditate. Suddenly I had a meditation practice that actually worked for me. I found it easy to dissect my day and review my weeks while stretching and maintaining a constant breath rate. I finally had the perfect quiet time for my brain to just sit there and be my brain, no stimulation, just me sitting there thinking. 

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I can’t say this is the only reason my anxiety has subsided, but I can say that I am no longer blindsided by panics attacks. When I feel one coming on, I find it almost easy to recall the things I thought about while doing Yoga and remember “oh this is the reason I feel anxious right now.” It’s unrealistic to imagine I do my Yoga meditation every day, and even more unrealistic to think that every time I do it I have some sort of profound realization. However, I can say that even though I miss days, as long as I have done my practice recently the effects last. This won’t work for everyone, but I urge people to have quiet time for their brain every once in a while, no stimulation, just you. 

 

Liam McLeod is a Haywood County native and recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he studied philosophy and political science. He currently works as a raft guide at the White Water Center in Charlotte. McLeod is an avid adventurer, learner and joy seeker. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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