Many of us have heard the saying, “You cannot serve from an empty cup.”
It sounds cliché, but the image makes sense—imagine if instead of finding your happiness from a full coffee cup each morning, you spent time looking inward, cultivating your own sense of contentment, filling your emotional and spiritual cup.
Cue the “hour of power.”
I was first introduced to this life-changing concept through Jack Canfield, world-renowned speaker, trainer, and author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Ever since Jack’s words first resonated with me, I have read and listened to countless well-respected leaders that tout the benefits of starting their day in the wee hours of the morning, each with their own version of the hour of power.
Jack sums it up by saying, “The morning is the most important time of the day. If you spend an hour a day doing these three things, you will be happier in life, healthier, and more motivated than you’ve ever felt.”
What are those three things?
Each of us can find unique activities that help us to feel healthy and at peace. For me, this is spending the first hour or so of my morning engaging in practices like meditation, exercise, reading, mindful walking, and yoga.
I choose three habits every morning to practice for 20 minutes each, making up my one hour of power. Knowing that I have carved out this time to spend doing things that I love makes me much more eager to wake up in the morning. This is a refreshing change from the dreadful feeling of snoozing my alarm and rolling out of bed, only to be catapulted into a day of giving to other people.
Let’s take a closer look at what it practically looks like to practice a few of these activities in your own hour of power.
Below is one example of what an energizing hour of power might look like.
Meditation (20 minutes)
In my opinion, meditation is one of the best practices you can do for yourself. Taking time each day to connect to my inner world, lean into the emotions begging for my attention, and strengthen my ability to focus never ceases to pay dividends in my life.
After 15 years of trial and error with this habit, I have found that the Muse meditation headband is a great tool for building a consistent meditation practice. It uses biofeedback to measure brainwave activity and tells you for what percentage of the meditation your mind was calm, neutral, or active. This has enabled me to more easily detach from thoughts, planning, and anything else running through my mind.
Whether you choose to splurge on the Muse or meditate the old–fashioned way, meditation helps us notice throughout the day when we get triggered and become reactive, allowing us to slow down and reconnect to our best selves. If you’re looking for more specific tips on practicing meditation, some of my favorite techniques are RAIN and Tonglen.
Journaling (20 minutes)
One of my favorite things in life is cracking open a new journal from a stationary store, with fresh, untouched pages and starting to write with a new colored pen. Though journaling can look different for everyone, my current practice starts with gratitude—I list out all of the blessings in my life at that moment. This helps rewire my brain to focus on feelings of abundance rather than scarcity.
Next, I take some time to vent about whatever I am currently experiencing emotionally, which I find to be an excellent emotional release. Another journaling technique that has been helpful for both me and my clients is writing a letter to a higher power—God, the universe, higher self, or another form that resonates—and also writing that higher power’s response. The response can often be the nurturing, comforting words we need to hear.
Reading (20 minutes)
I used to buy books, read the first 20 pages in the bookstore, and then rarely pick them up again, but adding 20 minutes of reading to my hour of power has made me a real reader. In fact, I often find that once the 20 minutes are up, it doesn’t feel like enough and I want to keep going.
By adding a consistent reading practice to your hour of power, you’ll be surprised how quickly you will finish books. I recommend reading books that you find inspiring and motivating to get your mind in a clear and uplifted place so that you can set yourself up for success each morning.
Looking to implement the hour of power in your own life? Experiment by starting your day like this for the next 30 days. Note any shifts in your mood, energy levels, and mindset.
It may just be the thing that you need to start waking up with excitement each morning.