One Easy Way to Improve How You Start Your Day

Does this describe your morning?

Woman drinking a cup of coffee while reading a book.

You wake up and pick up your phone. You scroll through the news or Instagram or Twitter.

Sound familiar?

I used to begin my day this way, too. But then I made a change that’s led to more positive, productive mornings.

It’s tempting to pick up our phones first thing in the morning and interact with the outside world.

We’re recognizing that social media is causing unhappiness and anxiety. As Henrik Chulu writes, social media and smartphones “amplify offline stressors as well such as when you witness people you care about go through stressful situations.”

So what can you do instead of ogling over your phone?

A better daily start

Here’s the change I made to my morning routine that’s eased my anxiety and increased my positivity: I started reading poems.

Every day I pour myself a cup of coffee, flick on a lamp, and sit down to read a poem or two or three.

This action allows my mind to wake into a spirit of creativity. While the caffeine in the coffee works into my bloodstream, so does a presence of artistry.

It’s only after downing some poetry that I look at my phone or flip open my laptop. And by then, I have no desire to check social media or read the news.

Instead, I’m ready to write or work on Bidwell Hollow.

The best part of this new routine is that you can do it, too. All you need are poems.

One guiding principle

I recommend one guiding principle. Read poems in physical books or eBooks, not on your phone or computer.

This way, you’re not tempted to flip to a social media app, check sports scores, or read the news. Besides, it’s easy and affordable to get poetry books.

Used books have been some of the best poetry collections I’ve read. I’ve snatched these up at library book sales or estate sales. These books at most cost me a few dollars.

There’s also a large number, at least in the U.S., of university and Indie presses that publish poetry. These books generally cost between $10-$17.

Or, check a lending library in your neighborhood to see if it has poetry books. At the very least, ask a bookish friend if they have a book of poems you can borrow.

Go forth and read

What if you’ve never before read poetry? Or, what if the poems you read confuse or don’t make sense to you?

That’s OK. Exposure to writing outside our comfort zone or to what we don’t understand can be fruitful.

Some of my most artistic mornings have come after reading a poem I didn’t get because doing so put me in a frame of mind of possibilities.

After all, isn’t art about what can be out of nothing?

So, find a book of poems. Bring it home. Begin reading it tomorrow morning.

And enjoy a more fulfilling start to your day.

This article originally appeared on Medium on Sep. 11, 2019.