Would you describe yourself as a morning person? Are you more of a night owl? Or maybe you’re like many of us, and you’re more of a permanently exhausted pigeon! However you feel in the morning, one thing is usually certain: mornings are the most stressful parts of our day. As a result, we rarely feel as though we’re happy or comfortable in our morning routines. We certainly don’t feel as if we’re seizing the day! But wouldn’t it be great if you could reclaim your mornings? What if, instead of stumbling out of bed and smacking your alarm clock, you could curate a morning routine that supercharges your day for the better? Jordan Gross believes you absolutely can. And over the course of this summary, we’re going to examine his five-step strategy called “Getting COMFY.” And if comfy sounds like the last thing you are in the mornings, just keep reading — and get ready to get comfy!
Chapter 1: C is for Calm
If you’ve already guessed that COMFY is an acronym, you’re on the right track! That’s why the first stop on our journey to getting comfy is “calm.” Now, if you’re like most people, calm probably isn’t the first feeling that characterizes your morning. Instead, you likely feel stressed, restless, or overwhelmed as you contemplate the host of things you have to do today. But the author firmly believes that our mornings set the tone for the rest of our day, and that’s exactly why it’s so important to start your morning right. Because if your morning — the starting point of your day — begins with stress, it follows naturally that your stress will only intensify in conjunction with your daily responsibilities. So, how can you infuse your mornings with calm?
The author recommends jump-starting your day with a little bit of mindfulness. Instead of spending your early waking moments scrolling through Instagram or getting a head start on those emails awaiting your attention, Gross advises taking a few moments to practice some mindful meditation. If you don’t have a lot of time to yourself in the mornings or you’re not familiar with the practice of mindfulness, don’t worry! Gross observes that even five minutes can make a big difference!
Just start by finding a relaxing position to sit in. Your ideal stance should find you relaxed enough that your body is at ease — so, not too rigid — but not so relaxed that you’re slouching or slumping into the floor. Ideally, you should simply sit in such a way that you can feel your breath moving through every part of your body and find your body’s core. Once you’re in position, the next step is to concentrate on your breathing. Because breathing is an involuntary task, we rarely give much thought to our breathing or how it feels. But mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and being aware of your body’s sensations. So, start by noticing how it feels to slowly inhale andexhale. Do you feel your heartbeat slowing down? Do you feel your body releasing stress?
As you ease into a gentle awareness of your breathing, the next step is to integrate a calming mantra or message. This mantra can be adapted to become anything you want it to be; the only requirement for your mantra is that it should be calming and relevant to you. For example, you could say something like, “I am whole, I am creative, and I am capable of change.” Other great examples of mantras include statements like, “Show up,” “Dare to be present,” or “Let go and let God” if you are religious. Repeating this mantra with your eyes closed while you concentrate on your breathing is a great way to bring some calm to your day! Although you might think it sounds overly simplistic, mindfulness is proven to generate relaxation and a sense of peace. At the very least, it’s guaranteed to break up your typical morning routine and provide you with a more calming start to the day than the things you typically do!
But if you tend to be pretty drowsy in the mornings and you’re worried that you might fall asleep sitting up, the author recommends incorporating some light yoga exercises into your mindfulness to combat the morning fatigue. Don’t worry if you’re not an instant yoga master; some simple stretches will do! Even touching your toes, rolling your shoulders, and loosening up your neck will help you feel more awake (and more healthy!) for the day to come. And last but not least, the author advises us to be aware of our surroundings. It’s important that your environment be calming as well because our physical surroundings have a significant impact on our state of mind. For example, it’s pretty tough to concentrate on feeling calm and relaxed if you’re surrounded by dirty diapers, your husband’s socks, and stacks of laundry waiting to be put away! So, find a location that’s free of clutter and distractions and allow it to elevate your mind. And if you would find it more relaxing, you could even try morning mindfulness in your local park or on the beach if you live near the sea! Being deliberately calm may take some time and practice, but the author promises that it will improve the start of your day.
Chapter 2: O is for Openness
Would you consider yourself to be a fairly open-minded person? Are you quick to say yes to new experiences and forge connections with others? Do you find it easy to reveal information about yourself and listen to the stories of others? The stress and pressure of our daily lives can make it hard to stay open; we often feel as though life is trying to flatten us with all the force of a steamroller, so it’s easy to put up walls that will protect us. But the author observes that openness is closely connected to peace. We can’tbe calm if we’re closed off and guarded and that’s why it’s important to open ourselves up to new connections.
So, take the opportunity to have a chat with your Uber driver. Ask how your barista’s day is going. Smile at a stranger. Give a random compliment. You’ll be surprised at the amount of new connections you make and new things you can learn! But if you find these things difficult, it may be because you struggle to even be open with yourself. Although you may not be aware of it, it’s easy for us to lose touch with ourselves when we’re surrounded by the blips and bleeps of constant incoming notifications from our phones and laptops. As a result, we may feel disengaged from our own thoughts, dreams, and vulnerabilities. And if this is true for you, then you will undoubtedly struggle to connect with others or achieve fulfilling relationships.
To remedy this, the author suggests incorporating some light journaling into your morning routine. This can take place after you’ve finished your mindfulness but before you dive into the rest of your day. And ideally, it should occur before you have to engage with any other people. Remove yourself from the presence of electronic or human distractions and take a few moments to focus on you. In these moments where you’re alone with your journal, don’t worry about presenting the best version of yourself or behaving as the “you” you hope other people see. Instead, just be raw, vulnerable, and real. Write about what you’re afraid of. Write about what makes you anxious. Write about your insecurities and what you hope to accomplish. Write some positive affirmations for the day. These few moments of being open with yourself will help you to strengthen your sense of self and your ability to be open with others!
Chapter 3: M is for Movement
You already know movement is a big part of your day, but are you often intentional about it? Do you make a habit of staying active and getting exercise? Or do you shuffle glumly from your bedroom to the kitchen, rush through your morning commute, and avoid activity unless it’s absolutely necessary? Most of us fall into the latter camp, so if that’s you, you’re not alone! But the author argues that if this describes you, it’s vital for you to incorporate some exercise into your morning routine. And (spoiler alert) that morning yoga he recommended doesn’t cut it! That’s because yoga is calming; it’s meant to connect your body with your mind and help you establish a calm and gradual start to the day. But to really fulfil the physical exercise part of this step, you’ve got to get your heart pumping.
To that end, the author recommends going for a short run and doing a quick rep of weightlifting at the gym. Because these activities are short and fast, they get yourheart pumping and your blood flowing. And believe it or not, they can also serve as a helpful emotional outlet! To prove this, the author cites an example from his own life. One morning, he had woken up to the most disappointing news he could hear: his application for his dream job had been rejected. After weeks of eagerly looking forward to an acceptance letter and the hope of starting his life anew, a curt email told him it was not to be. What would you do if that happened to you? Would it change your mood for the entire day? Would you drag through your day feeling deflated and dejected? Most of us would, but the author had learned that his COMFY routine could help him power through moments of intense disappointment.
So, he went about his usual routine and tried to concentrate on channeling his emotions into the execution of his COMFY strategies. And rather than resisting these emotions or allowing them to overcome him, he found that when he poured them into his routine, the activities actually helped him to feel better! He found that this was especially true with the “movement” part of his routine, because after beating his frustration into a punching bag at the gym, he discovered that he felt freer, lighter, and more empowered. And as a result, he was able to channel his emotions into creating positive change for his future! So, be intentional about moving during your morning. You’ll be surprised by the benefits you’ll reap!
Chapter 4: F is for Funny
You know the old saying — laughter is the best medicine! The author has experienced this truth firsthand and that’s why he’s made it part of the COMFY routine. Humor is essential to establishing a happy and healthy life because joy is the opposite of anxiety. You can’t be sad or worried when you’re lost in laughter, so the author advises seeking out as many funny moments as possible. It’s especially important to incorporate humor into your morning routine because, as we discussed in the first chapter, your morning sets the tone for your day. So, if you start your day off with laughter, it will be easier to find joy and levity all day long!
But how do you go about it? How do you find the funny in every day? Gross observes that, as with every other part of the COMFY routine, you have to be intentional about seeking joy. That may involve cultivating some new habits and eliminating some unhealthy ones. For example, if your current morning routine involves turning on the news first thing, you will quickly get overloaded with negativity before you even get out of bed! Depressing headlines can affect you more than you think, so be aware of these bad mood triggers, and make a commitment to cut this negativity out of your morning routine. If you want to engage with the news at some point each day, you may find it helpful to do so later in the afternoon, after you’ve already established a positive vibe for the day. You can replace your morning dose of depression with something deliberatelyuplifting, like watching a new video clip from a comedian every morning, checking out a funny comic strip in the paper, or sharing funny things with a friend.
Gross calls these things your “Positive News Network” and it’s important that you feed the network to keep the happy content coming! One way to do this is to find what Gross calls a designated “funny buddy.” Your funny buddy can be a friend, family member, or acquaintance with whom you swap bits of joy throughout the day. For example, you might establish a pattern of sending each other funny cat memes every day or telling each other a joke every time you meet. These strategies might sound overly simplistic — you may even wonder why you haven’t thought of them yourself! — but Gross believes they can make all the difference in the world. So, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it; actively cultivate your Positive News Network today and make it a lasting part of your morning routine!
Chapter 5: Y is for Your True Passion
What is your true passion? What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? What really makes your soul feel alive? Your true passion will look different for everyone; for some people, it might be making people laugh and becoming a comedian. For others, it might be pursuing their creative drive by becoming a writer, painter, or dancer. These might be the avenues you think of when you consider the concept of “passion,” but the author wants to remind you that passion is not limited to our traditional conceptualizations! For example, if you’re a volunteer at a homeless shelter, your true passion might be making the world a better place for people without home. Or maybe you’re a baker because your passion is making delicious cakes that will bring joy to others. And true passion isn’t limited to those who have a career! For example, if you’re a stay-at-home-mother or a volunteer with an animal shelter, you might be passionate about pouring your love and effort into your children or into homeless pets. Passion can take unlimited forms, so don’t be afraid to identify yours!
And once you’ve identified your passion, the next step is to live into it proudly! In the context of the author’s advice, this means incorporating that passion into your COMFY routine in some form or another. For example, if your passion is your children, take some time each morning to dwell on what you love about your children and how you can nurture them each day. Similarly, if your passion is writing, you might lengthen the journaling part of your day or expand it to incorporate a moment to write a short story or a poem as it strikes your fancy. No matter what your passion is, there’s a pretty good chance that you can incorporate it into your COMFY routine and conquer two objectives in one go: getting your morning off to a positive start and dedicating some time to your passion!
Chapter 6: Final Summary
We often think of mornings as our least favorite parts of the day. We make jokes about it, share memes on Facebook, or wear t-shirts that proudly proclaim us to be, “Not a morning person!” But Jordan Gross believes we can change that and reclaim our mornings for the better. And it all starts with getting COMFY. So, as you build your COMFY routine and curate a morning that brings joy, remember to follow the five steps of COMFY: Calm, Openness, Movement, Funny, and Your True Passion!
By starting your mornings with a little bit of mindfulness, exercise, journaling, humor, and passion, you can cultivate a meaningful routine that will reward you with a happy life. And as a result of pursuing these five simple practices, you’ll find that you’re happier, healthier, and more motivated throughout your day. Who knows — you might even start looking forward to mornings!