by Neil Pasrisha, author of You Are Awesome
"Be willing to be a beginner every morning."
– Meister Eckhart
Do you know the clichéd Catholic confessional scene from the movies?
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned," says the rubberist on bent knees behind the metal grating. "I put Tony-Faced Tony in a vice at the deli and hacked him out of the family."
I did not grow up Catholic, but it always seemed interesting to me that the confession was a religious practice.
I looked at this as part of my research for my new book on resilience You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure and Live an Intentional Life. I found that it's not just Catholicism! The confession is an integral part of many world religions from Catholicism to Islam to Judaism to Mormonism to Buddhism.
During the ages of our species coming to their own, across different geographies, different times, different backgrounds, we were somehow all wise enough to include a little emotional geyser of confession as part of how we lived and worshiped together .
It seems to me if we can process and formulate a worry of conscious swimming in our brains. . . we actually pull them out of our minds. We extract them. We eradicate them. The concerns are pulled out of the wet dirt below and suddenly, like little little worms, sit on the hot pavement in front of us where, during today's hot glare, we just know that they will not stick around.
The thing is today we live in an increasingly secular society. Many of us live without a confessional. I think that's why we've seen the emergence of websites that PostSecret, an incredible project where Frank Warren collects, curates and publishes anonymous artistic confessions created on postcards sent to him. What is this little confession project? An almost billion hit website, six New York Times bestsellers and a top-rated TED Talk. Plus, the postcard confessions themselves go around galleries around the world and live at the Smithsonian.
We want to admit. We have to admit. We have to admit. We have a common desire to pull out and process things we worry about instead of letting them sit deep inside and party.
Some fascinating research published in Science magazine by neuroscience Stefanie Brassen and her colleagues supports how healing it can be to reveal. Their study, titled Don't Look Back in Anger!: Responsiveness to Missed Opportunities for Successful and Failed Aging, shows that minimizing regret as we age creates greater satisfaction and happiness. The research also shows that holding on to repentance causes us to take more aggressive and risky measures in the future. So the healthiest and happiest people are aware of the regrets they have and then choose to release them.
Want to know how to do this?
Here is the two minute morning practice.  Every morning I take an index card or diary and write these three instructions:
 I strive to complete the instructions every day.
So in a recent post, I wrote:
It only takes two minutes to do, and the difference in my life has been both immediate and incredible.
Completing three simple sentences helps me "win the morning", which helps me start "winning the day."
We are all awake for about 1000 minutes a day. That's all! So isn't it worth taking two of these minutes to help the other 998 be as good as possible? It is an incredible lever that you can use to even out yourself.
To reveal some mental anguish on a paper has been incredibly healing for me. Because they are crazy as it sounds, when we print our little troubles, they disappear.
- I have five kilos of ghosts on my stomach.
- I am worried about what school my child will attend next year.
- 19659027] I think I said wrong in an important email yesterday.
Want to know what happens when I return to my diary weeks later? "Oh," I think to myself. "What email was I worried about again?" I often do not remember what the cause of the concern was.
What about the major unrest? Say your mom is sick. Very ill. This may be her last days. Will the two-minute morning exercise still help? Yes. It will. As you say it, you process it, you admit how you feel it, so that the weight can be examined and recognized.
Also, the next question is "I am grateful for…" So you force your brain to find small positives even in a larger negative situation. "I got to read my mom the book she read to me when I was little," "Nurse Jasmine brought me a coffee," "My kids all came home for the weekend for the first time this year."
It is a simple exercise that allows for a quick therapeutic breath and a small moment of presence from our future-oriented minds. Two minutes of exercise in the morning will help you feel better and get more done as you perform a mental release.
You reveal healing.
Putting your brain in a better space.
Showing up as your better self
We know from a large study called The Benefits of Frequent Positive Influence: Does Happiness Happen to Success? you have 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales and three times as much creativity as your group. There are big gains, all achieved by taking a few moments to drop something, feel grateful and get some focus on your day.
- "I will let go. . . possessed by the hairy birthmark on my arm. "
- " I will let go. . . felt embarrassed that I left the spin class completely breathless for five minutes. "
- " I will let go. . . to worry because I crushed my three-year-old by yelling at him to put on his shoes. "
And what about gratitude? Why do we have to write them down?
Research by Professors Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough shows that if you write down five thanks a week, you will be measurably happier and even physically healthier over a ten-week period. And the more specific, the better. Writing "family, food and work" or something similar vaguely over and over does not cause any happiness.
Our minds do not relive any specific experience in that way. Try things like:
- “I'm grateful for that. . . Trooper learning to shake a paw. "
- " I am grateful for that. . . cinnamon bun smell in the train station. "
- " I am grateful for that. . . Rodriguez puts down the toilet seat. ”
You get the idea.
I imagine gratitude after having just thrown out an anxiety similar to a Zamboni rushing through my nerve networks, smoothing everything out, splashing freezing cold water over all my thoughts.
And now finally the focus.
What does “I will focus on. . . "Help us do?
Now that you've revealed and healed, cleansed your mental ice cream, it's time to remove the endless list of things you can do and focus on the things you will do.  Why ? Because if you don't, you will mentally go through your list of all things throughout the day.
And it will only cause fatigue.
Energy for decision making uses a particularly complex part of the brain and we waste energy as Florida State professor of psychology Roy Baumeister and New York Times journalist John Tierney said in Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength, "Decision fatigue helps explain why usually sensible people become angry with colleagues and families, wasting clothes, buying junk food at the supermarket and can't resist the dealer's offer to rust-proof their new car. onell and high quality you are trying to be, you can not make decisions after decisions without paying a biological price. It is different from ordinary physical fatigue – you are not consciously aware that you are tired – but you have some mental energy. "
Releasing stress like this early in the morning helps me mentally avoid visiting a worry throughout the day.
Writing some things that I am grateful for helps me to be more positive every day.
And focusing my attention on one big goal of the day actually seals the deal.
Pure ice and pure thinking to get back on track.
Reveal to heal.
And of course I would like to hear from YOU in the comments section.
Which point in this post resonated most today?
Something else to share?
Please leave a comment below.
Author Bio: Neil Pasricha is a Canadian writer, entrepreneur, podcast, and speaker characterized by his advocacy of positivity and simple pleasures, and is best known for his The Book of Awesome series and The Happiness Equatio n, who is an international best-seller, and his brand new book, You Are Awesome, is out today.