The Most Important Minutes of Your Day

The Most Important Minutes of Your Day
Do you make the most of the most important minutes of your day?

If you are like most people in the “human race,” you are so busy running through the paces of your day that you are not sure which minutes would rate as being most important. And even if you knew how to differentiate them from the other precious minutes of the day, how would you find the time to make the most of them?

Research shows that your mind is the most open and receptive to receiving information during the first and last five minutes of every day, when transitioning between consciousness and subconsciousness — while in alpha state.[1]

Ironically, Americans report experiencing more stress than ever before, yet almost 70 percent still start the day with a blaring buzzer. There’s even a spike in heart attacks from the alarm on Monday mornings, which sends stressed out people right over the edge into cardiac arrest. [2] Needless to say, it is neurologically stressful to start your day in a physiological state of alarm.

Sleep deprivation is affecting millions of people every night,

Insomnia is affecting millions of people every night and is a leading cause of health issues like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.[3]

Sleep is the new sex — Sleeping pills now lead the list of most commonly prescribed medications by physicians.[4] Yet, most Americans still tuck themselves in at night with the negative news on TV, or with the stimulating glare from their electronic devices. If you don’t want your subconscious mind to have you tossing and turning all night, then it is best to steer clear of the negative noise and e-energy before bedtime.[5]

It’s time for some good news!

Instead of bookending your day with blaring buzzers and negative news, you can easily and enjoyably maximize your alpha minutes to create the life of your dreams. Here are three easy options for you:

Don’t just do something! Just lie there!

Resist the temptation to race out of bed as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. And at night, when you lay yourself down to sleep, “just say no” to turning on your electronic device and checking your email. Instead, infuse these magical moments with inspiration, and envision fulfilling your goals and dreams. Take advantage of these invaluable times to program your subconscious with positive thoughts, gratitude, visualization and affirmations. Bookending your day with meaningful inspiration is the easiest way to influence everything in between.

Get on a new thought track.

Studies show that your mind’s neurotransmitters are like train tracks, and thought patterns are formed like well-traveled train routes. To create new positive thought patterns, the initial positive thought is crucial to “laying down new tracks,” creating new positive thought routes and letting “grass grow” on the old thought tracks. And, while in alpha state, when your mind is the most open, take advantage of this optimal time to get new the thoughts rolling in the right direction on a new train of thought.

Start your day with a dress rehearsal.

Imagine yourself participating positively in your day during your morning meditation. See yourself successfully completing your tasks, accomplishing your daily goals and using your gifts for good, in the same way an elite athlete or Broadway performer prepares for an event or performance. Your subconscious believes the images and feelings you send it in your visualizations and can’t differentiate between your inner reality and “real world” out there. Having starred in Broadway musicals for 15 years, I personally experienced the benefits of visualizing my performance before every show.

Dream on your way to dreamland.

Visualize completing goals you are working to accomplish just before you fall asleep. You’ll give your subconscious six to eight hours to work on them while you are sound asleep. Allowing your subconscious to work for you while you sleep can give you that extra advantage you’ve been dreaming of for years!

For more by Robin Palmer, click here

For Robin’s GPS for the Soul guide, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.


1. John Kounios et al., “The Prepared Mind: Neural Activity Prior to Problem Presentation Predicts Solution by Sudden Insight,” Psychological Science 17 (2006): 882-980; Mark Jung-Beeman et al., “Neural Activity Observed in People Solving Verbal Problems with Insight,” Public Library of Science – Biology 2 (2004) 500-10

2. Bora Zivkovic; Scientific American –

3. Shankar A, Syamala S, Kalidindi S (2010) Insufficient Rest or Sleep and Its Relation to Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Obesity in a National, Multiethnic Sample. PLoS ONE 5(11): e14189. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014189

4. International Narcotics Control Board. Psychotropic Substances: Statistics for 2008; Assessments of Annual Medical and Scientific Requirements for Substances in Schedules II, III and IV of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. New York: United Nations, 2010.

5. Ullrich Wagner and Jan Born, “Sleep Inspires Insight,” Nature 427 (2004): 352-55.

Sleep — A Competitive Advantage
In my role as a leader, I have become an evangelist about healthy sleep. I am exploring how sleep correlates to my overall well-being, the health of my employees, and ultimately its effect on the bottom line. Could a well rested, eight hours a night for every employee be the new competitive advantage?

This is an important conversation for us all to engage in, and experts such as Dr. Charles Czeisler, head of Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine, and others are convinced that the role of corporate America is to lead a social revolution making sleep the third pillar of health. The sleep experts are leading the charge, along with influencers from a variety of industries and communities.

This past May in Cambridge, Mass. I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Harvard Corporate Sleep Summit. Julia Kirby of the Harvard Business Review was present along with myself, our ICAN Board Chair Scott Focht and fellow representatives from Procter & Gamble, Twitter, Sysco, Wal-Mart and Eli Lilly.

The conversation was dynamic and enlightening. So, what if we all “woke up” to the reality that healthy sleep leads to better outcomes, happier lives and a more productive society? What if our employees were not required to be “on 24-7,” but rather alive with energy and fully engaged? Could we have, as a nation, a new competitive advantage if companies across the country took a stand that sleep was the third pillar of health, alongside diet and exercise?

Three years later, I now average six to seven hours of sleep and am working my way to eight. On my personal journey to healthy sleep, I have learned what constitutes unhealthy sleep and the deadly link to heart disease, depression, attention deficit, and so many other physical and emotional issues.

Here are a few facts on how this movement might contribute to a thriving individual, team and organization:

Acute or chronic insomnia affects nearly a quarter of all U.S. workers, resulting in 367 million lost workdays per year and a cost to employers of nearly63.2 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. (The Fiscal Times, July 2013, “How a bad night’s sleep can ruin your career”)

Lack of sleep affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the area that controls innovation, self-control and creativity.

Sleep deprivation affects an employee’s learning, memory, critical problem solving, ethical decision making, creativity and innovation in the workplace. (The Fiscal Times, July 2013, “How a bad night’s sleep can ruin your career”)

Sleep loss can impair judgment, impacts the frontal lobe of the brain and has negative effects on decision-making such as sensitivity to risk-taking, moral reasoning and inhibitions. (Maclean’s, June 2013, “The Sleep Crisis”)

Changing work cultures and constant connection to smartphones and digital devices is wreaking havoc with many Americans’ sleep patterns. (Huffington Post, May 2013, “5 Things You Should Know About Sleep Health in the Workplace)

I first heard the statement “sleep is the new sex” from Marian Salzman, a futurist and trend analyst who spoke at our 2009 ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference. In other words, no longer was seeking intimacy at the end of our long day a priority, but rather the deliciousness of uninterrupted sleep.

At that time I hadn’t slept for a year — at least not through the night — and as for sex, well — whatever! I woke up exhausted, feeling burdened by the 3 a.m. endless, often torturous conversations with only myself. Those diatribes meticulously reviewed every single aspect of my life — money, work, relationships, career, family and the minutia of the everyday — all the way through my life until I died. Which, by 6 o’clock in the morning, I was convinced was imminent.

I am here to tell you — a good night’s sleep is better than sex, and if you have healthy sleep, you may once again want sex. The world looks brighter already, doesn’t it?

Janis Joplin On Rejection: An Animated Interview
On Sept. 30 1970, four days before Janis Joplin’s death, she gave what would be her final interview. Forty-three years later (almost to the date), that interview, done by Howard Smith, was given new life when it was animated by multimedia nonprofit group Blank on Blank.

Joplin talks about topics like insecurities, rejection, why there weren’t women in the band and her feelings about the Women’s Liberation Movement. Given Joplin’s powerhouse persona, you might be surprised by some of the things she has to say.

“Did all that s*** I said about chicks sound bad?” Joplin asks. Joplin’s insecurities make it easy to relate to her, but her comments also highlight the internal oppression she feels in what she considers a patriarchal society.

In the interview, Joplin discusses the battle to feel validation within yourself, and to not view other women as competition.

Via Blank on Blank


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