[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow many times have we heard that morning is the most important part of the day?
It’s true. The way that we begin our day has a definite impact on how the rest of the day unfolds. We can choose to be proactive and set ourselves up for success, or we can choose to just let things unfold as they may.
Since how we begin our day is so important, why would we choose to be lax in our morning routine? We certainly don’t have to be and we’ll show a few different ways to make the morning more productive.
Here are 6 morning habits that we can practice to guarantee a great day…
1. Stretch – even before getting out of bed.
Stretching is as important as getting regular exercise. Most people do not know this, and as a result stretching is often a neglected practice. Not only is stretching important for your body, it’s also important for your mind.
Here are some benefits to stretching:
– Stretching helps with posture.
– Stretching improves flexibility by increasing the range of motion.
– Stretching decreases injury by warming up the muscles before activity.
– Stretching increases blood flow and nutrient supply to muscles.
-Stretching helps to calm the mind.
– Stretching releases both physical and mental tension.
To increase the effectiveness of stretching, try these tips:
– Stretch muscles that you know are tight, focusing more of the stretching routine on these areas.
– Practice one long-duration stretch session each week. Take 30-45 minutes doing flexibility work, even if you would normally use this time for a different exercise routine.
2. Set your intentions for the day.
Intentions are important to fulfilling our wants and needs; whether it is related to love, money, relationships, or something else. As such, you should consider spending some time in the morning setting your intentions for the day.
Here are some steps to help set your daily intentions.
– Meditate. So often, our minds are busy dealing with constant inner dialogue – emotions, thoughts, and memories – all of which can detract us from being truly conscious about what we hope to achieve. Meditation assists with this by quieting the mind.
– Release your intentions. The best time to do this is after a period of restful awareness, such as meditation. After releasing the intention, simply let it go and don’t think about it. Spend a few minutes after each meditation releasing your intentions.
– Remain centered. Intentions are more powerful when done from a state of contentment than from state of lack or need. Refuse to allow doubts and criticisms to creep into your consciousness. Understand that your higher power knows that everything is all right and will continue to be, even if you don’t currently understand the details of what is to take place.
3. Drink plenty of water.
After a period of sleep, your body is certain to be dehydrated. This is true even if you cannot “feel” the dehydration or “feel” the need to quench your thirst. It is important to rehydrate with water in the morning.
According to WebMD, here are four benefits to drinking an adequate amount of water.
– Water maintains body fluid levels. The human body is comprised of about 60% water. It is essential to maintain this fluid balance, as it is responsible for food absorption and digestion, blood circulation, saliva creation, transporting nutrients, and maintaining body temperature.
– Water regulates calories. While not having a direct effect on weight loss, water assists by helping the body feel full. This makes it less likely that the individual will drink or eat high-calorie foods or beverages.
– Water energizes muscles. Dehydration often results in muscle fatigue, making it more difficult for muscles to work and perform when needed. Drinking water before and during exercise is especially important. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking at least 17 ounces of fluids before exercise and continuing to sip on water during.
– Water enhances the look of skin. As with other organs, your skin contains a large amount of water. As such, dehydration causes the skin to appear dry and wrinkled. In addition to drinking water, dermatologists state that using a skin moisturizer can enhance the appearance of the skin.
4. Practice gratitude
Remembering what you are grateful for is so important because it keeps things in perspective. When faced with the stress of daily life, it is very easy to pinpoint everything that is going wrong. However, evidence continues to mount showing why we should do the opposite.
The importance of being grateful has found its way into both psychological and scientific studies. Accumulating research is continuing to show the positive benefits that practicing gratitude has on both mental and emotional well-being. According to a study done by the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, here are some of the benefits of practicing gratitude.
– People that keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis: feel more optimistic, exercise more regularly, have fewer physical ailments, and feel less stress.
– People who think, talk, or write about gratitude have lower levels of depression and stress, and increased alertness, attentiveness, determination, energy, and better sleep.
– People with a disposition towards gratitude place less importance on material goods, are less judgmental, less envious, and more charitable.
So do yourself a favor and take 10-15 minutes in the morning to write a few things that you are grateful for. It will give you a great start to the day and you’ll soon begin to realize some of the wonderful benefits of being grateful.
5. Practice yoga or another exercise
Exercise (of any kind) will likely remain the best way to boost your mood and strengthen your body. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise – lifting, jogging, yoga, biking – do whatever you’d like as long as it gets your heart pumping.
Exercise is so effective because it increases two important brain chemicals – dopamine and serotonin. It also causes the release of endorphins, which creates a “natural high” and is also a natural stress and pain blocker. In addition, exercise creates euphoric feelings, regulates appetite, enhances the immune system, and drastically increases energy.
In setting aside 30 minutes in the morning for some exercise, you’ll feel “euphoric”, less hungry, increased energy, and less stress. What better reasons could there be to make some time to get active?!
6. “Mirror” your affirmations
The way that you talk to yourself is critically important to the way that you approach life. Unfortunately, when you feel negative for whatever reason – loneliness, unhappiness, sickness, etc. – you will have an innate tendency towards negative self-talk. To reverse this trend, it is important to retrain your thinking and speaking through positive self-talk.
The answer to any negative self-talk is to say (not just think) the opposite in the form of positive affirmations. For example, when you don’t feel good about yourself state with full intent that you can feel good about yourself. Even if you don’t fully embrace this belief (and often times you won’t) it’s still powerful. By planting the seed of positive affirmations in your subconscious mind, you will eventually begin to believe them to be true.
It is also important to see yourself making these positive affirmations. To do so, stand in front of a mirror once or twice a day and repeat the following affirmations ten times:
– I can do it!
– I can _____ (insert goal, feeling, outcome, etc.)
– I can create positive changes in my life!
– I can feel good about myself!
Keep in mind that these are just examples. Affirm whatever thought comes to mind, including the opposite of whatever negative self-talk you may happen to be experiencing at the time. Eventually, you will begin to experience a positive shift in your mindset and the way in which you talk to yourself.