Many of us claim that the way we begin our morning sets the tone for the entire day. Unfortunately, most people rush around and don’t take the time to set an intention for their day. Starting off our morning in a hurried, frantic manner puts us in fight-or-flight mode, which makes us more reactionary and irritable. On the other hand, adopting morning habits that start the day in a calm, quiet way will have the opposite effect.
“If you win the morning, you win the day.” – Tim Ferriss
Starting your day on the right foot doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t hit any roadblocks. However, it will help you better handle any issues you may face. For example, waking up an hour before your alarm to meditate or go for a walk will help you clear your mind and better prepare for the day ahead. Some people swear by waking up at 5 AM, but don’t worry, you can still have a beautiful day even if you aren’t the earliest bird in the flock. Only taking the time for mindfulness and appreciation for life can make a world of difference in your daily routine.
Here are five morning habits that will change your life:
Meditation quiets the mind eases the body and soul, as well. While meditation might seem tedious or challenging at first, anything worthwhile takes time and effort. Most of us look for constant distractions to avoid just sitting with ourselves in silence. Sadly, most people don’t even like themselves enough to enjoy their own company, but meditation can teach the critical lesson of self-love. In addition to that, here are some other benefits of meditation:
One study found that an eight-week mindfulness meditation program reduced the inflammation response caused by stress. Typically, our thoughts are racing and jumbled, which can increase the hormone cortisol. Slowing the mind down by sitting quietly and breathing deeply will help start your day on the right note.
One study of 2,466 participants found a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, and another study found that an eight-week mindfulness meditation practice reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, OCD, panic disorders, and paranoid thoughts.
A study published by Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine found positive responses in the brain and immune function in 25 participants who did an 8-week mindfulness meditation program. Other studies have shown positive outcomes in depression patients, such as lower markers of the inflammatory chemical called cytokines.
Meditation teaches you to look within for answers instead of looking to others. Once you have been meditating for a while, you may start to notice self-destructive thought patterns and have more awareness about your self-talk. Then, you can work on substituting these thoughts with more positive ones.
Lengthens attention span
Sadly, humans have the attention span of a goldfish, which isn’t saying much. However, regular meditation can help you have more mental endurance, which will help in all facets of life. You’ll have more awareness during conversations, better focus, and more mental stamina in general. This focus is essential for completing big projects, such as starting a new business.
As you can see, meditation comes with a slew of health benefits, and we just scratched the surface. Meditation is one of the best morning habits you can adopt because it will rewire your brain and help change your thought processes. Remember, if you want to change your life, it all begins with your dominant thoughts.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Many people don’t even take the time for breakfast anymore, but this can damage the metabolism in the long run. You wouldn’t drive a car on an empty tank, so you shouldn’t start your day on an empty stomach. After brushing your teeth, meditating, and stretching, take some time to make a hearty breakfast. Eggs and whole-grain toast, a smoothie with bananas, strawberries and spinach, oatmeal with fruit, and an omelet are just a few choices for a healthy breakfast.
It only takes ten or fifteen minutes in the morning to prepare a healthy meal, and your body and cells will thank you for nourishing them. According to Rush University Medical Center, breakfast helps to boost your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. People who skip eating breakfast tend to have a higher BMI and unhealthier eating habits than their breakfast-eating counterparts. Also, skipping breakfast can lead to bingeing on high-calorie snacks later in the day to make up for the lack of nutrients.
Eating breakfast is a morning habit that everyone should adopt.
Go for a sunrise walk.
An altered circadian rhythm affects us in more ways than we realize. In our modern world, artificial lights from our phone screens, fluorescent lights, and TV’s causes disruptions in our sleep cycles; combine that with our unhealthy diets, chronic sleep deprivation, higher stress levels, lack of exercise, and irregular eating times, and we have a full-blown epidemic on our hands. How can we reset our circadian rhythm?
For starters, taking a morning walk when cortisol levels are high can help us get back on track with regular sleep because the light signals our brains that it’s time to wake up. It’s best to get direct sunlight rather than just through the blinds because our skin needs to absorb Vitamin D from the sun.
It’s been found that misalignment of circadian rhythms can cause everything from cardiovascular disease to altered hormones and heart rates. So, this morning habit is vital to your sleep quality and overall health.
Keeping a gratitude journal will help your mind stay focused on all the positive things in your life. Humans have a natural negativity bias. And that also means we will gravitate toward the negatives as part of our survival instincts. Out in the wild, we had to scan and assess for threats continually, and this primal instinct is still a part of us today. However, in the modern world, it doesn’t serve us because it can lead to stagnation and depression.
According to npr.org, gratitude journaling can help with anxiety, depression, poor sleep, higher stress levels, unhealthy eating habits, and risk of heart disease. Journaling offers more benefits than just getting your thoughts and feelings out on paper, and can make a difference in your attitude throughout the day. If you want to start this morning habit, buy a fresh new journal so that you can start your practice off on a clean slate.
Drink plenty of water.
Most Americans suffer from chronic dehydration; in fact, 75% of us don’t get enough water. That’s a staggering amount and could partially explain why depression, chronic fatigue, and other illnesses are on the rise. Here are some dehydration symptoms to watch out for:
- Constipation: when you’re not drinking enough water, your body compensates by drawing water from your intestines, which leads to this condition.
- Frequent thirst: this should come as no surprise, but thirst signals that your body is already dehydrated.
- Headaches: not drinking enough water can lead to imbalances in brain chemicals, which can cause problems.
- Bad breath: dehydration can also lead to bad breath because saliva helps to promote good bacteria. If you’re chronically dehydrated, you’ll have more bad bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant breath.
- Dizziness and brain fog: lack of hydration affects cognitive functions and mood, as well as neurotransmitter levels. Any imbalances can lead to dizziness and brain fog as your body must draw more water from your cells to compensate
One of the first things you should do when you wake up is to drink half a liter of water. Hydrating your body first thing each morning will ensure you wake up energized and ready to begin your day. Plus, keeping properly hydrated means, you will consume fewer calories, as water fills you up. This practice can help you maintain your ideal weight.
How you begin your day usually determines how the rest of the day will go. If you wake up in a bad mood and don’t take time to align your energies and set intentions, your day will probably unfold in the same manner. However, if you wake up, go for a quick jog, hydrate, eat a healthy breakfast, and meditate, your mind will feel much better prepared to take on the day’s challenges.
The world currently suffers from chronic stress and other health problems. And even though a healthy morning routine may not eliminate these symptoms, it can certainly help. Stress happens when we don’t take care of our mental and physical health, or when we overwork ourselves. Learning stress management by meditating and practicing other forms of self-care can improve our health and help us integrate beneficial morning habits into our routines.
What morning habits do you swear by? Leave your thoughts in the comments!