Our positive morning habits–or our negative behaviors– often set the tone for the rest of our day. If we create and practice, without exception, good morning habits, then the odds of having a good day tilt strongly in our favor. In contrast, negative morning habits often manifest in having a sub-par day.
A good night’s sleep is paramount in many ways to the quality of our day, but it is only one part of the equation. Upon awakening, our morning habits are arguably just as important as quality rest. Both quality sleep and good habits are signs of self-care, thus allowing us to put forth our best selves in every endeavor that we undertake.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. – Tecumseh
In this article, we’ll discuss fifteen positive morning habits that will help to boost good energy – and offer numerous other benefits – throughout our waking hours. Let’s get to it!
Here are 15 ways to improve your “morning hygiene” and get your day kick-started:
1. Forget the smartphone for a bit
Instead, create and update a journal containing all of your dreams, goals, and ambitions. Have a sudden breakthrough during sleep or upon awakening? Write them down in your journal.
Keep this journal near your bed and read some of its contents. This is a powerful practice that will fill your mind with positivity, as opposed to the worrisome feelings and rushing around that so many of us are guilty of in the AM. Taking care of tasks and duties will become much easier if we start off in a positive state of mind.
The practice of meditation is demonstrably positive to our mental state. Scientific studies (some undertaken at Harvard Medical School) indicate that meditation molds our brain into becoming more positive, productive, and mindful.
Contrary to popular belief, meditative sessions don’t require sitting still for 30 minutes to an hour (though if you can, great!) Mindful breathing, the practice of focusing on one’s deep breathing and other related physical and mental stimuli can be effective in 5, 10, or 15-minute increments. As one becomes more accustomed to the practice – and realizes its myriad of benefits – meditation will become a “must-do” in the morning hours.
3. Practice visualization
Similar to meditative practices, tangible benefits have been seen in individuals that practice visualization. Visualization is simply forming a mental image of something; in this case, how you ideally perceive your day will go.
For example, prior to commuting to work, picture the route you’ll take; the interactions you’ll have; the tasks you’ll complete; what you want to feel like throughout the day. This practice is a powerful way to get through the many demands placed upon us by society – and in a relaxed, positive way.
4. Have a warm drink ritual
Number four is a habit which aims to bring feelings of nourishment and focus to the surface. It doesn’t necessarily matter which beverage of choice you consume, though it may be good once in a while to swap coffee for tea or warm lemon water. The latter stimulates your metabolism, cleanses the mouth and throat, and provides a nice energy boost.
As you sip your warm beverage, savor the taste in your mouth and its effect on your body as you swallow. Focus mindfully on any physical changes you experience after each sip.
5. Have good bed posture
Most people dread waking up and facing the day ahead. As such, getting out of bed is often undertaken with mindlessness – a seemingly small deal, but this has implications.
A great, easy ritual is to establish an upright posture when getting out of bed. To do this, roll over on your right side, then push upwards into a sitting position. Slowly rotate your body, place your feet flat on the floor, and slowly stand up with a straight back.
Not only is this the gentlest way to get up, but it also relieves the pressure on your heart and back. This is a simple habit that will get your day started off right!
6. Eat a quality, well-balanced breakfast
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is an entirely valid axiom that is ignored by many. Breakfast serves as fuel for our entire body and improves our energy, mood, and productiveness.
There are plenty of easy recipes available online that you can use. Or, if you’re in a rush, just microwave up some oatmeal, fry an egg, or eat some whole-grain toast with a bit of jam or butter.
Similar to the warm drink ritual, practice eating your breakfast with mindfulness and gratitude. Take the time to sit comfortably, and notice the flavors on your taste buds as you slowly chew the food.
7. Write in a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a healthy way to start your day. Writing down what you are thankful for helps you focus on the positive rather than the negative things in your life. Studies on gratitude journals revealed that daily writing in a gratitude journal relieves stress, makes you healthier and happier. This practice helps you cope better with daily stress and helps you stay positive. You’ll be surprised at all the good stuff going on in your life if you stop and look around.
8. Read a self-improvement book for ten minutes
Whether you want to learn a new skill or get a new perspective, reading just ten minutes a day helps you achieve your goal. Reading two or three pages every morning is an easy habit. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, set an alarm for ten minutes, then sit down with your book to read. Breaking your reading into small chunks like this helps you not feel so overwhelmed at the thought of reading a book. Many highly successful people practice this simple habit every day. Reading, in general, is a healthy habit. One study found that those who read thirty minutes a day have a higher chance of survival compared to those who don’t read. And since you’ll live longer, you’ll read more books in your lifetime.
9. Set goals for the day
Setting daily goals begins your day with purpose and direction. Whether you write your goals on the notes of your smartphone or on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge, the point is to write out your goals. Putting them in written form creates a sense of accountability, so you’ll be more apt to keep the goal. The satisfaction of reaching your goals helps you have a more positive outlook on life. It can also motivate you towards other goals. In a recent study, researchers found that athletes who set goals and then visualized a positive outcome performed better. Goal setting also boosted their confidence and performance.
10 Drink water
It may be a good idea to skip your morning coffee and replace it with a large glass of water. Drinking water has so many benefits for your body, like
- Enhance your skin’s moisture and glow
- Helps the formation of saliva and mucus in your body
- Helps transfer oxygen throughout your body
- Regulates your temperature
- Aids your digestion
- Flushes out waste and other toxins
- Helps your brain, spinal cord, and tissue health
Ditch the disposable bottle habit, but keep a refillable bottle of water with you when you’re running errands, hanging outside with your kids, or going for a morning jog. You can also increase your intake of water by drinking herbal teas. These teas have a calming effect on your body as well as keep you hydrated.
11. Make your bed
Starting the day off with neat, tidy spaces allows your mind to be free and clear. Clutter hinders your ability to think straight, and an unmade bed can have the same effect. Making your bed creates a neat and tidy atmosphere and allows you to focus on other things in your day. Try making your bed every day for one week to see how it affects your attitude. You may be surprised to see how this simple habit gives a boost of positivity and purpose in your day. It could be a good goal for your day.
Exercise is good medicine for your mind and body. Whether you do yoga, walk the dog, jog, or go to a session at the gym, exercise starts your day off right. Getting your blood flowing makes you feel better, improves your health, and improves your mental clarity. Studies show that regular exercise has a long list of health benefits such as
- Improving your sleep
- Giving you more endurance
- Increasing your sex drive
- Helping you with stress relief
- Giving you more energy and stamina
- Improving your alertness and stamina
- Helping you lose weight
- Improving your heart health
13. Watch the sunrise
Being out in nature improves your outlook on life and watching a sunset is a great way to enjoy nature at its best. It might be a once a week or weekend only habit, or a daily habit for early risers. A burst of early morning sunshine not only lifts your spirit, but it boosts your body’s vitamin D supply according to a study on the topic of the benefits of sunlight. Vitamin D helps your body build strong bones, helps offset depression and boosts your energy. Vitamin D deficiencies are often due to a lack of outdoor sun exposure. You can take a vitamin D supplement, but it’s nothing like enjoying an early morning sunrise. Try it out.
14. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier
Rising a little earlier every morning adds extra time to your day. Even though it doesn’t seem like much, this simple activity can add up to two-and-a-half hours of time into your week. This extra time could be used for exercise, gardening, taking a walk with your dog, or hanging out with your family. Small steps add up and can change your life for the best. Try setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier than normal.
Be sure to go to bed at your normal time, so you can get enough sleep. When the alarm goes off, don’t hit the snooze button, but get up right away. You may feel tired at first, but after a week or two of getting up fifteen minutes early, your body will have adjusted to it. If you feel okay, after a couple of weeks, set your alarm a bit early again. Just be sure you are getting enough sleep, at least seven hours of sleep every night.
15. Self-care with mindfulness
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what’s going on around you in a new, fresh way. You may appreciate the refreshing feeling of a post-workout shower, enjoy the feeling of sliding your favorite moisturizer onto the skin or savor the minty freshness of your toothpaste or the feel of brushing your hair. All these sensations can boost your morning routine and outlook.
Being mindful helps you focus on what you’re doing rather than simply going through the motions of life. Taking time every morning to breathe and allow your mind to embrace these simple sensations of your morning routine can improve your entire day. Allow yourself the luxury of enjoying simple things, listening to a bird’s song, feeling the softness of a pillow, or breathing in the smell of a warm cup of coffee.
These sensations activate a part of your brain that calms and slows you down and also recharges your mind.
If you’re not a morning person, it can be hard to get going in the morning. It’s proven that establishing some morning habits can enhance your positive energy and help your morning blahs turn into morning hurrahs.
So, even if you’re a dedicated night person, try to establish some early morning habits to create positive energy in your life. Whether you choose to get up earlier each day, or write in a gratitude journal, read a self-help book for ten minutes every day or drink a tall glass of water, you’ll experience a boost of positive energy in the mornings with some of these proven morning habits.
Remember, you don’t need to do everything at once, take your time, choose one or two things to do in the first week. The following week, try a couple more morning habits. Figure out which of these positive morning habits work best for you, then implement into your lifestyle. You’ll be surprised how quickly the habits take hold and how much better you’ll feel.