“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive; to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
You don’t have to be a morning person to benefit from morning rituals. Most people hit snooze, roll out of bed and into some clothes while plunging into their day without a plan.
You, however, can choose to approach your day mindfully. Being mindful will increase the odds that you will feel good, be more productive and end up happier when it’s all over.
Here are ten things you should do every morning before 10:00 am to stack the deck in your favor:
Meditating or even some simple breathing can help you begin your day with a sense of calm. Instead of reaching for your phone or checking email first thing in the morning, take just a few minutes to sit and experience the quiet.
There is plenty of activity during our day, so make a commitment to start on a quieter note. It will set the tone for your day and will help increase your focus, energy, and optimism.
Reflect in Gratitude
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart
Start your day by reflecting on what you are grateful for. A consistent practice of gratitude in the mornings will increase your awareness of gratitude throughout your day. It will also make you more resilient when challenges occur and help you put drama in perspective.
Set Your Daily Intention
In the quiet of the day, before the fires need putting out, plan your day by focusing on three goals you want to accomplish.
Make those goals a priority for the day. When you set about planning your day with intention, you are more likely to feel productive at the end of it.
Pad Your Schedule
As you go about setting your daily intentions, pad your schedule to allow yourself to tend to fires as they arise. Padding your schedule with free time will give you a better chance of achieving your goals and may even add some downtime throughout the day.
Your body awakens dehydrated, so it is very important to drink up first thing in the morning. In her book, The Body Ecology Diet, Donna Gates suggests you drink half of your entire daily water intake by mid-morning. It will flush your system of toxins, leave you feeling less hungry and reduce headaches throughout the day.
You will be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t wake up feeling a bit stiff. It isn’t always easy to incorporate exercise into a morning routine. If you were going to choose one thing, the American Journal of Sports Medicine suggests adding a short muscle-stretching sequence of exercises to your morning schedule.
Studies show that consistent stretching in the morning can increase flexibility, improve circulation, reduce stress throughout your day and improve posture.
Listen to Music
Starting your day with upbeat and fun music will not only wake you up, but fill you with positive energy for your day.
A 2013 study found that music makes you feel good. According to study participants, the two most important benefits of listening to music are “mood regulation” and “self-awareness.”
Not only has it been shown to improve your mood, but it can end up increasing motivation, performance, and lead to a better night’s sleep, too.
Start your day off by smiling at yourself in the bathroom mirror. Smiling will have a positive effect on your overall attitude and well-being, even when it starts out a little forced. Smiling makes you more approachable, and appear more trustworthy. In fact, The University of Montpellier discovered that smiling will also make you a more effective leader.
Clean Up After Yourself
Life is busy and morning routines can be a bit rushed. It can be very tempting when you are running behind to leave your clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink or leave the trash until later.
Procrastination around cleaning up after yourself can prevent you from realizing your highest potential and best work. It also allows you to relax fully upon returning home. It is better to proactively clean up after yourself than wait to be called out on it.
Do Your Hardest Task First
It might seem enticing to get a bunch of easy things checked off your to-do list, but it has been shown time and time again that doing your hardest task first leads to a more productive and happier day. You are more likely to remember the day as being a good one when your day gets better and easier over time. The bonus: it helps stop procrastination over the things we like to do the least.