The way you decide to start your morning can have a major impact on how the rest of your day will go.You can start your day randomly each morning if you want, but creating a meaningful morning routine may be the better route to take if you're looking for the most productive and stress-free use of your time.
Everyone usually has their own morning schedule that helps them get ready for the day. Some people choose to wake up at 6 a.m. and enjoy their cup of joe, while others rush out the door because they decided to catch up on the latest episode of How To Get Away With Murder at 2 a.m. the night before. I'm not saying the latter is a bad idea every single time (hey, it's a great show), but there's an alternative way to help make your morning more beneficial for you. "If you study successful people, one thing that you’ll notice really quickly is that they share a bunch of similar habits — and the daily ritual is one of them...And being busy isn’t an excuse. In fact, the busier that you get, the more you need it," says CTO of Twitpic Steve Corona on his personal website.
If you want to be more successful, or let's be real, just get out of bed feeling happier and less groggy, below are few tips that may help you start your day more positively.
1. Prepare The Night Before
"Creating a mindful morning routine is all about intentionality. Early risers, and those who have effective morning routines, plan their day on paper. The best strategy that has worked for me for years, as well as many other people is to plan tomorrow on paper tonight. It's highly effective to have an evening boundary, where you stop your work for the day, in order to properly plan the next day," says Jeff Sanders, author of The 5 AM Miracle, in an interview with Bustle over email. Planning your day the night before may allow you to enjoy a few moments of quiet time to yourself instead of rushing out the door, according to Life Yoga Center.
2. Start Out Slow
"One of the best ways to start a morning routine is to start out slowly with one where you add little windows of time, and small tasks," says psychologist Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC in an interview with Bustle over email. Take this time to mediate. According to Mind Body Green, if you mediate for at least 20 minutes, you may get an energy boost that will help you stay alert without the need of coffee.
3. Have One Alarm & Don't Hit The Snooze Button
If you're the type to hit the snooze button over and over again, you might want to rethink your morning habit. "What we're most importantly trying to avoid is continually hitting the snooze button, and feeling rushed out the door," says Martinez. It's probably not a good idea to feel stressed the minute you wake up because you're running late. Take the time to set one alarm and wake up right away when it goes off.
4. Do Something That Will Make You Feel Special
"Your serotonin is stimulated when you feel special. We all have some conflict around this because it seems 'not nice' to be special, but it’s what your brain longs for. So find a way to give it to yourself in a small way every morning," says Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD in an interview with Bustle over email. This could entail adding berries to your yogurt or styling your hair in the morning. Whatever you choose to do, continue to do it until it becomes mundane, then find something new that will make you feel special again.
5. Create Morning Habits That Will Help Engage Your Mind
Sometimes you just need to pick the right activities that will not only help flex your body, but your mind as well. "There are many habits you can choose to include in your morning routine, and one of the best strategies is to focus on energy. Choose habits that will engage your mind and body so that you are up and awake when your work day begins. This could include drinking a large quantity of water, making time for a quick but vigorous workout, or preparing a healthy smoothie for breakfast, " says Sanders.
6. Start Thinking About Your Goals
Instead of looking at your phone and going through emails, use this time to think about your goals. "Your dopamine is stimulated when you step toward a goal. Before you even get out of bed, you can start thinking about the goal you will step towards on this day — not a distant pie-in-the-sky goal, but something you can actually do today to meet your needs. Not something you 'should' do but something you want to do," says Breuning.
7. Ignore Technology
"I highly recommend you don't watch television, or even check email until you have completed your most important morning habit. Technology is enticing, but it's also a major distraction that prevents us from doing what we know is best for us," says Sanders. A study from IDC Research found that 80 percent of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning, according to Constant Contact.
8. Watch Something That Will Make You Laugh
The next time someone says watching cute animal videos is a dumb idea, you might want to ignore them. "Your endorphin is stimulated when you exercise, stretch or laugh. When it looks like someone is wasting time on cat videos, it helps to know they are stimulating endorphin," says Breuning.
9. Connect With A Loved One
"Your oxytocin is stimulated when you have the safety of social trust, so connect with one person you trust before you launch into the world of people you may-or-may not trust, " says Breuning. Whether you're making breakfast for your kids, or having a quiet morning with your SO, connecting with someone that you love can positively boost your morning ritual.
10. Go Exercise
Instead of eating a sugary breakfast right when you wake up, reward your brain by exercising. "Once I’ve done a half hour of hard work, I often find myself walking toward the kitchen to get a snack. When I get there, I realize I’m not hungry. My brain is seeking a reward, so I enjoy a short stretch, and then promise myself a snack after another half hour of focus — if I actually feel hungry. Otherwise I’ll just have another stretch," says Breuning.
11. Practice Mindfulness
If you really want to get your day started on the right foot, exercise your mind by being more attuned with your thoughts. "Practicing mindfulness is an essential component of any morning ritual. Mindfulness is shown to lower blood pressure means open awareness to the present moment. Mindfulness has been shown to improve focus, regulate emotions, improve cognitive flexibility, and protect against stress. It involves being aware of your thoughts and allowing yourself to become fully present," says psychologist Kim Chronister, PsyD in an interview with Bustle over email. "An easy way to practice mindfulness is to search videos on the Internet for 'Guided Imagery', 'Progressive Muscle Relaxation', or 'Transcedental Meditation.' Guided Imagery is my favorite because you can put a video on for as little as eight minutes in the morning by playing 'Guided Imagery Beach', 'Guided Imagery Rainforest', etc. on your phone."
12. Get Others Involved In Your New Morning Routine
If loved ones are partaking in your morning routine with you, you may feel more inclined to continue this new habit. "It's also a great practice to get your whole family on board with an intentional morning routine so that the entire household can engage in healthy habits," says Sanders.
Starting the morning out right may help you feel less stressed and more focused so you may be able to accomplish more tasks throughout the day.