9 Ways To Wake Up Your Mornings, Because Sometimes Coffee Just Isn't Enough

I’m not a morning person, and I’m not afraid to admit it. But when I left college and had to actually get out of bed before 11 a.m., I realized I had two choices: I could either spend the first few hours of every day miserable, or I could change the way I approached my mornings, which used to just consist of multiple coffees and pouting. I haven’t given up coffee (and never will), but I’ve since found some other useful morning routines to sink my teeth into, contributing to a more enjoyable day.

Science proves that we get a natural surge in cortisol in the mornings, which allows us to tackle challenging tasks and put ourselves on a track to make healthier choices during the day. Psychologist Roy F. Baumeister also says that our willpower is strongest when we wake up, so we’re more likely to be responsible with things like exercise and diet. And what we do the first few hours of the day determines how the next 12 hours will pan out. Take the most successful women in the world as examples; they consistently stick to the same routine every sunrise, which helps them thrive at home and at work.

So, I decided to adopt a few new practices, and now you can too. When the caffeine just doesn’t do it for you, here are nine tips to brighten up your mornings.

1. Be Grateful

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As cheesy and self-helpy as it sounds, starting your day off on a positive note does wonders for the body and mind. Research shows people who give gratitude regularly are less likely to suffer from depression and stress. Even Oprah recommends it. It could be a little meditation of giving thanks or just looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, “You’re perfect and beautiful.” Whatever it is, make it an affirmation.

2. Stretch It Out

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Even if you don’t wake up in the morning with aches and pains, you should consider adding a stretch or two to your a.m. routine. It will improve your posture and increase blood flow to all parts of the body, including your brain. You’ll also most likely experience less aches and pains when the afternoon rolls around. Try standing side stretch, a chest opener, or a seated spinal twist. No need to wake up an hour earlier to do a whole yoga class; just do a few rounds of each, and it’ll take under five minutes.

3. Dance It Out

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Nothing puts me in a better mood than dancing with abandon. It only makes sense to add it to your routine, even if it means just shimmying while you're brushing your teeth. It’s an unorthodox way to get your heart rate up and your endorphins racing. Plus, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine recently found that adults who regularly dance reduce their risk for dementia by 76 percent. They also experience less joint stiffness and stronger muscles.

4. Drink A Warm Lemon Water

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I’ve become addicted to this little regimen, and science proves why it’s so good for you. By consuming a tall glass of purified water with fresh lemon juice, your body is kicked off to a roaring start. Lemons — and limes, for that matter — are an excellent source of alkaline, which balances your body’s pH levels. This cocktail also boosts your immune system, soothes an upset tummy, and aids in weight loss. Be sure to wait at least 15 minutes before you eat anything to give yourself time to process the benefits.

5. Stay Away From Electronics For The First Hour

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I repeat, stay away from electronics for the first hour of the day. They turn your brain to mush and probably hinder you from getting out of the door on time. This includes television — pick up a newspaper instead. This is the hardest one, I know, because you might be waiting on an email or a text from your new, sexy boyfriend. But, trust me, it makes a huge difference. I used to literally sleep with my iPhone next to my pillow, and I’m pretty sure I was a zombie back then.

6. Eat A Creative Breakfast

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It doesn’t have to be gourmet or particularly pretty. But find a way to make it anything but boring, because, as mom used to say, it really is the most important meal of the day. If you generally find yourself in a time crunch, prepare some cinnamon-chocolate oats or quinoa pancake batter the night before and try to actually sit down to enjoy your meal before you run out the door.

7. Let A Fun Song Wake You Up

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Your alarm is a very, very important. It’s what gets you out of bed, so you should at least try to have a good relationship with it. If you’re anything like me, you get easily pumped up by a good anthem, so why not set one to be your wakeup song? You can transform a song into a ringtone, and then it's just one step more to have it replace that annoying alarm bell. Just make sure it's a tune that makes you happy, not a breakup ballad.

8. Have An Orgasm

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Having sex or masturbating first thing in the morning is not only F.U.N., but it puts your body in a really good state. Dr. Debby Herbenick, an American research scientist, says people who indulge in sex in the a.m. are healthier and happier than most others. An orgasm will give you an immunity boost and an extra kick of endorphins; plus, you spend the rest of the day with a permanent glow (no need to apply blush) that your coworkers will envy.

9. Enjoy Some Chocolate

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If you didn’t already know, chocolate is good for you. Even cooler? The latest research from Tel Aviv University also says it contributes to weight loss when tossed into the first meal of the day. The 32-week study showed that overweight folks who added dessert to their 600-calorie breakfast lost an average of 40 pounds. A bit of chocolate keeps the cravings away during the day and, well, it just puts you in a good mood. So go ahead — have some chocolate with your breakfast.

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