Wake up!

How you start off your morning will have a huge impact on how the rest of your day transpires.  If you start off in a negative state of mind, that will more that likely persist and transpire for the rest of the day.  On the other hand, if you start off your morning in a positive mind state, that state can also carry you throughout the rest of the day, no matter what else you encounter.

The unfortunate news is that too many of us do not take our mornings seriously, right?  Instead we sleep to the latest possible second, take a quick bath/shower, maybe grab a quick snack or cup of coffee and bolt out the garage.

i want to encourage you to start taking your mornings a lot more seriously.  I have some suggestions for improving your mornings and getting your off to a positive starting point.  It is probably not possible for you to incorporate all of them into your mornings but even incorporating just a few will have positive impacts.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

How many times have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  When we wake up in the morning, our energy levels are depleted by about 80%.  Studies have shown consistent results, skipping breakfast can have short-term effects on mood, memory, and of course energy levels.

Most of us already know that, but yet most of us rush through it or skip it entirely.  Or we grab something quick once we reach the office, Instead we would be way better off spending a few extra minutes eating a healthy breakfast, one that will surely help elevate our moods and give us the energy for the rest of the morning.

Exercise
Exercise (my nemesis) is a well-known method for elevating your mood and increasing your energy levels.   In fact, regular exercise has been shown to have the same effects as antidepressants yet we tend to skip out on it.

You really don’t have to do a lot of exercise in the morning to get the benefits.  if you are pressed for time like we all pretty much are, try doing 3-5 minutes of exercise.  Google a few simple exercises that you can do at home like jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, or some yoga.

You can get the rest of your exercise program done later in the day when you aren’t in a complete hurry.  of course, you should probably do your exercising AFTER you eat that healthy breakfast that we just talked about!

Positive Writing

Spend 5-10 minutes each morning writing on a positive topic.  That will help get the positive thought process moving and set you up for success for the rest of the day.  A positive topic would not be something about how you didn’t sleep because your partner was snoring or the dog was being a pain in the ass.

Here are some options though you are obviously free to create your own.
What will I do today to work towards my goals?
What will I do today to improve someone else’s life?

Have a positive conversation or write a positive note

Most of us live with other people, I encourage you to start off the day be having a positive conversation.  This would of course only work if your partner gets up around the same time as you.  i would encourage you to try to go to bed around the same hour and wake up at the same time, start your positive day at the same time.  You can leverage each other.  Rotate who makes breakfast, help each other exercise and be positive together.

If you happen to live by yourself, then send someone a quick positive email. It doesn’t have to be a long email.  Just a short note thanking them for something or letting them know that you were thinking of them can do the trick.

Stop Using the Snooze Alarm

I’m one of the lucky ones.  Unless I have an early morning flight or something ultra important going on, I never use an alarm clock.  In fact, I haven’t really used one in years.

But I know that there are lots of people who need them to wake up in the morning.  Unfortunately, instead of getting up when the alarm goes off, they hit the snooze button.  And not just once.  They hit it over and over and over again.  To be honest this behavior baffles me, what the hell is the point of setting it if you are just going to hit snooze over and over again?  Anyways…that is for another day and time.

You might think that those extra 5-15 minutes of sleep help you.  But recent research has shown the opposite.  When you go back to sleep after hitting the snooze alarm, you don’t have time to complete a sleep cycle.  This in turns leads to increased grogginess which can take up to 1 ½ hours to shake off.

If you have to, put your alarm as far away from the bed as possible.  That way, you have to get out of the bed in order to turn it off and will be less likely to hit the snooze button.  Better yet, go to bed a little bit earlier so you get a full night’s sleep without the snooze button.

Meditate
You don’t need to do 30 or more minutes of meditation and reach an altered state of consciousness for it to be effective.  What’s important is consistency and commitment.  Pick a type of meditation and commit to sitting for a minimum of 5 minutes every morning.

If you don’t have time for a formal sitting meditation, then try doing mindfulness meditation in which you focus intently on the sensory experiences of your current activity. Mindfulness meditation can be incorporated into many of your normal morning activities, such as taking a shower or eating a healthy breakfast.

Listen to or Read Something Positive
Put some positive energy into your mind using positive stimulation.  Instead of turning on the news and listening to all the horrible things happening in the world, spend that time positively.  Read a self-improvement book (or a cool blog like mine…shameful plug I know) or listen to uplifting music for a few minutes every morning. This one can even be incorporated into your commute!  Don’t turn on Tupak and listen to East Coast vs West Coast I want to shoot you stuff.  Something calming doesn’t have to mean listening to opera or instrumentals either.

Prepare the night before
Many of you may be thinking: “But I don’t have time to do all of this in the morning”.  One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to prepare the night before.

Turn off the TV or shut off your computer 10-15 minutes early.  And use that time to prepare things for the following morning.  For example, you can cut up some fruit for your breakfast.  Or you can set your writing out where you will see it.  Or you can set your exercise clothes out.  Basically anything that makes your following morning easier.

Mornings don’t have to be difficult.  In fact, with the right habits mornings can even be enjoyable and set you up to have a positive day!  Which of the above habits will you build into your morning?

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