What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you check your cell phone, worry about yesterday’s problems, or find yourself grumbling about all you have to do? If so, you’re waking up on the wrong side of the bed.
The first thing you do and the first thoughts you allow yourself to have can truly set the tone for the rest of your day, so it’s important to be mindful in your first waking moments.
With these few easy adjustments to your waking routine, you can elevate your mood, boost your energy and set the day off on the right foot before your feet even touch the floor.
1. Wake up gently.
Instead of hopping out of bed in the morning, give yourself an extra five or ten minutes to wake up gently. An alarm can be jarring, so set your smart phone to play happy, upbeat music or a soft chime. Or consider getting an alarm that uses ambient light to help you wake up more easily.
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Simply smiling can change your mood, and your outlook. Smiling increases endorphins, neurotransmitters that relieve pain, heighten self-esteem, create feelings of wellbeing and mild euphoria. It’s hard to feel down with a smile on your face. When I wake each morning, the first thing I see when I open my eyes are my dogs, Cooper and Abigail. I can’t help but smile when they lie next to me and give me a good-morning kiss. If you don’t have an animal, surround yourself with your favorite things like pictures of a memorable trip or special family members.
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3. Express gratitude.
Train your mind to be grateful. Positive affirmations before you mentally review your day will set the tone for a more positive day. Be grateful for the sunshine, your warm bed, your home or the cup of coffee or tea that awaits you. Or simply be happy you are alive another day. Setting your mind toward positive and fulfilling thoughts can help fill up the emotional tank for the day ahead.
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4. Plan your day.
Before you get out of bed, let your mind wander. Envision what you’d like to accomplish for the day. Think about a task you’ve been putting off and formulate a simple plan to get started on it. Carve out some “me” time to do the things you like to do, like a mid-afternoon walk or a workout at the gym. Choose the positive outlook you want to have and set your frame of mind in that direction.
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Now that your mind is invigorated, begin to waken your body with a few easy stretches. Body stiffness is all-too-common in the morning. It can be caused by tight muscles following the previous day’s exercise, or may simply be a result of the body’s position during sleep. Even sitting at a desk for long periods of time can lead to tight muscles when you wake. Light, slow stretching is all it takes to shake off grogginess and limber up for the day ahead.
You’ll notice that none of these suggestions include rolling over to grab the cell phone and check messages. Why not? If you check your email first thing in the morning, you’re likely to become distracted by the numerous requests for your time and interest. That can have devastating results on what you really need to accomplish for the day.
Instead, take the time to set your day in motion in a positive and calm method. There’s plenty of time to check messages after you’re up and running.