The morning is a time of hope: the day is young, and you have the power to make it what it will be. The task of having a satisfying and productive day can seem daunting. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin! Read on to discover some simple morning exercises to boost your mood and energy throughout the day.
1. Drink Water
Get those fluids flowing with at least a cup of water (1) every morning. Given that it comprises 60% of your body mass, it’s important to regularly hydrate yourself throughout the day — and what better time to start than the morning?
If providing nutrients to your body and preventing constipation are important to you, staying well-watered throughout the day is imperative. Bonus: water also helps keep your skin looking fresh and energizes your muscles. You can even try warm lemon water.
Opening up your posture in the morning is paramount, especially if you sit at a computer for many hours each day. Stretching (2) in the morning will have the effect of loosening up your muscles while relieving pains in your muscles and joints.
Over time, the good posture that stretching affords you will become your natural stance and you will enjoy increased comfort as you go about your daily routine. Stretching also helps your blood start flowing and boosts your energy early on in the day.
From easing chest pain to relaxing your bowels, breathing (3) has a host of benefits to all systems of your body. When you breathe deeply, you supply extra energy to your immune system, which can then go about its business of detoxifying your body with added efficiency.
And don’t underestimate the emotional benefits of the practice; try it for a good 30 seconds and you’ll notice that you feel calmer and more focused– in short, ready to kick-start your day.
It may feel forced– and that’s totally okay! When it comes to smiling (4), even a “fake it till you make it” approach has been known to work wonders on negative moods.
Smiling also suggests to others that you’re a source of positive energy. This will lead to more peaceful interactions with other people, which in turn can also have the effect of boosting your mood.
Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, says that smiling creates neurological happiness loops that promote not only good moods but positive thought patterns.
5. Avoid Technology
Let’s face it: addictive though it is, technology (5) really isn’t that great for your mental health. One study linked extreme technology use to an increase in sleep disorders, feelings of depression and stress in young adults. That same study found that cell phone accessibility in particular was linked to mental health issues.
The morning is no time to steep yourself in a vat of obligations and expectations; it’s a time to listen to your body and acknowledge your aspirations for the day.
When you wake up, do not inundate yourself with your own negative musings! Instead, stand in front of the mirror and talk yourself through (6) whatever obstacle you dread facing later in the day.
Be it physical or emotional, the obstacle will definitely seem less threatening after you’ve parsed through it with your reflection.
Pro tip: instead of using “I”, try saying your own name during your self-talk. This practice will put the little quirks and qualms of your existence in perspective.
7. Eat Good Food
Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast! If you want to avoid that notorious mid-morning slump and supply your body with essential energy and nutrients, make sure to pack in a healthy meal (7) at some point during your morning routine.
If your breakfast has at least a few different colours in it– all the better! If you’re feeling super daring, try drinking a freshly made smoothie in place of coffee for a boost of nutrients super early on in your day.
8. Indulge in Gratitude
It’s tempting to let your thoughts linger in negativity, but allowing yourself to feel grateful (8) will allow happiness to channel into your mind and flush out some of your worries.
When you wake up, simply review all that you have to be grateful for, whether it be your amazing family, your health, or the sheer wonder of the universe. Mere moments into this exercise, you’ll likely start feeling more positive about the day ahead.
9. Step Outside
Hurray for serotonin and vitamin D! And for sunlight (9), which provides you with both of these awesome chemicals. One study has indicated that surgery patients who were placed in sunlit rooms felt less stress and a decreased need for painkillers.
If going outside every morning seems a daunting task, start by hanging out near the window as you go about your morning routine. The same study suggested that mood can be boosted by even indirect exposure to sunlight.
10. Learn a Little
Learning (10) new can be scary! Even so, it’s best to try nudging yourself in the direction of unknown territory every morning. This could come in the form of reading a book, watching a video or learning a new software.
As long as you expand the limits of your own mind, it doesn’t really matter what it is you’re learning about. The practice of learning will increase your feeling of integration with the world, all the while boosting your mental acuity and self-esteem.
So there you have it– 10 little things you can do in the morning to make the rest of your day that much better. Try implementing them gradually and you’ll find that you start to feel a sense of calm as you wake up and remember how awesome mornings can make you feel.