I love the mornings. I find I get the most done the earlier I awake. I have a pretty strict morning routine that involves coffee, Netflix, and a workout. If I don’t get up and get going on time I notice how different my day is because I miss out on my “me” time. After some research I stumbled upon a few scientifically backed ways to encourage a happier and more productive morning.
Set The Alarm Clock Just An Hour Earlier
For some people waking up early just isn’t an option. But for those, like me, who love waking up early, a study done by the University of of Toronto, found that people who wake up early tend to be happier and have better, satisfactory lives.
As with any new habit, it could take awhile for waking up early to become a part of your daily routine. Try setting your alarm 15-30 minutes ahead of schedule. This also means you will have to go to bed a little earlier because sleep deprivation negates the benefits.
Breakfast is hands-down the most important meal of the day. Not only does breakfast stabilize your metabolism, but it also gives you more energy and boosts your mood. By the time you wake up the glycogen that fuels your muscles has depleted. The longer you wait the more sluggish you will feel.
“Research suggests that eating breakfast, specifically carbohydrate-rich cereals, can improve your mood,” Joan Sage Blake, a registered dietitian said. “Eating in the morning after a night’s slumber will provide glucose to your starved brain. Most people are also likely to be happier and less grouchy when they aren’t distracted by hunger pangs.”
The best breakfasts are those that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates. My go-to breakfast is oatmeal mixed with almonds and peanut butter, as well as a side of egg whites. If you can’t stand the texture of oatmeal and prefer cereal, check-out Ezekiel brand products (they tend to leave out the simple sugars).
“Movement Is Medicine For What Is Lacking”
This is one of my all time favorite quotes because it is so true. If you can’t fix a bad day with exercise then I truly don’t know how to fix it. Exercising, specifically cardiovascular-based exercising, releases endorphins that carry throughout the day. According to Michael Otto, a psychology professor at Boston University, you can experience the benefits of moderate exercise just fives minutes after beginning an activity.
Unfortunately, most people see exercising as a chore and miss out on all of the added benefits. The trick is to find something you love rather than just pounding away at the pavement. Exercise should be fun, so don’t shy away from trying something new.
I have always found the idea of being mindful a little silly…what does that even mean, really? Being mindful means making a conscientious effort to focus on life and be completely in the present. Being mindful is opposite of worrying and stressing out about petty things or situations. Gillian Galen, a psychologist said, “When you have breakfast tomorrow, simply sit and eat your breakfast. Don’t read the paper, scan at your e-mail, or read the cereal box. Notice your experience. Notice when you become distracted by urges to do other things, and bring yourself back to the full experience of eating breakfast (experiencing the tasks, smells, temperature, and so on).”
Focusing on your breakfast may seem a little odd, but it’s less about your milk and cereal and more about channeling your current energy and experiencing exactly where you are, at that current moment. Our society is all about multi-tasking and being in ten places at once, by being mindful you are able to focus just on the current activity.
By embracing these few habits your mornings will be stress free and enjoyable. Each morning you wake up remind yourself that you have just this one life to live. Stop hitting that snooze and seize the day.