How you kickstart your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, and research supports the idea that certain morning habits can lead to improved physical and mental health. Whether you're an early riser or a self-proclaimed night owl, we'll explore the art of creating morning habits that pave the way for a productive and fulfilling day ahead.
1. Mindset: set an intention
Begin your morning by setting a clear intention for the day. It can be a specific goal or simply an intention to approach the day with a positive attitude. Additionally, take a moment to name three things you look forward to that day - big or small. This practice not only cultivates gratitude but can also help increase your motivation. Research supports the notion of setting positive intentions, and has shown that the practice can contribute to improved mood and enhanced self-esteem.
2. Incorporate physical activity (ideally outside)
Regular physical activity in the morning can improve cognitive function, boost energy levels and enhance your overall wellbeing, as shown in this study.
Morning exercise doesn't have to be an intense gym session. A simple 15-30 minute workout, like yoga or a brisk walk, can get your blood flowing and release endorphins, which can enhance your mood and improve your resilience to stress. Incorporating physical activity into your morning routine can also increase your energy levels and promote productivity.
You may reap additional benefits by conducting your morning exercise outside. A study published in the Journal of Physiology found that exposure to natural light in the morning can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle, also known as your circadian rhythm. Whether you take your morning jog outside or merely spend just a few minutes on your balcony or in your backyard, exposure to morning light can have significant benefits to your physical and mental health and help calibrate your internal clock.
3. Fuel your body (and mind)
Starting your day with good nutrition can have a profound impact on your overall wellbeing. A well-balanced morning meal provides your body with essential nutrients, energy, and the fuel your body and mind need to function optimally throughout the day. It can boost your metabolism, helping you maintain a healthy weight, and promote cognitive function, aiding in better focus and mental clarity, as demonstrated by a recent study published in Nutrients. Additionally, a nutritious breakfast sets a positive tone for your eating habits throughout the day, reducing the likelihood of unhealthy snacking or overindulging later on. So, by prioritising good nutrition in the morning, you not only nourish your body but also set the stage for a day of increased vitality and sustained health.
4. Activate your senses
Incorporating sensory experiences into your morning routine can help you focus and feel anchored in the present moment, which can be especially valuable in quieting a mind that might otherwise be filled with racing thoughts about the day's tasks. Take a moment to savour your morning coffee or tea, listen to your favourite music, or enjoy the aroma of your signature perfume or essential oils like MA, which are designed to evoke certain mental states. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) techniques, such as paying attention to your sensory environment, have shown to be effective against stress and overwhelm, and was show to help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression amongst college students in a recent study.
5. Make a plan
Taking a few minutes to plan your day can help you prioritise tasks, reduce stress, and improve time management. Whether it's jotting down a to-do list or setting specific goals, having a plan can provide a clear sense of direction and purpose throughout the day. A meta-analysis examined the effects of goal setting on task performance over several decades and found that setting specific and challenging goals had a significant positive impact on performance.
Starting your day with a positive mindset, physical activity, time outdoors, proper nutrition and a clear plan can have far-reaching benefits for your overall wellbeing. Incorporate these habits into your daily routine and watch how small changes can have a transformative impact on your life.