If you’re hitting your snooze button 10 times before you wake up, that’s most probably the kind of day you’re going to have – sluggish and running behind! Here are seven tips to help you start your day on the right track.
Meditate And Visualize
Meditate before your feet hit the floor each morning. A clear mind is a high-performing mind, and meditation improves memory retention and, long-term, overall intelligence. To meditate, close your eyes for five minutes and clear your mind of thoughts. Begin a silent mantra: With each inhalation think “so,” and with each exhalation think “ham.” (So-ham means “I am that” in Sanskrit, and matches your breathing rhythm.) “Visualize your coming day, beginning to end,” says Cole, whose CD and MP3 album Meditation Transformation helps new meditators get in the zone. “Imagine things happening the way you want them to happen — not what you fear will happen.” This, she says, can dictate what actually happens.
Cuddle Your Pet Or Partner
We’re social creatures, and physical contact such as hugging lowers blood pressure and releases the neurohormone oxytocin, which lifts the mood and buffers against stress. Cuddling with a romantic partner first thing in the morning also sets up your day, says Ken Page, LCSW, a couples psychologist and author of the forthcoming book Deeper Dating: A New Understanding of the Path To Love. “When you wake up, you’re very psychologically vulnerable, and you imprint in a really intense way,” says Page. “When you imprint to feeling warmth and safety, there’s a chance it will be a different day.” Simply put: When stress comes your way, you’re more likely to feel calm and complete.
You know this: The body was designed to move, so move it. A lot. “I don’t get on my computer until I’ve meditated and exercised,” says Cole. If you don’t have time for a full workout, at least take the dog for a walk, do a few Sun Salutations or take the stairs to your office.
Drink Something Other Than Coffee
Toss the coffee. Don’t worry: You can still get your caffeine from drinks like chai or matcha (a kind of green tea), both of which are high in antioxidants. “People don’t realize that they’re really addicted to the ritual of coffee — and you can get a ritual around something better for you than coffee,” says Cole.
Avoid The News
Is the news ever good? No. Never. So skip it in the morning, particularly the 24-hour news channels, which breed urgency and anxiety. “You have to control what goes into your mind on a daily basis,” says Cole. You can still stay informed — just not early in the morning. Balance the bad stuff with books or more optimistic fare.
Use your shower as a health boost: Singing has been shown to immediately improve emotional well-being. Or, try a quick cold shower, which research shows spikes the metabolism and wakes you up with a boost of adrenaline while mildly revving the immune system.
Smile. A Lot.
“Smiling makes people respond to you differently, because the energy you give them is different, so the energy you receive is better,” says Cole. Indeed, research shows that when you smile, half of the people around you will smile back. So if you’re having one of those days where people are frowning or bumping into you on the street, you can change it with a grin.