How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
You can start your day by hitting the snooze button, dragging yourself out of bed at the last minute, rushing to get ready, and then running out the door with a doughnut in one hand and your briefcase in the other. Or, you can start your day with good morning habits. I recommend the latter.
Below you’ll find nine morning habits to start the day right.
1. Wake Up Early. Early risers reap many benefits. Some of these benefits include the following:
- Being able to go through your morning routine in a calm and leisurely manner instead of
running around like a chicken with its head cut offbeing rushed.
- Having time for introspection and getting yourself in the right frame of mind.
- The quiet morning hours are a great time to get things done.
- You can get an early start on your goals, such as getting daily exercise or tackling a 30-day challenge.
Waking up early will also allow you to practice the eight habits explained below, which will help you to start your day in high spirits, ready to tackle anything that life throws at you throughout the day.
2. Smile and Think Something Positive. As soon as you wake up, smile. Scientists have discovered that smiling does all of the following for you:
- When you smile your body releases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and endorphins. This means that by smiling first thing when you wake up you’ll be starting your day in a better mood.
- In addition, when you smile your mood is further lifted by the release of serotonin.
- Smiling strengthens the immune system, so by smiling first thing in the morning and remembering to do it throughout the day you’ll be warding off disease, specially during flu season.
If you have trouble getting yourself to smile in the morning, force yourself: even a forced smile has benefits.
In addition, say something like the following to yourself when you wake up (say it out loud or just say it silently in your head):
- “Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” – Dalai Lama
- “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
Lastly, ask yourself these two questions:
- What am I grateful for today?
- What am I looking forward to today?
3. Make Your Bed. Get up and make your bed. Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project”, indicates that a simple way to be happier is to make your bed every morning. By taking this small step to create outer order, you create inner calm. It’s something small and doable which gets your day started off right.
In addition, Naval Adm. William McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said the following about making your bed in his commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin:
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
4. Brush Your Teeth and Scrape Your Tongue. Most people were taught to brush their teeth after having breakfast. However, it’s healthier to brush your teeth as soon as you wake up. Plaque—which is a film of bacteria–builds in your mouth while you sleep. You should remove this plaque buildup by brushing as soon as you wake up.
Also, brushing coats the teeth with a protective layer of fluoride to guard against the sugars and acids introduced in the mouth at breakfast.
In addition to brushing your teeth, you should also scrape your tongue. Here are five reasons why:
- Fresh Breath – Most bad breath comes from the bacteria at the back of the tongue.
- Better Tasting Food – By scraping your tongue you remove mucus which can block your taste buds.
- Boost Immunity – Scraping your tongue prevents toxins from being reabsorbed into your body.
- Healthier Teeth – The process of scraping your tongue promotes general tooth and gum health.
Then, after you’ve eaten your breakfast, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash.
5. Drink Warm Water With Lemon. After brushing your teeth drink a tall glass of lukewarm water with half a lemon–or one whole lemon–squeezed in it. This is an easy health tip which will do all of the following for you:
- Lemon water cleanses and stimulates the liver and kidneys.
- Lemons have lots of Vitamin C, which helps to protect you from catching a cold.
- Drinking lemon water alkalizes the body — when the body does not have sufficient alkalizing substances and is overly acidic, it takes these substances from the bones or vital tissues.
- The antioxidant properties of lemons help combat free radical damage, which keeps your skin looking young and healthy.
I use a straw to drink my water with lemon in the morning in order to protect the enamel on my teeth from the acid in the lemon.
6. Do a Stretching Routine. Performing a morning stretching routine will help you to loosen your muscles after sleeping, while increasing blood flow to your muscles. Taking ten minutes to do a few yoga poses will allow you to connect your mind, body, and breath in preparation for the day that’s ahead.
7. Meditate. Start your day with stillness by meditating in the morning. Meditating does everything from improving your focus to reducing stress, improving emotional stability, and preventing common health ailments. You can start simply by focusing on your breath for three minutes each morning, and build from there.
Do the following:
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- Inhale for 4 counts, retain for 4 counts, and exhale for 8.
- Every time you feel your mind wandering, bring it back to your breath.
- Do this for three minutes.
8. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. You’ve already heard this a thousand times, but I’m going to say it again: breakfast in the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast consists of lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. You’ll gain all of the following benefits from eating a healthy breakfast:
- You’ll be less hungry throughout the day.
- You’ll have better focus and concentration.
- Skipping breakfast is tied to being overweight.
- You’ll have more energy.
9. Create Something. Before you start taking in information–reading emails, listening to the news, attending meetings, and so on–create something. This can be anything: write a blog post; draw something; create an info-graphic; record a video; write a chapter of your novel; and so on.
Start you day in creativity-mode.
Your morning habits can make or break your day. The nine habits explained above are guaranteed to get your day started off right. Live your best life by creating good morning habits.