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Five Morning Rituals for a Happier Start to Your Day

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Sip a glass of hot water and lemon

 

As you get ready in the morning, sip on a cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon. While lemon might seem pretty acidic, it actually acts as alkaline in the body, helping to balance your body’s pH levels. Hot water and lemon stimulates your digestive track, which will make it easier for you to digest your food and your breakfast, while easing heartburn and bloating. Lemon is also a known detoxifier, so its a perfect way to start your day with a liver-cleansing kick.

 

Do a quick 5-minute stretch

 

When you wake up, your joints and muscles might feel a little stiff from being in the same position all night. Get your blood flowing and wake up your muscles by with a 5-minute whole body stretch when you jump out of bed. A fast and easy full body stretch increases blood flow to all your muscles as well as your brain, helps relieve feelings of tiredness, improves your posture, and prevents joint aches and pains.

(Maggie Harriman/The Stanford Daily)
(Maggie Harriman/The Stanford Daily)

 

Eat your breakfast

 

You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times… breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Eating in the morning is important because low blood sugar contributes to fatigue, crankiness, and impaired concentration. For the best possible breakfast, try a combination of complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats. This won’t result in a blood sugar spike and crash, which will leave you hungry and cranky soon after eating. Grabbing something nutritious that is absorbed slowly by the body not only revs your metabolism, but also levels your mood. If you aren’t a “breakfast person” and the thought of eating a big meal straight away doesn’t sound appealing, try eating something small within 1-2 hours of waking up that is nutritionally dense. A great example of this is Greek yogurt with berries and nut butter, or whole grain toast with smashed avocado and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

 

Blast some music

 

You all know that wonderful, happy and motivated feeling you get when you listen to your favorite feel-good song? Well, this has a neurological basis. fMRI studies have shown that listening to music activates brain regions involved in emotion regulation such as the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and hippocampus. Listening to music also causes the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and reward. So blast a happy tune as you get ready (or plug in your headsets if you don’t want to wake up your roommate) and put yourself in a happy mood.

 

(for the hyperlink: http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v15/n3/full/nrn3666.html)

 

Write down a goal for the day

 

Starting your morning by being mindful of the day ahead can get you started on a positive note while preparing you for a productive day. Take a minute to think of one thing you want to focus on during the day. This can be a mindset you want to adopt, something specific you want to accomplish, or a person you want to appreciate. Taking a moment to set an intention for your day will motivate and encourage you to not only start your morning with optimism, but to also give your day a purpose in the midst of the stress and busy bustle you have ahead.