Many of us start our day with a nice, tall, steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee. In fact, you have no idea how excited I get just thinking about it in the morning. Anyway, coffee is OK for some morning rituals, but what else can you do to get the day started?
Although many of us survive on large amounts of caffeine before even speaking to people, it’s not always the most healthy way to approach the day. In reality, you have a better chance of creating a more positive afternoon by changing your morning routines.
10 Morning Rituals to Turn Into Habits
Everyone is different when it comes to motivation. While some are more partial to vigorously exercising first thing, others gain strength through meditation. Here are 10 things I often do to get my motor fueled and ready to face the day.
1. Get Enough Sleep
First and foremost, get enough sleep. Contrary to the belief of some, three to four hours a night does not bode well and does help you become a genius. Scientific evidence shows how sleep impacts our mental state.
How much should you get in a night? Actually, that depends on many factors. However, experts believe adults should get between seven and nine hours per night. Depriving yourself of this starts a mental decline that will impact decisions as well as physical health.
Getting a full-night’s rest gives the mind a chance to recharge and the body enough time to recuperate. As sleep deprivation has potential to affect many aspects of physical and mental health, it’s vital you set aside ample bed time.
2. Empowering Wake-up Alarm Music
Music does more than “sooth the savage beast.” In fact, it can inspire and evoke various emotions. Setting your alarm to play something the empowers you can help fuel the fire for your morning rituals.
Personally, I bounce a lot when it comes to the alarms from my phone. However, they all have one common denominator: they play music from Marvel movies. That’s because I have a super hero complex, and instrumentals from Iron Man or Avengers just get me in the mood.
Right now, it’s the theme to Ant Man that wakes me up. My eyes will quickly flutter open and I feel like I am ready to “suit up” and face some bad guys. I know, it’s a bit odd. I just feel so much better than simply waking up to an annoying beeping sound.
Of course you don’t have to listen to hero music to inspire you. Anything that you like that makes you feel like you can take on the day is beneficial. It’s all about invoking positive emotions in you first thing in the morning.
3. Music to Energize Yourself
Speaking of music, a playlist full of “power” to start the day is beneficial as well. I know I feel so much better when my “Motivation” playlist is running from my computer as I work out or make breakfast.
Music is found to have profound effects on the brain. It helps drive concentration, inspire positivity and alters your emotional state.
My personal playlist has more than 60 of my favorites that I find to get the mind and body invigorated for the day. Putting on the playlist is actually one of my favorite morning rituals that I’ve done for the past year…as the theme to “Avengers” plays in the background while writing this.
4. Sweat to Morning Exercises
Many studies have been done to demonstrate the effects of exercise and the brain. Evidence points to how morning rituals of workout routines has a positive effect on mood as well as cognitive abilities.
What does this mean? Morning exercises will help you feel happy as well as get the blood flowing to the brain. The more effective your mind is, the better the day will unfold in various situations. For instance, you could find yourself far more efficient and productive at work.
For the past two weeks, I’ve conducted a study on how many calories I can burn playing the Xbox Kinect. My first session happens shortly after waking up in the morning. I’ve noticed a profound difference in my mental state since this study started.
Almost every day this week I’ve felt better than I have in a long time. It’s almost like I feel unstoppable! I can’t say you’ll feel better in a flash of physical activity, but I know it works well for me.
5. Proteins for Breakfast
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” You probably don’t know just how true this statement is. The foods you eat in the morning will impact how you feel and behave the rest of the day.
In one study, it was found higher proteins in the morning essentially curbed the appetite of adolescent girls while providing higher energy levels. Of course this is quite a limited study when thinking about the general populace. But other studies demonstrate how proteins are essential to start the day as well.
Protein delivers energy to the body and fuels the mind. So, a breakfast of two eggs and two turkey sausage links is ideal – at least it is for me. I also bounce around and have Cream of Wheat with mixed berries or oatmeal.
6. Get Your B-Complex Vitamins
There’s a reason most energy drinks consist heavily of B-complex vitamins. It’s because this water-soluble vitamin group contributes greatly to the production of energy within the body. And because humans cannot store it, it’s common for many people to be deficient.
You don’t have to drink energy supplements to boost your levels as part of morning rituals. A lot of products are laden with the series of B-complex vitamins. For instance, I am partial to Kirkland brand flavored sparkling waters. Walmart also has a decent, and cheap, selection of these types of drinks.
Another good way to get your B-complex vitamins is through actual vitamin capsules. I use the Kirkland Daily Multi vitamins…can you tell I shop at Costco?
The problem with capsule vitamins is they are more of a time-release of nutrients. If you want to feel the impact first thing in the morning, drinking vitamins gets them into your system faster.
7. Yoga and Stretching
Yoga and stretching is part of many morning rituals. This is mostly because of how the activity makes a lot of people mentally feel. There is a myriad of evidence that supports how yoga and stretching is beneficial for reducing things like stress and depression.
From a scientific point of view, it’s easy to pick apart some of the studies as being incomplete, bias or missing information. However, millions of people practice yoga around the world all claiming positive results.
Even if it’s the placebo effect in action, anything that makes your morning rituals more profound is a good thing. Although I don’t do a lot of yoga, I do stretch throughout the day and periodically strike a pose mostly to relax my legs and knees after sitting at my desk.
8. Set to Accomplish Three Goals for the Day
Set three goals for yourself to accomplish. They don’t have to be anything extravagant. Personally, I have goals ready that contribute to my overall objective…to lose 50 pounds. This is when breaking up larger goals into smaller ones is beneficial.
Micro goals give you something obtainable on a regular basis. The aftereffect is a boost in confidence as you feel like you achieved something for the day.
Walking distance, eating a certain number of calories, mopping the kitchen floor and perhaps putting away the Christmas tree are all goals you can achieve for the day. You’ll end the afternoon with a heightened sense of self-accomplishment and probably get a few things done around the house as well.
9. Pep Talk Your Mirror
Many will give themselves pep talks as part of morning rituals. While I don’t necessarily stand in front of the mirror, I do tend to tell myself, “Let’s do this.”
It’s all about giving yourself positive reinforcement. Although it’s nice to hear positive things about yourself from other people, you know yourself better than anyone. You already know what needs to be done, and vocalizing it gives you power.
“You got the touch, you got the power!” – Stan Bush, Transformers the Movie, 1986. This song always gets to me and it’s often something I say to myself lately.
Wow, showing my age a bit.
Even if you don’t feel like hearing something positive, sometimes the words from your own mouth fuels that flicker of positivity. I know I’ve pulled myself out of a few pity parties by simply telling myself to “quit it.”
I don’t meditate as often as I used to, but it’s still one of my go-tos to gain some composure. I don’t do it first thing in the morning, but I know several people who do. And it seems to give them strength and peace to start the day.
In the grand scheme of things, there is a lot of evidence pointing to the positive effects of meditation. From treating illnesses to treating depression, meditating helps a lot of people the world over.
If you haven’t meditated before, I suggest you try it a few times. Never assume something is pointless unless you try it for yourself. You may find meditating to be more effective than medications, supplements or even exercise.
Start Your Day Right with Your Own Morning Rituals
Sometimes the best morning rituals for yourself can change your outlook for the day in the blink of an eye. For me, it happens within the first beat of a good, empowering song. Find what works for you and grab the day by the throat. You are in control of your own future.
Make it a good one.