Why you need an awesome morning routine to feel happier and be more productive
If you are one of those people who wakes up every day without a plan, it might be time to shake things up. While there's no shortage of advice about how to start the day well, there's surprisingly little written about what happens once you actually do wake up. I used to be one of those people. I used to propell myself out of bed, tired because I stayed up too late on my phone, and just crossing my fingers hoping the day would go right. Spoiler alert: this is not the best way. What would usually happen is I would go into the day ungrounded, disorganized, uncentered, and flustered at everything that came my way. What did that create? More stress.
I've personally found that having a set routine helps us each morning to feel organized and prepared—and that it makes us more productive throughout the rest of the day. Read on to learn why it's important and get some suggestions about things you could start doing tomorrow to make sure you wake up feeling better and are more productive..
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” — John C. Maxwell
A morning routine isn't just about getting ready for work; it helps you start your day feeling better about yourself. A study published in the Journal of Global Health found that especially during the COVID pandemic and up to now, people who had a structured daily routine experienced fewer negative feelings and felt more confident throughout the day. Researchers say that having a consistent routine gives us a sense of control over our lives, which can lead to less stress.
The researchers found that those who reported having a morning routine were happier, calmer, and more productive during the day. In addition, participants who had a regular morning routine were more likely to report being satisfied with their life overall.
Good Reasons to start a morning routine
Here's a list of reasons why setting up a routine for yourself every morning is helpful according to researchers in the field of productivity and habit formation.
1. A good morning routine gives you a sense of control over your life.
2. You feel better about yourself when you wake up.
3. Your mornings become less stressful.
4. When you know what you have to do, it becomes easier to accomplish.
5. You don't waste time wondering what to do next.
6. You're more likely to follow through on things you've committed to doing.
Physical Benefits of a Morning Routine
A morning routine helps you feel better about yourself in many ways. You wake up feeling refreshed and energized because you know what to do every day. A daily ritual gives you something to look forward to each day and makes it easier to stick to your goals. If you're looking for some inspiration, here are five science-backed benefits of having a morning routine.
“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good.” ― Todd Stocker, Becoming The Fulfilled Leader
1. Your brain works best in the mornings.
Your brain functions differently depending on whether you've had enough sleep. When you're well rested, your memory and cognitive function are stronger. This is why staying awake late at night isn't good for you. Many people fall asleep while watching TV or surfing the web. By contrast, when you spend less time sleeping and more time waking up early, your brain gets plenty of rest.
2. You'll eat healthier.
Studies show that eating breakfast actually boosts energy levels throughout the day. People who eat breakfast tend to burn more calories throughout the day than those who skip the meal.
When you go out to breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you're likely eating whatever is nearby. But when you make healthy choices ahead of time, you won't be tempted to snack later. In one study, researchers found that participants ate fewer calories during the week following a consistent morning meal schedule compared to those who skipped meals.
3. You'll exercise more.
People who set aside time for exercise during their morning routine are much more likely to do it. Whether it's just setting aside 15-30 minutes at the beginning of each day for a quick walk, doing stretches, yoga with youtube videos, etc, to move a bit, it sets the tone for healthy body movement first thing.
Suggested activities for morning routine
Everyone is different so it's important to choose one or two things that you enjoy that prepare you for the day. Sometimes it's as simple as taking 5 minutes to meditate and make yourself a list of priorities for the day. Remember that it's not realistic to think you'll be able to complete all of your goals every single day, but if you set yourself up for success by planning ahead, you're less likely to feel like giving up halfway through.
Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your arms above your head and stretch your fingers toward the ceiling. Hold this pose for 5 breaths. Release your hands and repeat the same sequence on the other side. Youtube has some awesome videos to do of different lengths. I personally like Sun Salutations as they stretch and energize the body.
Sit comfortably in a chair or cross-legged on the ground. Close your eyes and take three slow, deep breaths. Let all thoughts drift away as you focus on your breath. After several minutes, open your eyes. Continue focusing on your breathing until you feel calm and relaxed. I personally like Headspace app as it has a wide range of different topics and they range from 5-20 minutes.
Walk briskly around your house for 20 minutes or outside if you can. Especially if you have a dog that needs to be walked, this is a nice way to get moving in the morning.
Stand tall with your feet together. Lift your right leg straight behind you and bend your knee. Keep your left foot flat on the ground. Extend your right arm over your head and place your hand on your hip. Slowly lower your body into a squatting position by bending your hips and lowering your torso until your thighs are almost touching the floor. Return to standing slowly. Switch sides and repeat.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your palms on the floor next to your shoulders. Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lift your chest upward toward the ceiling. Lower your chest back down to the starting position.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping)
EFT Tapping is an easy technique to use to help release negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and fear. It's based on acupuncture points that have been shown to balance the flow of energy through our bodies. To do it, find a comfortable spot where you can sit still for 5-10 minutes. It's a great way to start the morning to set the tone and get yourself in a centered place and an effective way to manage your emotional and mental health.
Write about what you're grateful for today. What makes you happy? Who has helped you grow? What are you looking forward to doing tomorrow?
Read something uplifting. A book, magazine article, or inspirational quote could inspire you to live a healthier life.
Listening to music
Listen to some upbeat tunes while you're getting ready in the music. Music helps us get pumped up for the day or to exercise in the morning first thing.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Take a few moments to imagine yourself in a beautiful garden. Feel the sun warming your skin and smell the fresh air. Imagine yourself walking through the garden, enjoying every moment. Notice how you feel in this relaxing environment.
For intentions, think about what's important to you. What do you value most? How do you want your day to look? How do you want your life to look? Studies show taking a few minutes every day to visualize what you want your your life to look like is absolutely key to setting intentions and getting what you want.
- It teaches your brain to recognize what resources it will need to help you succeed in reaching your goals.
- It creates an inner motivation to strive for your goals and dreams.
- It promotes positive thinking, which will help you to stay on track to be successful in the long run.
What NOT to do in the morning
So now that you have some suggestions of what kind of things you can choose to integrate into your day, here are some things to NOT to first thing :D
“Your energy in the morning is a clean slate, and you get a chance each day to build it up the way you want” ― Mridula Singh
1. Don't check your Phone First Thing
Most of us are guilty of this as we use our phones for alarms. Then what happens? We get a million notifications and we start scrolling through them, checking the news updates (these days you never know what it's going to be!), checking messages, emails etc. Instead, do your morning routine and don't get to checking things until you're at breakfast once you've completed your mindfulness morning activities so you're centered and in a good place.
2. Don’t Overdo It—Start Slow
Wake up slowly rather than trying to jump right into a workout routine suddenly one day. Your body needs time to adjust to the change in schedule. If you try to go too fast, you risk injury. Instead, ease yourself into it gradually. Try doing five minutes of light cardio followed by 10 minutes of strength training. Then add another five minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes total.
3. Don't Skip Breakfast
Eating breakfast gives us energy throughout the rest of the day and gives us a chance to choose healthy options. Don't skip breakfast as it often leads to overeating later in the day. Studies show that people who skipped breakfast consumed nearly 300 calories more over the course of the entire day than those who ate breakfast.
If you want to feel better and be more productive, start your day off centered and on top of things. Make sure you follow these tips to make your mornings easier and more enjoyable! What does your morning look like? What things do you like to do firs thing?
Tell me in the comments!!
ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany
I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).
If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.
Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life.
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