Stretch in bed
Andrey_Popov/ShutterstockTry this even before you open your eyes. Lift one arm and begin by stretching each finger, then your hand, then your wrist, and then your whole arm. Move on to the other arm. Then stretch your toes, feet, ankles, and legs. Finally, end with a neck and back stretch that propels you out of bed. You’ve just limbered up your muscles and joints and enhanced blood flow throughout your body, providing a shot of oxygen to all your tissues. Take up the entire length of the bed when you stretch. According to Harvard University psychologist Amy Cuddy, this “power pose” mimics the position of a bold person, making you feel more confident all day long. Try these easy tricks to have a happy morning.
Open the blinds
Christine Bird/ShutterstockWhen natural light from the sunrise creeps into your bedroom, it signals your brain to slow its melatonin production and boost cortisol, both of which tell your body to wake up. A flood of sunshine isn’t just an instant morning pick-me-up: A Northwestern University study found that people exposed to moderately bright light in the morning have a significantly lower body mass index than people who get the majority of their light exposure later in the day.
Take a breather
Klever LeveL/ShutterstockNo matter when you do it, meditating has numerous benefits, such as fighting insomnia, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing energy levels, boosting your immune system, and providing mental clarity. Meditating in the morning helps you set a peaceful tone right off the bat so you are less likely to get sidetracked. If you’re a novice, an app such as OMG I Can Meditate! can get you started. (You’ll find it on YouTube as well.) OMG even has a wake‑up function that transitions your alarm right into a meditation session.
Look back with rose-colored glasses
De Visu/ShutterstockResearch from San Francisco State University shows that focusing on good memories makes us feel more content with life. To start each day off right, take two minutes to write down every detail you can remember about a meaningful event from the day before, suggests Michelle Gielan, a positive psychology expert and the author of Broadcasting Happiness. “Yesterday’s high points can be today’s fuel for happiness,” she says. This can also have an effect on your overall health: A study found that patients suffering from chronic pain who did this for six months were able to reduce their intake of pain meds. These are the things that highly successful people do every morning.
Exercise a bit—on an empty stomach
Starstuff/ShutterstockWorking out before you eat, researchers say, encourages your body to burn more fat for energy rather than relying on carbohydrates from food. In a Journal of Physiology study, participants who exercised after breakfast still gained weight (as did a control group who didn’t exercise), but those who exercised on an empty stomach did not. Moreover, research from the University of Vermont shows that the mood-enhancing benefits of a 20-minute workout can last for 12 hours, a boost you’ll want to enjoy all day long.
Don't take a hot shower
harmpeti/ShutterstockTake a cold one. A growing body of research shows that enduring cold temperatures in the morning can lead to lower body fat, a stronger immune system, more energy, and even a higher overall tolerance to pain.
Don’t dress for success
Still AB/ShutterstockFacebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is famous for his dressed-down style of jeans and a gray T-shirt. Zuckerberg explained to the Independent that he prefers to save his mental energy for important decisions rather than stressing about what to wear. While you may not be able to leave the house every day in jeans, you could simplify your wardrobe by color coordinating mix-and-match outfits. Also, follow these morning habits of highly organized people.
Wake your kids with a cuddle
Alena Ozerova/ShutterstockAnyone who has ever raised children knows that few things are more stressful than waking up a slumbering child. Yet this is one of the few times a parent can catch a child still vulnerable. According to a 2016 University of Notre Dame study, children who get lots of affectionate touch grow up to be less anxious adults—and earlier studies showed that adults who get lots of hugs are better able to fight off colds and have lower blood pressure.
Turn on the music
successo images/ShutterstockPick something energetic that you and others in the house enjoy and put it on while you get ready. If anyone plays an instrument, and if you have a little time, morning is the perfect time to practice, as it primes your brain for learning. One study from Johns Hopkins University found that both playing and listening to music help improve academic performance in 16 different ways, including increasing focus and memory.
Knock back a cold one
wavebreakmedia/ShutterstockNo, not beer—water. When you sleep, your body is deprived of water for eight or so hours, which can add to feeling drained or fatigued upon waking. “Drinking ice-cold water has been shown to provide a metabolism boost, as the body needs to warm the water to body temperature during digestion,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, the author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet. Try these tips for waking up in the morning without a struggle.