Before you roll your eyes at the thought, remember that meditation doesn't have to be a lengthy, drawn-out process to be effective. As Lillie Rosenthal, MD, explains, setting your intention for your day helps you connect your mind and body, allowing you to reset and reboot your central nervous system. "Upon opening your eyes in the morning, instead of racing to put on the coffee, take a brief pause," she recommends. "Do some gentle breathing, breathing in for four counts in and breathing out for eight counts, taking in the 'good' and letting out 'negative' feelings."
They take a break from their phones
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It's not enough to pause before hopping out of bed. Bryce Kennedy, life coach, says the healthiest of people avoid their phone as long as possible. In fact, well-known entrepreneurs including Oprah, Seth Godin, and Tony Robbins stress the importance of prioritizing your time, without distractions. "Nothing or no one is allowed to enter that space. It is a time for reflection, writing, brainstorming, and flow. It is a small window that is open and needs to be caught in order to be used. Once the phone is turned on, emails checked, news read, texts replied to, etc. the window is closed," Kennedy says.
They take a shower
Bad news if you prefer to rinse off before you go to bed at night, Tania Elliott, MD, allergist and chief medical officer of EHE says it's a healthier tactic to hop in the shower in the a.m. Not only does it help you feel extra alert and more awake, but when you add eucalyptus or peppermint you help stimulate your level of concentration via your nasal passages. (Add a drop of an essential oil to a diffuser near your tub.) Clean and ready to impress your boss? Yes, please!
They read something inspiring
Consider the last book you read or article you clicked on via Facebook that left you smiling once you paged through it. Cali Estes, PhD, a life coach, says healthy people continuously seek sources of inspiration to keep them in the right frame of mind. "Spend ten minutes reading any article that will help you obtain your goals. This can be business, personal, self esteem-related or anything that will give you tips and tricks you can apply throughout the day," she suggests.
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They connect with others
While having "you" time is necessary to regenerate and recenter, Jeana Anderson Cohen, founder and CEO of Sweat Life says spending time with others—especially those who lift you up and support you—is essential to your daily health. "Your family, your friends, your children, the groups you dedicate your time to—those connections are shown to be the greatest determinant of happiness. And happiness is not so surprisingly tied to your health. Try sending a text or an email to one person you miss in the morning with the intention to join them for a coffee or lunch in the near future," she says.
They stay positive
Did your mom ever nudge you to talk to yourself as you would to your best friend? Probably so—and it's worth applying that logic as an adult. Sonia Satra, life coach, says many people harp on the reasons they're not measuring up, from not sleeping enough to contributing enough and the list goes on. "The best way to combat those 'not-enough's' is to shift your focus by asking questions that will give you helpful, powerful answers," she suggests. For example, ask yourself: What do I have enough time for? What am I already doing well? What am I grateful for? What do I want today to look like?
Need more advice on treating yourself like a friend? Start with these 10 ideas for being nicer to yourself.
They practice gratitude
Even though the practice of gratitude is something that's been trendy lately, Kien Vuu, MD and motivational speaker, says the benefits of being thankful are timeless. That's why starting each day focusing on your blessings maintains your health in a long-term way. "Writing down things you are grateful for every morning releases feel-good hormones that prime your body for health and wellness. The emotion of gratitude cancels out fear and stress as well as reduces the production of cortisol, aka the stress hormone. This is a great emotional priming technique that allows you to better handle any stressors that may arise during the day," he says. Practicing gratitude also has these other health benefits.
While hitting snooze once (or twice or three times) is a tempting prospect when you didn't catch quite enough Zzzs, Dr. Rosenthal says starting your day with movement does wonders for your health. "It gets you out of your heads and into your body. It stimulates the neurotransmitters in the brain and keeps you physiologically younger and more agile," she notes. When you put a good workout on your priority list, you strengthen your cardiovascular health, curb your appetite, increase your consciousness, build muscle, and boost your overall happiness. Don't miss these other benefits of morning workouts.
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They eat breakfast at 10 a.m.
Believe it or not, there's a big benefit to fasting, according to Dr. Rosenthal. When you go without food for ten or more hours, your blood sugar normalizes and your metabolism is restarted. This is why the healthiest of people wait to eat breakfast until 10 a.m., when enough time has passed from their midnight snack. A doughnut, of course, won't do your body good though, which is why Dr. Rosenthal recommends focusing on nutritious options, including unprocessed foods, such as oatmeal or a homemade smoothie with fruit and vegetables. You'll also want to avoid these 17 breakfast mistakes.
Considering our bodies are mostly made of H20, it's likely no surprise that continuously chugging this natural wonder is a must for a long life. Dr. Rosenthal says the majority of us wait to chug water until we feel thirsty, and by then, it's too late. She recommends drinking at least 12 to 16 ounces of water right after you wake up and drinking a minimum of two liters total throughout the course of your day. "Try adding lemon to water which is alkaline and adds a favorable PH balance to the body. Do your best to avoid sugary drinks and diet drinks which are heavy on artificial sweeteners and chemical additives which the body processes as sugar anyway," she adds.
They keep their space clean
Technically this is a task that should be completed before you tuck yourself in for the night, but Kennedy stresses it's a must in order to start off your day on the right foot. Clearing off your workspace might not seem like such a big deal, after all, it's just a few papers and a coffee cup, but it's more about the mental message it sends your brain and confidence. "When the mind sees clutter, it elicits shame, guilt, and anxiety, creating confusion and chaos," he explains. "If your desk is clean and you sit down to that first thing in the morning—Wow!—a completely different feeling. There is a sense of empowerment, a clean slate, and a new beginning." He suggests removing papers, pictures, office supplies, corporate nonsense, books, and whatever else you may store to make room for more creativity. Read on for the morning habits of successful people.