For many people, morning is painful. An alarm goes off, and the day begins with a groan. But mornings don’t have to be traumatic. Here are a few methods to start your day on a positive note:

  • After hours of being sedentary, our bodies are tight. Five to 10 minutes of easy stretches will relax the body and even the mind.
  • Engage in mindful meditation. A few quiet minutes focused on breathing, an intention, or affirmation brings calm and sets a course of action for the day.
  • Build an attitude of gratitude. Before worries about traffic, complaints about a delayed project, or other negative thoughts take over your brain, write down or mentally focus on a few things for which you are grateful. This practice can remind you of the good in your life and push the negativity to the back of your mind.
  • Use an alarm that works specifically for you. An obnoxious beep may be the kick to get some people out of bed, but it may be too shocking for you. There are alarm clocks and apps that crescendo, gradually brighten bedroom lighting, and vibrate. Find the one that creates your best entry to consciousness.
  • Soak up the sun. Just as darkness helps us sleep, light supports alertness. If you can’t get natural light into your life, turn on the lighting in your home.
  • Eat breakfast when your body tells you to. The first meal of the day gives the body fuel to start the day. Many of us connect awakening with breakfast. However, there is no need to eat immediately after waking up. Instead, listen to your body and eat when you are hungry. To best way to fuel up is to replace sugary foods (toaster pastries or donuts) with whole grains (oatmeal with walnuts and raisins), some protein (eggs, nut butter, Greek yogurt), and healthy fats (avocado on whole wheat toast).

Of course, these general tips may not work for you. But try them and stick with the ones that get your day off to a healthy start.

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