10 Practices to Add to Your Morning Routine, And Why

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Benjamin Franklin planned his routine with a 5 a.m. wake-up. General Motors CEO Mary Barra is already in the office by 6 a.m. And Oprah is up and walking her dogs shortly after sunrise. You have likely seen the stories, tweets, or inspirational videos about the world’s most successful people and their early wake-up times. However, it’s not about when your alarm clock goes off, it's about what you do with your morning afterward.

Focusing on elements of a steady, health-focused morning routine sets your entire day up for success. You may already have some basics, such as a healthy breakfast or a refreshing exercise regime. While that’s a great foundation, there are additional practices you can add to help increase productivity, happiness, and overall health.

If you’re looking to develop a morning routine that leaves you ready to take on the day, you won’t want to hit snooze on these ten practices!

Engage in Meditation or Prayer

Pausing at the start of your routine to meditate or pray can be one of the most beneficial ways to start your day. Meditation boosts mental health. Meditating in the morning can also have lasting effects on your stress levels throughout the day, helping you to manage anxiety no matter how hectic your schedule becomes.

Putting aside a few moments to be quiet and still can help improve your focus right from the start. One study found that meditation can help individuals stick to their goals. Consider morning meditation an effort towards starting your day off on the right foot and empowering you with the motivation to see your day through.

Additionally, the calming effects of meditation may help reduce cardiovascular risk. Meditative practices can positively affect blood pressure, which can benefit cardiovascular health.

Plan for the Day

Whether you rely on your phone, a hanging calendar, or an appointment book, making a plan for the day when you wake up can help keep you productive, focused, and calm. Misremembering an appointment time or feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list can derail your entire day. Reviewing your calendar first thing in the morning lets you know what to expect.

Your day will likely include both routine elements and appointments or infrequent tasks. Having a routine is essential for improved function. The key to navigating non-routine calendar items is setting priorities and reducing distractions that could hinder productivity.

You’ll need to decide which things take precedence and in what order. Working backward, you can build enough time into your day to allow you to keep your routine and check off all your tasks. You’ll head out the door with a plan, and the momentum from accomplishing your morning routine should help to fuel your productivity throughout the day.

Planning your day is also vital for maintaining healthy habits. When you add positive lifestyle changes to your daily plan, they become second nature, helping you to work towards your health goals.

Go for a Walk

While some individuals engage in grueling workouts during their morning routine, just fifteen minutes of moderate exercise can have significant health benefits. Including lowering your risk of diabetes, improving cardiovascular health, and assisting in weight management.

The physical benefits of walking are excellent, but so are the cognitive benefits. Did you know that stair walking can be just as energizing as low-dose caffeine? Instead of reaching for a second cup of coffee, walking is an excellent way to wake your body up and get your blood pumping.

Aside from increasing your energy levels, walking in the morning may also boost your creative thinking. Its ability to promote creative cognitive function could make it a valuable part of your pre-work routine, leaving you ready to tackle challenging projects. Waking up your mind and body with an invigorating walk is one way to start the day off on the right foot.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a valuable practice at any time, but it can be particularly advantageous in the morning. Being thankful for everything around you is a wonderful way to begin your day in a positive light. Take time to be present and center yourself; this may help boost how focused and engaged you are throughout the day.

Mindfulness has a restorative and rejuvenating effect on our minds as it can help us feel less stressed, centering us in the present moment and taking things one at a time. It may also reduce the risk of depression. Recognizing and working through difficult emotions instead of resisting or avoiding them may help prevent depression relapse.

Looking for ways to incorporate mindfulness? You can try journaling, meditation, or mindfulness through movement.

Practice Self-Care

Many of us are guilty of exiling self-care to the weekends or evenings. However, making time for yourself in the morning may help enhance your mood. Engaging in a self-love routine can make you happier and more content.

Taking time to practice self-care could also decrease your anxiety. Helping you to ease into the day and relax before your busy calendar takes over.

Elevated mood and decreased stress from self-care can improve your satisfaction at work and home. Prioritizing yourself doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming. You could try reading a book, engaging in a skincare routine, or enjoying a cup of tea.

When you set the intention that you value yourself early on, the entire tone of your day can shift. You may notice that you’re less likely to let your schedule control you; instead, finding yourself better organized and more mindful about your priorities. 

Eat Breakfast

This should be a no-brainer, but many of us skip breakfast routinely. Eating a nourishing morning meal can benefit your physical and mental health. Breakfast can be a crucial source of nutrients, helping you to feel satisfied longer, and aiding in weight management.

The nutrients from your breakfast can also boost mental alertness and mood while decreasing the risk of depression and sleep issues. Conversely, skipping breakfast has been linked to lower reported levels of happiness as well as difficulties at home, work, and school.

Eating breakfast may also be good for your physical health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Those who skip breakfast may be more at risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. It’s important to ensure that you’re making wise meal choices in the morning, though, opting for a balanced plate of protein, fiber, and fresh fruits or vegetables.

Drink a Full Glass of Water

Along with your breakfast, consider drinking a full glass of water. In most cases, this means a full, standard 8-ounce glass. Water is essential for many of our bodily processes. Drinking water before having coffee or juice is an easy way to get started on your daily recommended water intake and keep you hydrated.

Hydration is imperative to cognitive processes. Eight ounces first thing in the morning can help you maintain hydration for optimal cognitive functioning. While moderate coffee drinking won’t make you dehydrated, water is often the best way to help your kidneys flush out toxins and keep your body healthy and strong.

Say Positive Affirmations

Begin your day with confidence by saying a few positive affirmations. Writing them down might also help motivate you, decrease negativity, and enhance your mood.

These positive aspects might even improve your health and relationships over time. So if you’re looking for phrases or mantras to add to your morning pep talk, you may want to consider some of the following:

  • I am open to opportunities.
  • I love myself. 
  • I am worthy, grateful, and capable.
  • Today’s going to be a great day! 

Take Time to Stretch

It’s tempting to head straight to the shower after you roll out of bed or hop off the treadmill. But you might want to make time for a few gentle stretches. There are various types of stretching, from static to dynamic, and each can produce cognitive and physical benefits.

A well-known benefit of stretching is that it can increase your range of motion by keeping muscles and joints limber and flexible. However, it has additional benefits, too. Many jobs entail a long day of sitting, which can harm your physical and mental health.

Stretching might help to fight the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Engaging in gentle movements can improve posture, boost circulation, and reduce pain and stiffness. Stretching can increase serotonin levels. These hormones are associated with stress reduction and improved mood. 

Straighten Your Workspace

When you finally make it into the office, take a few moments to straighten your workspace. A space that is unorganized or cluttered can make you feel overwhelmed, which can lead to procrastination.

Work stress may also lead to office clutter, and greater amounts of clutter can increase stress, continuing a negative cycle. Devote a minute or two to breaking the cycle by organizing your area each morning.

It will likely help you feel more prepared to take on the day and might improve your efficiency and productivity. In addition, your clean and organized office will often provide a sense of clear mental space, allowing you to focus on the tasks at hand.

A Word From Verywell

Whether you're starting from scratch or trying to build on the basics, there’s no need to incorporate all these practices at once. Making small but significant changes to your morning routine over time allows you to find what works best.

Not everyone benefits from an early workout, meditation session, or quick stretch. It’s essential to create a routine that makes you happy, boosts your productivity, and takes your day from good to great! Working with a healthcare provider may also assist you in tailoring your plan to your specific health needs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is a morning routine important?

    Many physical and mental issues require lifetime prevention (and treatment). Creating a morning routine that benefits your overall health is a simple and straightforward way to include beneficial strategies in your day. Small daily changes eventually become a habit, improving the odds that you’ll stick to your healthy lifestyle changes over time.

  • How can a morning routine benefit your physical or mental health?

    Instead of risking decision fatigue or becoming overwhelmed and stressed with your calendar, consider having a morning routine. A regular succession of activities that can boost mood, decrease anxiety, improve cognitive function, and benefit physical health helps increase momentum and motivation for your day. Creating healthy habits by building them into your morning routine is one way to help ensure you start off on the right foot every day.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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