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Rise & Shine: Seven Steps to Making Every Morning a Great One

You wake up, stretch, and swing your feet out of bed, hoping to literally start your day on the right foot. While everyone begins their day differently, it’s what you do right after waking up that sets the tone for the hours that follow. Whether you’re constantly reaching for the snooze button or skipping breakfast for an early meeting, morning imbalance can affect how you function the rest of the day. So how do you bring some calm, connection, and inner peace to your morning? Here are seven steps to making every morning a refreshingly good one.

WAKE UP 20 MINUTES EARLIER.

Technically, this requires some planning the night before, but it’ll go far in helping to structure your mornings more effectively. Use this extra time in the morning to sip your coffee or tea on the back porch, read the newspaper, or do whatever else comforts your soul and helps you ease into the rest of your day. Your morning routine should be relaxed instead of rushed. Waking up earlier gives you time for introspection and allows you to get into the right frame of mind for your day.

NAME YOUR FEELINGS.

Take a minute to recognize how you’re feeling each morning. Ask yourself: What am I grateful for today? What excites me right now? What’s causing tension or feelings of uneasiness? Identify how you’re feeling, embrace the positive, and note how to move forward without the negative.

SMILE.

This small act makes a big impact. If you aren’t a morning person, smiles may be in short supply; however, taking the time to look in the mirror and smile at yourself creates a positive ripple effect on the rest of your morning. When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides that help fight off stress. Smiling also releases neurotransmitters called dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, which increase our feelings of happiness. In short, we can actually trick ourselves into feeling happier, just by saying “Cheese!”

VISUALIZE HOW YOU WANT YOUR DAY TO UNFOLD.

Think about how you want to feel, what you want to accomplish, and what you want to happen during your day, and you’ll be more likely to live out that vision. Set goals for your day, and get ready to crush them.

SNOOZE YOUR SMARTPHONE INSTEAD OF YOUR ALARM CLOCK.

Your first instinct may be to check your phone for texts, emails, and social media notifications when you wake up. When you do this, you immediately cultivate a reactive mindset for your day. Instead, don’t pick up your phone during the first 30 minutes of your morning. To start your day with a sense of presence and focus, it’s important to avoid the things that can bring stress, like unopened work emails and missed messages from a friend.

SWEAT.

Just how smiling releases neurotransmitters, physical fitness can have the same effects. Your body releases endorphins and dopamine during exercise, too, reducing your stress levels and making you feel happy. This, coupled with a healthy, at-home breakfast, clears your mind and sets you up for a more successful day.

MAKE YOUR BED (OR COMPLETE ONE OTHER QUICK TASK ON YOUR TO-DO LIST).

Tuck in your sheets, toss on your throw pillows, and in two minutes, you’ve already completed one task that creates the pattern for the rest of your day. Whatever you choose to tackle, just set a small goal, and make it happen. One task will turn into another, then another, until you’ve accomplished a whole list of things.

REMEMBER, creating a routine takes commitment. So tomorrow, when you wake up, try following these seven easy steps to help start your day on the right foot.