Awesome, productive days don’t happen by accident. They are, rather, the product of design. The things you do in the 90 minutes after your feet hit the floor in the morning will dictate how the rest of the day goes. Here are eight habits to build into your morning routine to ensure that you have a productive day.
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Getting into the habit of mindful meditation first thing in the morning will help you to focus and clear your mind for the day ahead. Simply spend 10-15 minutes when you first wake up sitting or lying in comfort. Focus on your breathing, inhaling through your nose, taking it deeply into the belly and then exhaling through your mouth. Then focus on the various parts of your body, starting with your toes and working your way up to your head. Wiggle your toes and then tense and relax your various muscles as you move up the body.
Do not check your technology before you begin your meditation session. If you do, you’ll probably find it hard to get your mind off the latest tweet or email message!
Keep a Journal
There are proven brain benefits to keeping a daily journal, but only if you do it by hand rather than on your computer! Writing by hand helps both sides of your brain to coordinate, boosts the memory and promotes creativity. The brain’s motor cortex is also more actively involved than when you type. Handwriting has even been shown to help reduce stress, especially if you write positive things, such as 5 things that you are grateful for. Doing so will focus your mind on positivity, setting you up for a happy, productive day.
When you wake up in the morning, your body needs water more than it needs food. In fact, unless you get up in the middle of the night to drink water, you will be slightly dehydrated when you get up. Hydrating first thing will provide the H20 that your cells need. Drink between 20 and 24 ounces of water in the first few minutes after getting up.
Have a High Protein Breakfast
Starting your day with a high protein breakfast will provide your muscles with the fuel they need to power you through your day. Protein is also the most satiating of the three macronutrients, helping to prevent morning cravings. Bacon and eggs on toast is a great option. If you are in a hurry, have a protein shake.
Decompress your Spine
During the previous day, and even while you are sleeping in bed, your spine gets compressed by the constant force of gravity. Spending 60 seconds hanging from a bar to decompress your spine shortly after getting up will decompress the spine. This will loosen up your entire posterior chain, helping you to improve your posture and go through the day free of lower back pain.
It is especially important to decompress your spine if your day will involve extended periods of time hunched over a computer screen. Invest in a detachable doorway pull up bar and you will be able to decompress your spine multiple times each day, which is the ideal!
Make a ‘To-Do’ List
Creating a ‘To-Do’ List is one of the smartest things you can do in order to boost your daily brain productivity. It allows you to sort out your priorities and filter out the non-essentials. Making a ‘To-Do’ list can also provide you with some great mental positive reinforcement, as you tick off each item on the list. It also provides what researchers refer to as a frequency of progress which makes us feel great about our day.
Drink Coffee + Green Tea
Drinking a cup of coffee at the start of your day can boost your brain in the following ways:
It reduces the production of the neurotransmitter adenosine by binding to its receptors. Adenosine makes us feel tired. Its reduction through caffeine consumption makes us feel more alert and awake.
Caffeine prevents the brain from reabsorbing dopamine, which is a feel good hormone. As a result, we feel happy for longer.
Don’t go overboard on your coffee consumption, however. Having more than 400 mg per day can lead to migraines!
Green tea has been shown to have some powerful cognitive benefits. Its power lies in an amino acid called theanine which has been shown to increase concentration and decrease fatigue. The best green tea for brain benefits is matcha tea. The plant is shaded from the sun which increases the theanine level.
Green tea also contains antioxidants and nutrients to promote cognitive functioning.
Brush Your Teeth With Your Other Hand
Unless you are among the 1% of people who are ambidextrous, you will have a dominant hand. Forcing yourself to use your non dominant hand is a great way to exercise your brain. You may know that the left side of your brain controls the right side functioning. So, when you switch to the opposite hand, you light up a whole new area of your brain.
Start by brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.