6 Things To Do Before Getting Out Of Bed In The Morning

When the alarm clock goes off, most of us either hit snooze or groggily get out of bed without much thought about how we’re starting the day. But if you can spare 10 extra minutes, you can make a world of difference to your mental and physical health — all before leaving your bed in the morning. Use these tips to get up on the right side of the bed from now on.

1. Put down your cellphone

Before you get up in the morning, put down your cellphone and avoid social media.
Before you get up in the morning, put down your cellphone and avoid social media.

Time needed: 30 seconds

After the alarm goes off, put your phone back down on the nightstand. Get into the habit of guarding your mental health, which means resisting the temptation to scroll through your social media feeds or checking the news.

Research has some startling things to say in this department. For example, frequent social media use is linked with high rates of depression and low self-esteem. In addition, it’s well established that watching or reading the news negatively impacts our mental health. That’s because the news you see on your feed may be violent and emotionally-charged, causing you to feel more anxious and angry. Over time, it may even alter your world view, leading you to believe the world is more dangerous than it actually is.

Whoa! The last thing you need in the morning is to activate your sympathetic nervous system, which simulates the flight or fight response. Instead, simply opt out. In his book “4-Hour Workweek,” author and lifestyle designer Tim Ferris says, “I never watch the news and haven’t bought one single newspaper in the last five years.” He prefers to hear a quick recap of the news from friends and colleagues. Now there’s something to consider.

2. Think of 10 things you’re grateful for

Time needed: 2 minutes

If you’re not in the best mood when you wake up, this simple exercise may help. Numerous studies have shown the link between gratitude and overall well-being. Research shows that gratitude can:

That’s not all. In one study, researchers found that grateful adults reported fewer aches and pains than those who did not practice thankfulness. It may even reduce your risk of heart disease. Not bad for an attitude of gratitude! Consider starting a gratitude journal that you write in every morning to start the day off right.

3. Give meditation a try

Time needed: 3 minutes

Meditation is hands down one of the most important things you can do in the morning to improve your mental state. If you do nothing else on this list, make meditation your priority. It will reduce scattered thinking, improve productivity and invite feelings of calm. Here’s a simple way to give it a try. Meditation apps can help you keep track of the time.

  1. Close your eyes and try to tune out the world.
  2. Place your right hand on your stomach and your left hand over your heart.
  3. Focus on your breath, in and out.
  4. If your thoughts wander, don’t punish yourself. Just come back to the breath.

It can also be helpful to recite a mantra in your head. One of my personal favorites is “I am she, she is me,” a variation on the Sanskrit hamsa mantra.

4. Massage your body and stretch it out

Stretching in the morning is a great way to start the day

Time needed: 2 minutes

If you’re feeling anxious about the day ahead, invoke the power of Chinese acupressure. Place your index and middle fingers on each temple, rubbing in a circular motion for one minute. This stimulates an acupressure point known as “taiyang,” which can help calm and relax the mind. It’s especially useful if you woke up with a headache.

To take things one step further, massage your forehead, nose, neck and back of your shoulders. Then, raise your arms overhead and stretch yourself long to wake up your muscles.

5. Cuddle your partner or your pet

Start your morning off right by cuddling your partner, pet or even yourself.
Start your morning off right by cuddling your partner, pet or even yourself.

Time needed: 2 minutes

Cuddling has a range of health benefits, from releasing oxytocin (a.k.a. the “love” hormone) to triggering dopamine. It can also drop cortisol, thereby reducing stress. It may even lead to weight loss and lower your risk of heart disease! Who knew?

While you’re at it, don’t forget about Fido! If you don’t have a partner in bed, go ahead and give your pet a hug. Studies have shown that petting a dog, for example, has significant cardiovascular benefits. These include lowered blood pressure, slower heart rate and improved immune function.

And hey, if you don’t have a partner or pet, take a moment to give yourself a squeeze and recite some positive affirmations. There’s nothing wrong with that — self-love is just as important.

6. Smile

Time needed: 30 seconds

Research has shown that the simple act of smiling or laughing can produce endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the neurotransmitters responsible for making us happy and lowering levels of stress. To practice this, soften your face and relax the jaw. Conjure up a thought in your head that makes you feel happy. Let yourself smile — the bigger, the better.

How this 10-minute practice leads to a healthier life

It’s pretty simple, actually. These activities reduce stress, a top killer in today’s society. When we’re feeling stressed, we produce stress hormones that can pave a wide path of destruction. Chronic stress can cause abdominal fat, inflammation, disordered eating habits, insomnia, anxiety, depression, substance abuse issues, infections and dangerous diseases. No, thank you! Best to nip toxic stress in the bud first thing in the morning with a self-care routine.

When you get out of bed…

Now that you’re feeling calm and ready to conquer the day, there are a few more ways you can stay on track in the morning:

And there you have it — a handful of easy ways to give yourself a much-needed boost in the morning. Now go get ‘em, tiger!

— Hilary Lebow

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