7 Tips for Starting Your Morning Off Right

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS, is an associate editor at Psych Central and authors the body image blog Weightless. She writes about everything from anxiety and ADHD to creativity and couples to mindfulness and stress.
Your jarring alarm jolts you out of bed. And the race begins: You run through your routine like a robot. Brush your teeth, take a shower, put on clothes, eat breakfast, hope you have everything you need and sprint out the door. Your morning often sets the tone for the rest of your day. So enjoying your morning is important, even when you feel like you’re too swamped with other stuff. What is the key to great mornings? Moving through it mindfully, and creating habits that bring doses of joy into your day. Here’s a list of ideas to start your morning off right.

Pen Your Morning Pages

Julia Cameron shares the idea of “Morning Pages” in her  book The Artist’s Way. This simply involves writing three pages in longhand every morning about anything and everything that crosses your mind. Don’t edit yourself. Just write. Write about needing to grocery-shop or the weird dream you had last night. Write about the song you can’t get out of your head, or the pile of laundry you need to fold. Write about how tired or achy you are. As Cameron says on her website, these pages can be petty or grumpy. Write what you feel. She also notes on her site: “Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.”

Giving Thanks

Connecting to your gratitude first thing in the morning helps you begin the day with affection in your heart. As soon as you open your eyes, get into the habit of considering one thing you’re thankful for. It can be the same thing every day or something different: your spouse; a beloved pet; the book on your nightstand; your job; the sun, which finally peeked its head after days of rain and fog. If you like, jot down what you’re grateful for in a journal, or even snap a photo of it.

Deep Breaths

Even when you’re super rushed in the morning, you can always spare a minute to take several slow, deep breaths. Doing so calms you down and grounds you in the present moment. As a bonus, speak words that resonate with you with each breath.

Find Joy

Do one thing that brings you joy. Maybe that’s cuddling with your partner, or playing with your kids. Maybe that’s 10 minutes of silence while savoring your cup of . Or maybe it’s taking a long, hot shower, reading or walking around the block.

Make Music a Staple

Research suggests that music can boost our mood and soothe us, which can make it a great tool for starting our days. What music makes you feel invigorated, calm or inspired? Spend several minutes listening to your favorite tunes, or keep the music on as you go through your entire routine, almost like your own personal soundtrack. Create playlists on your computer solely for your mornings. Or if you play an instrument or like to sing, make your own music!

Take in Nature

As you’re going to work, pause to marvel at the miracle of your surroundings.

According to authors Jeffrey Brantley, MD, and Wendy Millstine, NC in their book Five Good Minutes: 100 Morning Practices to Help You Stay Calm & Focused All Day Long:

“When you take this time to open your senses to the pleasures of what is just outside your door, you open your mind and body to nature’s restorative power to soothe and heal you.” They suggest taking five minutes to “listen to the rustle of the wind through the trees” and to “smell the salty scent of the sea air.” Look at the ground, grass, trees, sun and anything else in your environment as though you’re seeing it for the very first time. What can you do in the morning to open your senses to nature?Brightness

Give Yourself Extra Time

No doubt for some of these activities, it helps to have extra time. This means having to wake up earlier than you normally do. But this doesn’t mean renovating your routine. Most people can adjust their nighttime schedule, and go to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier. This way you’re still enjoying the same amount of sleep. What makes a great morning will vary with each person. For instance, you might want to sleep in instead of waking up earlier and penning Morning Pages. Or you might enjoy playing a few tunes on your guitar. In other words, these activities may or may not resonate with you. Either way, give yourself the opportunity to figure out what does. And give yourself permission to begin tomorrow.

The Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, Inc. is pleased to announce morning appointment times. For your convenience, we are now open at 8 a.m. Acupuncture is used for a variety of physical ailments and internal health challenges. It is also used for balance. Consider adding acupuncture to your weekly routine to encourage health and well-being. It can also help you achieve peak performance in your athletic goals. We look forward to working with you!

Photos provided by Bill Masure, photojournalist.