If you are thinking of building a morning routine, you might be looking for activities to incorporate in your routine. At HelloCocooners we’ve researched and tested lots of activities, and this article includes some of our favorites ways to improve your morning routine! Make your morning routine more effective and relaxing with these proven methods.

Morning Routine

1. Having a big breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Did you know that your breakfast can have an effect on your sleep? Having a breakfast containing the amino acid tryptophan and vitamin B6 improves the secretion of melatonin at night [1].

Melatonin at night may calm your stress response. If you combine a tryptophan-rich breakfast with bright-light exposure (getting 30 minutes of daylight exposure), you’ll get the best effect. Foods high in tryptophan and vitamin B6 are bananas and eggs.

If you are a slow starter in the morning, make sure you prepare your breakfast the night before.

2. Meditation

We know that everyone and their mother is telling you to start meditating. And so are we! Regular meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress and researchers discovered it is even more effective than taking a vacation! [2]

An advantage of meditation is that you can start right now. You don’t need any equipment or courses to get started. Many free apps can help you out. Our favorite meditation app is Insight Timer. It is a great app for beginners because of all the different available guided meditations.

Download Insight Timer and get started

Download on the App StoreGoogle Play Download

3. (Art) Journaling

If you have a hard time dealing with daily stressors or your emotions, journaling is the way to go. It helps you prioritize problems and provides an opportunity for positive self-talk [3]. It can help you manage anxiety and is a great way to get rid of negative thoughts [4].

If you don’t like the idea of writing down your feelings and worries, there are some other ways you can use journaling to express yourself:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Write down three things you are grateful for.
  • Keep an art journal. Use drawing/painting instead of writing.

If you are looking for a high-quality notebook for journaling, read our comparison of the most popular notebooks.

4. Visualizing

Visualizing is a powerful habit to add to your morning routine. It will set you up for a relaxed and successful day. If you think visualization is too wishy-washy for you, you might want to change your mind: famous athletes have been using this practice since the 60’s [5].

Researchers who conducted a study on brain patterns in weightlifters found something interesting. The patterns activated when weightlifters lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined lifting weights [6].

5. Spending time with your pet(s)

You might not know this, but our pets have a significant impact on our stress levels. And I don’t mean the effect of your cat scratching your sofa or your dog chewing on your brand new shoes. I am talking about the positive impact here.

Pets make us feel less lonely and fulfill our need for touch. They also make us laugh and laughing reduces our stress response and releases tension.

Furthermore, experiments showed that we feel more confident when our pets are close by. Even thinking of your precious pet can make you feel more confident. Another research showed that our body reacts not as intense to a stressful task when our pets are nearby or when we are thinking of our pet when performing the task. Participants who had their pet closeby or thought about their pet had markedly lower blood pressure [7].

Starting the day out with your pet is a great idea. Add some playtime to your morning routine to create many happy mornings for you and your furry critter.

6. Reading

When I travel by public transport, I always take a book with me. While other people are frantically checking their email or Facebook feed, you can find me relaxing an reading a book. Reading is a great way to reduce stress. One study shows that reading is 68% better at reducing stress levels than listening to your favorite tunes.

You don’t have to read for hours on end to reap the benefits of this activity. Reading for 6 minutes is enough to reduce stress levels by 60%. It slows down your heartbeat and eases the tension in your muscles [8]. Read while commuting or before you get out of bed.

7. Breathing exercises

We all know how to breathe, but being mindful of the way we breathe can help you reduce stress. Breathing exercises are great when you need some stress relief when you are about to give a presentation at work, are in an argument or when waiting in traffic. You can do these exercises everywhere!

Breathing exercises lower your blood pressure, calm your mind, lower anxiety and relieve tension in your body.

At Greatist.com they list 6 great breathing exercises for you to try.

8. Self-Compassion exercises

You might be aware of the importance of having healthy relationships with others. But did you ever think of the importance of having a healthy relationship with yourself?

You don’t have to be perfect. Being imperfect is something you share with every human being on the planet. Being kind to ourselves and steering clear of harsh self-criticism helps us cope with stressful situations and makes us more kind to others.

Kristin Neff, the psychologist behind Self-Compassion, offers some excellent exercises to help you have more compassion for yourself.

If you want to learn more about self-compassion, we highly recommend her book.

9. Stretching

Stretching can be a great way to relieve stress in your body. If you experience physical tension after a long day of working behind a computer or because of mental stress, there are some wonderful stretch exercises you can do to relieve this tension.

10. Drinking water

Dehydration has a close relationship with stress. Being dehydrated can increase the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Starting out your day with a big glass of water is crucial. Drink 16oz (500ml) of water after waking up to help you rehydrate, start up your metabolism and flush out toxins, and you’ll be ready to start your day!

Do you have some tips yourself? Share them in the comments.

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