Why the morning can be good for your health
Is this you? It’s morning, the alarm goes off, you jump in the shower still half awake, you dress for work, you say a hurried goodbye to the family, you hunt for your briefcase/keys/phone/wallet, you might grab a piece of toast but then you are out of the door and on the train or in your car. Your heart is pounding and your adrenaline levels are high as you rush to beat the clock.
Let’s face it, we live our lives at breakneck speed and rarely give ourselves time to stop and think. And there is very little we can do to slow the speed of travel. Demanding jobs, tight time schedules, the need to accommodate study, work, families and social lives all combine to make us feel as if we are on a treadmill and it is just getting faster and faster.
How to start the morning in a positive frame of mind
Which is why, the least we can do is make sure that we start each day well. If you can take control of the manner in which you start each day then, by the time you hit the study or workplace, you will be in the right frame of mind to face whatever our 24/7 society can throw at us.
Take time to prepare yourself mentally
Our five point guide to getting a good start in the morning
Set your alarm five minutes earlier to give yourself time to prepare for the day ahead. Whether it is a few minutes of lying with your eyes closed after the alarm has beeped or whether you get on the mat and practise full-on meditation, give yourself a few minutes to set your goals and aims for the day. Think about what the day holds and how you will set about meeting each challenge. Take some deep, cleansing breaths, breathing in deeply and letting the air out with a long expulsion.
If time will allow it, do some physical activity before you set about the day’s activities. It has been proven in countless studies that people who exercise regularly are healthier, happier and more productive. You might be able to fit in a run or a visit to the gym before work but if not, think about doing a 15 minute home circuit or yoga practice in the morning to get the blood pumping and the muscles loose and warm.
Eat the right stuff
Your grandmother will have told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and, like so many things your grannie says, on this occasion again, she is right. The best thing to eat in the morning is something that is rich in protein – the suggestion is eat at least 40% of your breakfast as protein. The reasoning behind this, according to Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, is that protein-rich food keeps you full for longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Protein also keeps blood-sugar levels steady, preventing spikes in hunger. Eggs, bacon, sausage, nuts and seeds are all protein-rich foods.
Listen and learn
As you make your way to work, tune into some uplifting and/or educational content. This could be an audiobook, a lecture, a play or some investigative journalism. Over a long period you will have ‘read’ hundreds of books and increased your knowledge exponentially. And research suggests that by reading uplifting content, you perform at a higher level mentally.
Review your long term goals
Take a moment every day to think about where you are heading. If you think about your life goals everyday, they will stay at the forefront of your mind and you are more likely to achieve them. That musical instrument you wanted to learn, that book you are planning to write, that business you are going to start – think about how you will set about achieving your goal and you have taken one more step towards getting there.