The Best Ways to Start Your Day

      Your morning routine sets a tone of productivity and effectiveness. We are familiar with the sayings, “Getting started on the right foot” or “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” or “starting the day over.” Researchers suggest that by “getting started on the right foot” each day you will be able to shift your negatively projected course of action. By making a conscious effort to adjust your attitude and energy during the brief moments of your morning you will create a mindset geared for accomplishment.

      For some, the morning can be the most stressful part of the day. The morning ritual of caring after children, getting them to school on time, and racing to work can be extremely stressful. By the time you start your work day, you are already exhausted and mentally depleted. Then, you see what lies before you and you fear you won’t meet your deadlines. This can create a sense of dread that sticks with you throughout the day. Anxiety, fatigue and mental chaos may cloud your thoughts and diminish your efficacy.

      Breaking this cycle takes a conscious effort. It requires planning, self-awareness and practice. You can resist the chaos and negativity by taking control of items in your routine that cause stress. You can monitor your stress with techniques of mindfulness (ie. Taking a deep breath, thinking a positive thought). Those who want to change the course of their day must be proactive and resist the forces that bring chaos.

Here are some important key points to reducing stress associated with your morning routine:

-Revamp your Routine. Make a timeline of a typical morning to find out where most of your time is spent. Perhaps you find that you spend a lot of time fighting with the kids about what they will wear to school. Make a decision to move this task to bedtime. Have the kids bring their school items to the kitchen table before they go to bed to eliminate the last-minute-running-around-trying-to-find-things-panic-mode. By planning ahead and charting out a more efficient morning timeline, you will reduce your daily stress.

-Take a Chill Pill. Drinking more caffeine will not help with your stress levels. Sometimes we think that by juicing up we can accomplish more. The truth is, you may be even more panicked and stressed than you need to be as the result of too much caffeine. Try something different to gain energy like fruit. Instead of relying on that jolt of java, do ten push-ups and ten sit-ups before you get in the shower. Don’t be a slave to your morning! Take charge and kick morning’s butt!

-SMILE! The act of smiling not only makes us feel better but it also makes those around us feel better. Smile at the school bus driver. Smile at the barista. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Hug and kiss your kids and make them laugh. Be silly. Play happy music in your car and sing at the top of your lungs. If you drive the kids to school, get them moving with music.

-Breathe. Pause. Be mentally present. Try a little business Buddhism. Find 30 seconds of silence to center your mind.

-Be Self-Aware. You are the hallway monitor of your thoughts. Cognitive-Behavioral experts teach us that beliefs shape our thoughts which in turn shape our attitudes and behaviors. Be aware of the quality of your thought life. If you think negatively, you will feel negatively causing your actions to follow suit.

-Be Organized. Use a system of organization and stick to it. Organize your information and your work space. This is a time saver and a brain saver. It takes dedication and practice. You will thank yourself for it. Utilize organizational tools to keep track of things so that your brain doesn’t have to.

-Be grateful. Identify something work related for which you are grateful. Gratitude is a quick fix to negative thinking.  


Haley, L.  (image) A Morning Stress Management Technique