6 morning habits to ensure you have a happy, productive day
Sid Madge, author and founder of the psychological movement Meee, shares his top tips for welcoming in some pint-sized positivity every day.
Whether you, like me, are still working from home or have had to readjust to commuting, how you start your day is important. Having constructive morning habits will help you get your day off to the best possible start.
And the best way to manage our morning is to embrace the ‘micro-moment’ – those tiny, manageable interventions that can make a huge difference.
I’ve written three books on ‘micro-moments’ for life, work and family. Each ‘Meee in a Minute’ book offers 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that offer us quick, practical ways to recalibrate how we feel and nudge ourselves into a more helpful and constructive mindset.
Here are six micro-moment ideas to help you start your day well and reap the rewards.
1. Kindness Conundrum
We share things all the time – anything from pizza to money – and when we share something, that act of sharing diminishes what we have. But this is not true of kindness. Kindness is the only thing in the world that increases when we share it. And that’s not just a lovely thought, it has been borne out by research. If we perform just one act of random kindness a day, we will experience less anxiety, stress and depression; perhaps broadcasting that information daily could help combat Covid-19 and its effects.
Additionally, our body is flooded with the same hormones that make both parties calmer, healthier and happier – a double-whammy win. These hormones include: serotonin, the feel-good hormone; endorphins, which reduce pain; and oxytocin, which is the bonding hormone and helps to reduce blood pressure. But there is also a third winner in this kindness scenario: those who witness kindness are also more likely to pay if forward. Take a moment each morning to commit to a random act of kindness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to trigger a kindness pandemic to help us deal with the other one?
2. Move for at least 10 minutes
One of the best ways to start your morning is to move. You might want to head to the gym, but even just a quick 10-minute power walk around the block to kick start your day can make a huge difference to the way you feel. If you are lucky enough to live near green space and nature, even better. Who doesn’t love trees?
If you’re unable to get outside, then there are loads of apps and online videos (YouTube is your friend) that offer quick 7-minute HIIT programmes or 10-minute yoga stretching. Take a minute to consider what you could do in the morning and incorporate it into your daily routine.
3. Rubbish In/Rubbish Out
Most of us don’t realise that we can change the way we feel by either changing what’s going on in our minds or changing what’s going on in our bodies. Of course, the two are intertwined. This is why moving first thing in the morning is so beneficial – it changes what’s happening in the body, which influences the hormone levels that can impact mood. The food we eat also impacts how we feel, so pay attention to your breakfast choices. It may be a good idea to give the cereal bars a big miss as they’re loaded with sugar.
But it’s not just about activity and nutrition. What else are you consuming that might negatively impact your mind? Do you sit at the breakfast table and watch or listen to the news? Do you read a newspaper or scroll through your social media feed? Take a moment to consider how your current morning ritual makes you feel. Is a diet of doom and gloom, conspiracy theories, fake news and alternative facts good for you? Give something else a try and see if you feel better. Listen to music or talk with your family about the day ahead. Or just plan your day.
4. You are where you need to be
We live in challenging times. Don’t add to how tough it is by beating yourself up about poor choices or worrying about the stuff you can’t change or control. Take a minute to think about your life right now. Perhaps you find yourself in a situation you didn’t want or expect – most of us can relate to that! What have you learned about yourself as a result? Always remember, you have the power to turn a negative into a positive.
- The easiest and fastest way to turn a negative feeling into a positive feeling is to put on your favourite song and sing along at the top of your voice. Or dance around the living room for 5 minutes. Just try it. It works. It literally changes the chemistry in your body.
- If you want a quieter alternative, stand in the superwoman pose for two minutes. Legs hips distance apart. Hands on hips, shoulders back. Imagine you have just landed to save the world. This is called a high power-pose and it will increase your confidence hormone and decrease your stress hormone. It might feel silly, but try it.
5. Do what is next, next!
Life can be overwhelming at times, so much to do. So, just focus on what’s next. Do what’s next until it’s finished or you can’t make any more progress and move to what’s after that. Just start with the next thing and keep going. You’ll be amazed at what you get through.
6. Have a clear-out
Bin the negative thoughts. Life is about focus – we get what we focus on. If we focus on negative thoughts, they can pollute our entire day. Focus on one positive aspect of your life and revel in the warm feeling.
Developing positive, constructive habits during our mornings can have a genuine impact on how the rest of our day unfolds. By managing our mornings, we give ourselves the best possible chance of having an enjoyable and productive day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is a transformation and change specialist and founder of Meee. Meee draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people embrace change and achieve extraordinary lives.
From pupils to CEOs, Sid has helped thousands find their magic to transform themselves, their communities and their organisations. Sid is also the author of the Meee in Minute series of books, which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work, or family life in 60 seconds.