9 Ways Happy People Start Their Mornings

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Everyone approaches their morning differently. Some people wake up excited to start their day. Others like to ease into their day more gradually. No matter how you like to start your morning, there are things you can do to ensure every day gets off to a great start.

A good morning routine will help you feel relaxed, alert and energized. Starting your morning on the right foot means creating a feeling of happiness that you can carry with you all day long. Your morning routine should include not only getting ready, but also making space for feeling joy and feeling mentally and physically prepared to take on whatever the world has in store for you.

Start your day off the right way with these 9 habits that happy people use to get their morning going. (Hint: It’s not about gulping coffee and running out the door.)

1. Get enough sleep.

An exhausted person isn’t a happy person. Nothing will kill your happiness faster than waking up tired and grumpy. If you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, you’re probably starting your day drained and irritated. It’s hard to have a positive outlook when all you want to do is crawl back into bed.

A good night’s sleep is like a magical elixir for your physical health, and is key to your overall sense of happiness and well-being. Research has shown that sleep is one of the most effective ways to improve concentration, strengthen the immune system and improve a person’s mood and feeling of well-being.

However, not getting enough sleep impairs memory and increases levels of stress hormones. So, the first step to creating a happy, cheerful morning is ensuring you get enough quality sleep the night before. Set a sleep schedule for yourself and stick to it — your happiness may depend on it.

2. A new day, a new start.

Happy people begin each day anew. They wake up with the mindset that each day is a new beginning — a chance to move forward and not let past failures weigh them down. Yesterday may have been a rotten day, but that doesn’t mean today has to be.

Happy people start their day with an affirmation. They declare from the outset how they want their day to go. A positive morning affirmation can be a powerful way to start your day feeling confident and ready for success. Examples include:

  • I have the knowledge to make smart decisions for myself.
  • I am, and always will be, enough.
  • I let go of any negative feelings about myself or my life and accept all that is good.
  • I am courageous. I am willing to act and face my fears.

3. Wake up grateful.

Waking up with a feeling of gratitude ensures you start your day in good spirits. A thankful heart is a happy heart. Gratitude is powerful because it’s both a feeling and an action. Actively thinking about things you’re grateful for, in turn, makes you feel grateful. It’s a positive thought loop that’s easy to practice and has beneficial effects on your physical and mental health.

You can wake up feeling grateful by simply taking a moment when you first open your eyes to look about and feel a swell of appreciation for everything around you. Recognize how wonderful this moment is, and how good it feels to be here. Today is a gift, and you can do with it what you will. You can choose to make the most of it. You can choose happiness. Take a moment to acknowledge all you have and see the possibilities of the day before you.

4. Keep a manageable morning routine.

Happy people don’t frantically tear around trying to get ready at breakneck speed and then rush out the door, already late for their first meeting or appointment of the day. Doing this will set you up for feeling stressed out and harried all day long. Starting the day with a contented and peaceful attitude requires you to have time to wake up properly and to get ready at a calm and measured pace.

Happy people tend to keep their routine simple and manageable. A complex routine is hard to stick to and can leave you feeling anxious and exasperated first thing in the morning. Cut out multitasking and reject unneeded distractions, like checking and returning email while trying to get ready. Do one thing at a time. Keep your morning uncomplicated and as stress-free as possible so you’ll set yourself up to be in a good mood all day long.

5. Meditate

Daily meditation, whether it’s a quick five-minute practice or a lengthier session, can help create a contented and happy mind. Spending time meditating each morning improves focus, increases self-esteem and confidence, and quiets the cacophony of mental angst and turbulence we are constantly contending with. You can meditate at any time of day, but it’s best to do it in the morning so you’re sure to get it in, and so you can benefit from its effects throughout the day.

To begin the practice of meditation, start by sitting quietly in a comfortable position or in a chair for two minutes every morning. This is a chance for you to check in with how you’re feeling, both in your mind and body. Be focused on the moment. Turn your attention to your breaths or do a body scan, focusing on one body part at a time. Recognize your thoughts and feelings, and maintain a loving attitude toward yourself. Meditation is a chance to get to know yourself and be aware of each moment you are in.

6. Start your day with exercise.

Before you dive into a long day of work, make sure you take time to get some exercise in. Some people find that fresh air first thing in the morning brightens their mood all day. Try a brisk walk, a run around the block or a trip to the gym. Other people may prefer to start their day with a home workout, such as stretching or yoga.

Morning exercise gets your blood flowing and gives you a boost of energy for the day. Exercise also releases feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These may buffer feelings of stress and anxiety, and help relieve symptoms of depression. Research has shown that working out improves how we feel about our bodies and gives us a sense of well-being.

7. Make your bed.

It may sound silly, but beginning your day by making your bed can set you up for feeling ready to take on the world. According to one survey of 2,000 Americans, bed makers tend to be adventurous, confident and sociable. People who don’t make their beds tend to be shy, moody and sarcastic.

Many successful people recommend making your bed as a simple way to start the day off on the right foot. For example, Tim Ferriss has said that the simple act of bed making teaches us that it’s the little things in life that matter.

US Navy SEAL commander Admiral William H. McRaven gave a now-famous commencement speech at the University of Texas in which he said that making your bed is so powerful because it gives you a feeling of accomplishment first thing in the morning. It encourages you to take on even more tasks and motivates you to get more done in life.

8. Nourish your body.

You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s true. Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism and gets your body and mind prepped for a busy day. Research has found that breakfast eaters have better diets and consume more fruit and vegetables than those who don’t eat breakfast.

But just as important, a nourished body leads to an improved mood. Eating breakfast also sends a positive message to yourself that you are taking care of your health and well-being. You’ll find you can concentrate better if you start the day with a healthy meal. You’ll be less likely to feel fatigued and get that “hangry” feeling mid-morning, which leads to overeating at lunch. The best breakfasts pair carbs with proteins to get your body fueled and ready to go.

9. Set goals for the day.

Happy people often have a sense of purpose. They aren’t wandering aimlessly through life; they work each day to make progress and accomplish their tasks. It feels satisfying to have set priorities for yourself and strive to meet milestones. Happy people make sure they begin their day by setting goals for themselves. What do you want to accomplish today? What is the most efficient and effective use of your time?

Make it a point to spend a few minutes each morning determining what you want to do that day. Be sure to think through your to-do list carefully — often we spend too much time on things that aren’t really important. Focus on what matters and make sure you’re scheduling downtime. After all, the secret to lasting happiness is finding ways to enjoy each day in its entirety.

How To Prevent Morning Anxiety From Totally Ruining Your Day

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Anxiety has a very unwelcome way of popping up when you least expect it. It could happen at a party, just when you were starting to have a good time. Or in the middle of the night, making it that much harder to get a blissful eight hours of sleep. And, for some, anxiety has a habit of rearing its ugly head in the early morning—just to make sure your day starts off on a really stellar note.
Why—why?!—does morning anxiety happen? And how do you get rid of it? Here, Gail Saltz, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine gives all the need-to-know facts.

What morning anxiety looks like (and why it’s happening)

There’s a difference between waking up and being in a bad mood because you don’t feel like going to work and having actual morning anxiety. Here are the signs of the latter, according to Dr. Saltz:

  • A rush in adrenaline, such as a racing heart or increased jitteriness.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • A sense of worry for no apparent reason.
  • Feeling on edge, but you aren’t sure why.
  • Exhaustion even though you’ve just slept.

As for why anxiety can strike in the morning, Dr. Saltz says there are a few factors at play that could cause morning anxiety:

1. You have higher amounts of stress hormones in the morning. “There’s actually a physiological reason why some people experience anxiety in the mornings,” Dr. Saltz says. “For one, it’s when cortisol levels are naturally at their highest.” She explains that cortisol is often called “the stress hormone” because high levels of it can lead to feeling stressed.

“There’s nothing you can do from stopping cortisol from raising slightly in the morning—that’s biologically what happens—but there are steps you can take to lower your cortisol over all so that it doesn’t peak as high,” Dr. Saltz says. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to it!)

2. Coffee can lead to feeling anxious. What you eat or drink in the morning can also lead to increased feelings of anxiety, according to Dr. Saltz. “The first thing many people do in the morning is drink a cup of coffee. Caffeine, particularly for people who already have anxiety, can definitely worsen the symptoms of that.” She explains that caffeine can lead to feeling jittery and having an increased heart rate. “Then our brain tries to come up with a reason to explain why we feel that way: I’m feeling jittery. I must be worried about X.” Dr. Saltz says this happens so quickly that it can feel like we have the thought first and thenthe physiological reaction, but it’s actually the other way around.

3. Sugar is another culprit. What are you normally eating for breakfast? If you’re going for something that has lots of simple sugars or carbs (like a smoothie bowl or toast), the quick energy spike could ultimately affect your morning anxiety. “Right after you have an insulin burst, blood sugar levels drop and that can make your anxiety feel worse,” Dr. Saltz says, adding that this can lead to feeling fatigued or on edge for seemingly no reason. Your blood sugar is also at a natural low point in the morning (since, you know, you haven’t eaten since the night before), which can contribute to feeling anxious.

4. Morning anxiety could also be a sign of having general anxiety disorder. If you experience morning anxiety several times a week, Dr. Saltz says you likely have generalized anxiety disorder, which she says is extremely common. (This means that you are consistently experiencing symptoms of anxiety over at least a six-month period.) If this is the case, the key will be finding ways to quell your anxiety as a whole.

If you suspect that you have generalized anxiety disorder, the next best step is to seek help from a mental health professional, who help you develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

5. You’re chronically stressed. “If you are overly stressed, your body will produce more cortisol,” Dr. Saltz says. That means that morning peak is going to be higher than it would be otherwise. Again, the only way to get to the root cause of this is to take steps to minimize the stress in your life.

How to fight back against morning anxiety

Anxiety is a frustrating condition, especially when it pops up first thing in the a.m. As mentioned above, if you have chronic anxiety or a diagnosed anxiety condition, you’ll want to work with your mental health practitioner to find the right treatment for you. But if your morning anxiety is more of an occasional annoyance, Dr. Saltz has some tips that could help cut down on its occurrence:

1. Make measures to minimize overall stress. If you have generalized anxiety disorder or are overly stressed, Dr. Saltz says it’s important to take steps to manage it, which could include the help of a therapist. “Meditationregular exercise, and having an overall healthy diet all play parts in minimizing overall stress,” she adds.

2. Cut back on caffeine and sugar. Because these are two culprits that often cause physiological responses that mimic anxiety, cutting them out or reducing your intake could help. Look for breakfast foods rich in protein and healthy fats (the latter is especially good for brain health) that won’t spike insulin levels, like eggs or a green smoothie, and consider switching your regular latte for a milder form of caffeine, like matcha or tea.

3. Take some deep breaths. This might seem like an “easier said than done” situation, but Dr. Saltz says taking slow, deep breaths truly can help calm the mind and body. “If there’s something you’re worried about on your mind that pops up while you’re taking your deep breaths, acknowledge it and let it pass; don’t try to push it away,” she says.

4. Write down everything you’re worried about. In morning moments where you feel consumed by everything you have to get done that day, Dr. Saltz says it can help to write them down. “Some people keep a ‘worry journal’ for this purpose,” she says. “Once they write it down, it’s out of their mind and they can move on with their day.” It can also help, she says, to make a to-do list so you know exactly when you’re going to get everything done. That way, you’re not spending your morning trying to figure it out in your head.

5. Get enough good quality sleep. Dr. Saltz says not getting enough quality sleep can also lead to feeling anxious when you wake up. Again, it’s because those pesky cortisol levels come into play; not getting enough sleep can raise them higher.

Morning anxiety can feel frustrating and overwhelming. But knowing the everyday factors that can contribute to it can help you take back control of how you feel. Here’s to actually enjoying our morning routines again.

Find out how having anxiety impacted one woman’s career. And here’s the difference between feeling anxious and stressed.

 

This 10-Minute Morning Routine Will Make You A Better Parent, Entrepreneur, And Person

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This morning, I got up at 5 a.m. and was going to immediately start working on a project. As an entrepreneur, writer, and father of five — I have far more to do than time in my day.But instead of jumping immediately into one of my many projects, I decided to give myself some space.There are certain high-performance habits that ensure you’ll operate at a 10x higher level than if you simply just get to work.Success is not about how many hours you put it, but the quality of those hours.In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains the importance of “sharpening the saw.”

Most people go throughout their days as a dull saw, putting more and more time in but getting little back from that time.

It’s really not about how much you work.

It’s not about how much effort you put it in.

It’s about the quality and precision of your efforts.

For example, there are millions of blog posts written every single day. But 99.99% of those blog posts will be read by less than 10 people. On the flip-side, some blog posts are read by millions of people.

Most people operate throughout their day putting lots of time and energy in. But they aren’t actually getting better at what they do.

In the book, Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield said something brilliant. He said, “Addictions embody repetition without progress. They produce incapacity as a payoff.”

Most people’s days embody repetition without progress.

Every day they live, but they aren’t actually getting better. Their future is a repetitious reinforcement of the past.

But there’s another problem in most people’s days beyond repetition without progress, and that is that most people’s days are quite aimless.

They aren’t being guided by a higher power — or by the highest power within themselves — to do the right things in a powerful way with their time.

In other words, most people reactively respond to the demands of their day. The urgency of everything takes over and it’s not apparent that their daily efforts really moved the needle. It’s not apparent that their efforts really made a difference.

10-Minute Morning Routine

There are many applications to morning routines. However, there is one thing that is essential to a morning routine to ensure you spend your time on the best things, and that your efforts are impactful on those best things.

Said again — your morning routine should ensure you’re spending your limited time on the right things. But also, your morning routine should be a process of putting yourself in the right frame of mind to execute at your highest level.

Actually, if you tap into the spiritual and subconscious, you can put yourself into a position where you are executing beyond your highest level on a daily basis. Where your efforts are expanded by a higher power.

It’s really simple.

Before you jump into anything else, give yourself some space. Your compulsion will be to get moving on the urgent.

Don’t do this.

Give yourself space for the important.

The 80/20 rule is a productivity principle explaining that most of the things you spend your time doing aren’t really making an impact.

80% or more of your results come from 20% or less of what you do.

Yet, you continue spending 80% or more of your time on the stuff that doesn’t really matter.

Giving yourself space — even 10 minutes — allows you to think clearly about your goals. To think clearly about your priorities. To think clearly about what matters most to you. And to think clearly about where and what you should be putting your energy into that day.

If you have kids or a morning job — then you should wake up before your kids wake up. I have 5 kids. I know what it feels like to be woken up to my kids being awake.

In those instances, I don’t have 10 minutes to get my head and heart in the right place. I just have to get up and get moving. And when I do this, I’m operating like the millions of blog posts that won’t get any reads.

I’m going to be working but ineffectively.

My kids deserve better.

I deserve better.

You deserve better.

Your kids deserve better.

The purpose of life is to advance forward every single day

In the book, The Laws of Lifetime Growth, Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura have 10 amazing laws.

One of those laws is to always make your learning greater than your experience. Here’s specifically what they way about that:

“You can have a great deal of experience and be no smarter for all the things you’ve done, seen, and heard. Experience alone is no guarantee of lifetime growth. But if you regularly transform your experiences into new lessons, you will make each day of your life a source of growth. The smartest people are those who can transform even the smallest events or situations into breakthroughs in thinking and action.”

Every day, your life should be improving.

Your decision-making should be improving.

Your skills and intelligence should be improving.

Your ability to prioritize and focus your time on those things which truly matter — there and then — should be improving.

But in order to improve, you need a process for putting yourself in the right place.

How you start something usually determines the direction and quality it will go.

Take 10 minutes before anything else to get yourself in the right place, and to ensure you focus on the right things that day.

Here’s a simple outline of how you can do it. But I recommend you develop your own system over time.

  • Wake up
  • Drink some water (your brain will thank you)
  • Go to a quiet or peaceful place
  • Say a prayer or do some form of positive meditation
  • If you decide to pray, ask God (or whatever you call the higher power) to inspire you with clarity, discernment, and direction for what you should be focusing on that day
  • After your prayer and meditation, pull out your journal and answer a question — Sean Stephensen, the famed speaker and therapist explains that journaling is often more effective when answering a question
  • Your journal entry, then, could be you free-writing to the question: What should I be focused on today?
  • Here are some other questions you could answer as journal-prompts: Who do I need to show up for today? How can I be most helpful? What needs my attention most? What is currently on my schedule today that I should uncommit to?

Answering these types of questions gives you a little space to open your mind to clarity.

You really don’t need that much time.

You can get life-changing and SIMPLE clarity in a few seconds.

The problem is, most people don’t give themselves those seconds. They rush forward.

Those few seconds will come consistently and daily if you make time for them. But you need to create an environment and a mindSET — your “set” and “setting” — that can create powerful insights.

Once you’ve nailed down what you should be focused on, the second half of the journaling session and morning routine is about COMMITMENT.

You want to commit to yourself that you will execute. That you will follow-through. That you’ll operate at the highest level.

You need to make a definitive decision about how the day will go. When you make a decision the universe conspires to make it happen.

Therefore, your morning routine is about getting clarity for the decisions you should be making, and then truly committing to making those decisions real.

This article first appeared on Medium.

Neuroscience Reveals How to Beat Morning Dread With Just 7 Words

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You know the feeling. The alarm goes off and before you’ve found the button, your brain is already in the shower, fretting over the day ahead. So much work to do. How will you get it all done? Will you do OK in that big presentation? So many meetings you aren’t looking forward to. You want to pick up your daughter after school but secretly know you hardly have the time to do so.

Dread kicks in. What’s wrong with my life?

This is the scenario neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett paints in an interesting TED talk she gave in December 2017 and in her book How Emotions Are Made.

The good news is that you don’t have to be held hostage by this spiraling A.M. anxiety. Barrett’s research points to a surprising finding about our emotions: they’re linked to physical sensations your body is feeling. That’s right, your brain reacts to physical sensations you’re feeling in the form of emotions.

In other words, you might be feeling that sense of dread as soon as you wake up because you simply didn’t sleep well, because you’re hungry, or because you feel dehydrated.

As Barrett explains:

“Your brain is searching to find an explanation for those sensations in your body that you experience as wretchedness. But those sensations might not be an indication that anything is wrong with your life.”

So before you go off the deep end with your morning mental swim, Barrett says ask yourself one question about what you’re feeling, just seven words:

“Could this have a purely physical cause?”

I tried this and found that quite often the answer is, yes. For me, I often wake up parched and, like most of us, have nights where I just didn’t sleep well. I paid attention to this and noticed whenever I felt that sense of dread, it went away as I woke up, drank water, and had breakfast.

But I’d like to add another seven-word question to the mix that you can use when you’re feeling that morning dread; in case your emotions aren’t just based on a physical sensation you’re experiencing in the moment.

“Could this be a signal for change?”

Some have called it Sunday Night Dread–that pit in your stomach you feel as you wind down on Sunday night and think about the day ahead tomorrow. A general unease and unhappiness nags at you. That’s the front line. Ground zero is when you wake up in the morning and the dread is instant and intensified as you face the immediate prospects of the day ahead.

Experiencing this over and over may be a sign that it’s time to make a change and engage in a different line of work or make dramatic changes at the job you’re in.

I experienced this towards the end of my corporate days. I ignored the feeling at first, and then for too long, frankly. Eventually, I let it trigger deep introspection, which ultimately led me to leave corporate behind and embark on my current entrepreneurial journey. I’m so glad I didn’t ignore the signals my morning routine was sending me.

So don’t accept that feeling of morning dread as “just the way it is”. Use Barrett’s question to discern if there’s an underlying physical cause based on what you’re feeling that morning. Use my question so that you’re not just brushing off that dread as you’re brushing your hair. Instead, look in the mirror and get honest with yourself.

The Morning Routine That Can Completely Change Your Productivity Levels

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By Jack Canfield

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Jack Canfield talks about some of the small tweaks in your morning that can lead to more success.

A few habits successful people to each morning may sound familiar to you: meditation, exercise and something uplifting.

Another habit Canfield emphasizes is the tendecy of being an early riser. Canfield mentions that many successful business leaders wake up before the sun rises, mainly to get ahead of their days or begin diving into reading early. This habit feeds into Canfield’s personal habit of a morning power hour. Canfield explains that this slice of time has drastically improved his mental health, as well as empowered him to make better decisions.

Canfield ends with this: Small changes in your routine can have a big impact on your daily results.

Click the video to hear more about the optimal morning routine.

The Single Most Important Action To Take Right Now To Make You Successful

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By

Throughout the year we make personal commitments of things we want to change for the better. Diets, exercise, family, work, travel etc. For many of us, we take on multiple resolutions with every intention of improving ourselves for the better. Too often, we fail to kick start and sustain the new “US.” Goals become overwhelming and we fall into the trap of never achieving what we set out to do.

The complex formula of success
So much information exists on what success is and how to achieve it. Articles with headings such as “30 Things Successful People Do Differently” capture our attention with the hope of inspiring us to take meaningful action.

The problem is that’s 30 things we are to remember and implement to supposedly achieve success. One article I recently read listed their number one step to success being “Internalizing your locus of control.”

Locus of control? What does that even mean?

These articles can provide meaningful insights but they often overpower us and end up being nothing more than an informative read.

Inspiring? Sometimes. Actionable. No.

Success is not a complex formula. It is far simpler.

Excuses over results
Success can come at any time. We get caught in the trap at looking at success as this grandiose plan that must start and be completed by self-defined timeframes and prescribed results. It becomes so daunting that we give up because we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we try to achieve our goals, they don’t come fast enough and we use this as an excuse to give up. We end up being our own worst enemy.

You can either have results or you can have an excuse, but you cannot have both.

Take someone’s plans to lose weight. They set a goal to lose 30 pounds which includes a diet plan and workout regime. They are initially dedicated to working out multiple times a week and stick to a strict meal plan. It’s tough at first but as several weeks go by they start to feel better about themselves. More energy, clothes feeling a little looser and an overall more positive attitude. Then they step on the scale at the end of the month to find they have only lost 2lbs!

The minimal weight loss is deflating after all that dedicated, hard work. They start to lose steam. Workouts get missed. Diets get blown. Before long the excuse “I can’t do this” enters the mind and the weight loss plan is in the scrap bin.

The amazing results achieved in a single month get buried and forgotten. More on those amazing resulting in a minute.

The secret of success: One step
One small step. That is all it is. A single step is all it takes to move towards success. It’s so fundamentally simple and yet so easily overlooked.

It’s the greatest secret never to be told by successful people. We read about other’s success and can’t imagine how we could ever achieve the same. They are so successful and have achieved so many amazing things that we see them in a different league. What we fail to realize is that these successful people all started with a single, first step. Then they took another step and another. Before long they had a mile of steps behind them and the second mile didn’t seem so bad. They kept going and went on to build massive momentum. Always looking forward. Never back.

Sure there are missteps. People outside of the successful stream of consciousness look at missteps as failures. Successful people don’t’ see failure. They see opportunities to learn, reflect and move forward. Always achieving greater success than when they started.

Celebrate each step
Each small step you take is a pause for celebration. Your decision to spend more time with the family. The first day at the gym. Booking that amazing trip abroad. Deciding to make a career change. Those are all small steps worthy of applause

Celebrate each and every step of success along the way.

Imagine how many of us would stick to our weight loss plans if we instead focused on the many positive steps we took in the first month and not the actual loss of weight.

Let’s break it down. Attended the gym. Ate healthy. More energy. Looser clothes. Multiple small steps all worthy of celebration. Each step building on the previous. It’s all about changing your perspective. It’s amazing when you change your frame of mind how you can view something that seemed so insignificant really isn’t. Two pounds is no longer weighing you down. That’s worth celebrating and continuing with your step journey.

You can start your new YOU whenever you chose. Start small and take one little step at a time. Push yourself forward because no one else is going to do it for you. All it takes is a single step.

Clark Glassford is the founder of My Practice Interview. The company’s purpose is to inspire others to achieve their dream career. My Practice Interview provides industry-leading services including tailored resume writing, curated LinkedIn profiles and expert interview coaching delivering results beyond expectations.
www.mypracticeinterview.com

Morning People Really Are Happier, According to Science

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By Michelle Darrisaw

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You may want to rethink hitting your snooze button in the morning. According to a new study, the time you decide to rise and shine could impact your overall mental and physical health.

Jacqueline Lane, an instructor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, recently conducted a sleep study and published her findings in the Nature Communicationsjournal. In an interview with TODAY, the professor revealed that early risers are essentially happier and healthier than nighthawks. Lane observed that those who wake up early have a specific genetic component that lowers their risk of developing depression and chronic illnesses.

“Individuals who tend to be happier tend to be morning-type individuals,” Lane said.

The population sample for the study was comprised of two groups: 250,000 people in the U.S. who used the DNA and ancestry services of biotech company, 23andMe and 450,000 people in the U.K. who enrolled in the biorepository Biobank across the pond. Lane and her team of researchers used sleep timing measures to evaluate circadian biology as it relates to genes.

They separated the group by those who identify as morning people and those who can’t pry themselves away from Netflix at night (or, ya know, just go to bed late in general). From there, Lane and her associates examined their genomes to determine the relationship between their genes and their preferred wake-up time and how it connects to their health. And what they found was pretty interesting.

Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.

“We show that being a morning person is causally associated with better mental health but does not affect body mass index or risk of Type 2 diabetes,” stated Lane in the study’s results.

“There is also a link between evening preference and a higher risk of schizophrenia (and depression),” she explained to TODAY.

But don’t think that just because you don’t hit the hay as soon as the sun goes down that you’re at risk for developing a mental health disorder.

“It is incredibly complicated,” she added. “The genetics about being a night owl is only part of it. It is more about environment, with living out of sync with your internal clock. Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.”

Still, Lane admitted more research needs to be done on how our genes are affected by our sleep cycles. However, it couldn’t hurt to set your alarm to get up a tad earlier.

“Understanding if you are a morning or evening person can really impact the schedule you choose,” Lane said. “It might determine when you choose activities or the timing of your meals.

So, now you know there’s a quasi-scientific reason why all the those morning people in your life tend to wake up so darned peppy.

5 Essential Morning Habits For The Modern Entrepreneur

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Tanner Simkins

Behind the most successful entrepreneurs is often a motivated morning routine. According to researchers at The University of Nottingham, self control, willpower and task-performance all peak in the morning. This means business owners who can max out this crucial time are off to a great start for the day. In this spirit, here are five essential morning habits collected from case studies and best practices in the sports and entertainment industries.

1. Consult a tomorrow list.

Start your morning the night before. In doing so, you will immediately create a sense of purpose and anticipate potential problems. With a plan in mind, your day will already be timely, organized and more effective. Scott Cullather, CEO of inVNT, a live events agency in New York, schedules a meeting with his key support team before the close of business in order to review the following day’s agenda. Cullather says “we review and forecast what tomorrow is going to look like and how we’re going to get through that. It gives us an opportunity to re-prioritize. It also allows us to go to bed at night. Your mind does a lot of work for you while you’re sleeping. You get there the next day and are much more efficient and productive.”

Related: The 10-Minute Morning Routine That Will Clear Your Mind

Another example is athletics, where training schedules and game plans are the norm. Head coach for Team Running USA, Terrence Mahon, says the “benefits of preparing and executing a training plan come in so when the pressure mounts, athletes will feel reassured that they’ve done enough.” The same is true for leaders in business.

2. Practice morning mindfulness.

Entrepreneurs should focus on meditation or exercise in order to pre-establish focus for the entire day. Tim Ferriss engages in both meditation and exercise prior to his workday. In meditating, “you’re practicing focus when it doesn’t matter so that you can focus better later when it does matter.” Former MLB great and now Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter lists one hour morning meditations as a regular part of his routine.

3. Focus on the morning nutrients.

A healthy breakfast fuels your day. The Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has a healthy fruit salad and muesli to start his day. Twitter’s co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has two hard-boiled eggs with soy sauce every morning. For elite professional athletes, nutrition rituals exist as a very specific, and often superstitious, routine to begin the day. Professional tennis player Novak Djokovic follows a long, detailed order beginning with a large cup of room temperature water and ending with muesli or oatmeal, to provide his body with what he needs to perform at peak levels.

Related: 6 Morning Health Hacks to Boost Productivity and Keep You Energized All Day

Rachel DeMita, host/producer for sports highlights network Overtime and a digital content creator, told me in our recent interview that “eating healthy and getting in a good workout are important for me. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I make sure to continue to stay active for my work. I’m still able to hang with some professional athletes and hold my own in a way.”

4. The quintessence of positivity.

Envisioning success will help you realize success. Olympic gold medalist and author Katie Ledecky writes “think of something else, something that doesn’t cause you stress.” Take Ledecky’s advice to radiate happiness and suppress anxiety.

I recently sat down with Jack McClinton, former NBA player and current CEO of Active Dreamers, a company innovating sports retail with its unique blankets and pillows that resemble player likenesses. He told me in our interview that he always tries to “wake up and win the day.” The athlete turned entrepreneur added “I always try to keep my energy at a positive level and vibrate at a high level because I understand this elevates your mindset.”

Related: 5 Tips to Improve Focus and Get Things Done

5. Track results and review goals.

Most entrepreneurs are already goal-oriented people, but where many of them fall short is in writing down their goals and tracking their progress. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals — SMART goals — is the secret sauce for successful entrepreneurs.

With the proper and consistent application of these five morning essentials, entrepreneurial success is well within reach.

7 Unconventional Ways To Maximize Your Morning

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CW Headley

I recently wrote an article about the role coffee plays in our cultural routine. In addition to its practical one, it also serves as a reliable boost for morale.

Coffee shares this distinction with a good many things, the bulk of which are painfully pedestrian: Eight hours of sleep, a mantra in the mirror, a cup of coffee and a read during your commute – we’ve read it all before.

Monotony is the common enemy of every profession so here are seven unconventional but healthy ways to start your morning.

1.  Eat pasta

Claire Lower made a great case for why breakfast lasagna is a practical morning meal in a piece recently published by Lifehacker. You can make a big ole’ batch that’ll be good throughout the week, it’s relatively easy to make and it’s a great source of fat, protein and carbs if prepared properly.

There’s so many ways to make a tasty-healthy pasta dish, too. Whole grain noodles for your dose of fiber (whole grains also fight disease and reduce your waistline), tomatoes for your vitamin C, and cheese for your needed drench of comfort.

2. Yoga

In 2017, Leah Wynalek did yoga every day for two weeks before heading into work. The results? Most relevantly Wynalek found the routine to drastically reduce the discomfort of sitting in a desk chair all day. She felt “energized” and much more prepared to start her morning.

In a more general sense, yoga has been proven to yield a calmer mind. Mental clarity is the most salient ingredient to a productive morning.  Just 10-12 minutes a day is more than enough to starting seeing results.

3. Quick 5-Minute Meditation

“While the body needs consistent movement in order to be healthy, the mind thrives with regular doses of stillness.” This quote arrives by the curtesy of meditation expert Ralph De La Rosa.

Morning meditation is a great way to energize mood ahead of a productive day. Try and wake up a few minutes earlier than usual, sit at the edge of your bed, close your eyes–and breathe. You’ll notice that things seem just a touch more attainable, you become a little less overwhelmed a little less easily. The sacrifice of a few extra minutes of sleep every morning bestows a feeling of preparedness for your daily challenges.

4 Subbing coffee for healthier alternatives

You’ll find no protest from me regarding the effectiveness of coffee (I probably drink something like 9 cups a day) but I’d be remiss to suggest there aren’t a significant number of healthier alternatives that get the job done just as well.

Things like Matcha, (powerful source of anti-oxidants), chicory (rich with inulin), Yerba Mate, (riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium) and chai (lowers risk of heart disease) are all great places to start.  Here’s a link for Healthline’s guide of ingredients and preparation.

5.  Blast Some Tunes

Before I became a fully realized coffee junkie, I used to start every Monday by blasting Another Side Of Bob Dylan front to back. If you’re not careful mornings can be a sort of personality vampire. On the days I leap out of bed and launch straight into work without giving myself even a modicum of personal attention, all of my values and interest feel stale in my mind.

Reserve a little space in your pre-work routine for your favorite song just to remind yourself of your identity outside of the office. Life coach Sharon Stokes corroborates stating: “Music has the ability to shift your state, so play something that gets you in the right mindset for your day. ”

6.  Social interaction

Many of us aren’t the most gregarious in the wee hours of the morning but studies suggest that a little bit of social interaction can go a long way in rebooting your moods throughout the day.

Try and touch base with your significant other before you head in to work (I’ll just leave this here), or ignite a conversation with your barista.  A brief chat, whether superficial or intimate, can boost alertness as well as temperament

7. Make a plan

In his book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, author, Charles Duhigg, counsels us to determine what things deserve our attention. In chapter 4, Duhigg mentions the four classifications of goals frequently utilized by corporations: the specific,  the measurable, the achievable and the realistic – all applied to a timeline.

Make the “smart goal” system keep you on track. Visualizing what you wish to achieve helps your streamline your focus. Setting goals, allows room for the unexpected of course, but having a definitive finish line in mind will make you more productive.

Steve Jobs Said You Should Ask 1 Crucial Question Every Morning to Master Your Work Life

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Steve Jobs delivers the keynote address at the 2011 Apple World Wide Developers Conference on June 6, 2011 in San Francisco.
CREDIT: Getty Images

How do you live your life? Are you just getting by paycheck-to-paycheck, or do you have a higher purpose for everything you do? To put it more succinctly, as the old adage goes, do you live to work or work to live?

Steve Jobs clearly knew where he was headed at all times, even to the point of facing death. On June 12, 2005, Jobs, then CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, delivered a commencement address for the ages.

We know the story by now. Speaking to Stanford University graduates and drawing from some of the most significant events of his life–including his being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year prior to the speech–Jobs pushed students to pursue their highest aspirations and see the opportunities when life delivers devastating blows. He said:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

How does that strike you? While we don’t know exactly where Jobs got his mortality quote, the fact that Jobs said it at a time when he stared death in the face speaks volumes to how we should live our own lives.

I’ve thought about my own life and how Jobs’s quote has inspired me to keep going in the face of many challenges, including a brutal divorce and a three-year period living in poverty. I never lost the internal compass that kept pointing me to my true north–my whole reason for living and working.

Because in the end, when you look in the mirror and assess the quality of your life, this is what will help you live each day as if it were your last.

Ask yourself the Steve Jobs question

If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you’re about to do today?

Here’s how you’ll know: In the frantic pursuit to do more and be more, we hardly think about the importance of focusThis is a difference maker.

That’s why, for ambitious people chasing after their dreams, another prophetic quote by Jobs over two decades ago hit the nail on the head. During an Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 1997, Jobs remarked:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

What are you “innovating”? Whether in your current job, in leading your business, or in your life role as a parent, spouse, or community leader…what kind of guard rails have you put up to guide your course and keep you focused to the end on what truly matters in your life?

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