Stretch in bed
Try this even before you open your eyes. Lift one arm and begin by stretching each finger, then your hand, then your wrist, and then your whole arm. Move on to the other arm. Then stretch your toes, feet, ankles, and legs. Finally, end with a neck and back stretch that propels you out of bed. You’ve just limbered up your muscles and joints and enhanced blood flow throughout your body, providing a shot of oxygen to all your tissues. Take up the entire length of the bed when you stretch. According to Harvard University psychologist Amy Cuddy, this “power pose” mimics the position of a bold person, making you feel more confident all day long.
Open the blinds
When natural light from the sunrise creeps into your bedroom, it signals your brain to slow its melatonin production and boost cortisol, both of which tell your body to wake up. A flood of sunshine isn’t just an instant morning pick-me-up: A Northwestern University study found that people exposed to moderately bright light in the morning have a significantly lower body mass index than people who get the majority of their light exposure later in the day.
Take a breather
No matter when you do it, meditating has numerous benefits, such as fighting insomnia, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing energy levels, boosting your immune system, and providing mental clarity. Meditating in the morning helps you set a peaceful tone right off the bat so you are less likely to get sidetracked. If you’re a novice, an app such as OMG I Can Meditate! can get you started. (You’ll find it on YouTube as well.) OMG even has a wake‑up function that transitions your alarm right into a meditation session.
Look back with rose-colored glasses
Research from San Francisco State University shows that focusing on good memories makes us feel more content with life. To start each day off right, take two minutes to write down every detail you can remember about a meaningful event from the day before, suggests Michelle Gielan, a positive psychology expert and the author of Broadcasting Happiness. “Yesterday’s high points can be today’s fuel for happiness,” she says. This can also have an effect on your overall health: A study found that patients suffering from chronic pain who did this for six months were able to reduce their intake of pain meds.