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The 10-minute morning routine for a happy and productive day ahead

Today you’re going to learn about my favorite morning routine. 

(“The 10-minute morning routine”). 

Specifically, I’ll show you how this simple morning routine has improved my productivity, my emotional wellbeing, and my mental clarity. 

Let’s dive right in.

1. Water intake (1 minute)

While the first thing your brain wants in the morning is coffee, your body wants water. 

This is why I spend the first minute of my day guzzling water down for 1 minute. 

The body hasn’t had any water for at least 8 hours (probably longer) so we’re all a little dehydrated in the morning. 

In fact, this feeling of slight dehydration might make you feel sluggish in the morning. 

And according to Rania Bataynheh, a nutritionist, if you opt for coffee instead of water, it may be a “good source of antioxidants”, but “it is also dehydrating”. 

So by drinking water, you eliminate dehydration and get your body moving, which gives your metabolism a small boost. 

Some people also advise putting a slice of lemon in the water as well. 

Why? 

Because lemon gives your body a dose of vitamin and helps maintain your digestive health. 

Furthermore, according to nutritionist Rania Bataynheh, when you sleep your body is hard at work ridding your body of toxins, and by drinking enough water early in the morning, you can speed up the process in which your body flushes out those toxins.

2. Practice a deep-breathing exercise (1-2 minutes)

Many people advise doing meditation in the morning, and for good reason. 

It’s a great way to start the day and it gets your mind clear and focused. 

If you haven’t practiced meditation, you’re probably wondering:

How do I practice meditation?

Generally, the easiest meditation techniques are breathing exercises as it gives you a sensory experience to focus on,

They’re also very effective.

Why?

Because when the body is stressed it moves into fight or flight mode.

While this helps us deal with situations that require quick action, it causes problems when the response is provoked continuously by day-to-day events, such as money issues or relationship woes.

By using breathing techniques, it tricks the body into relaxing. 

According to Healthfully, this is because breathing slowly “activates the hypothalamus”, which is connected to the pituitary gland in the brain that then sends out neurohormones that inhibit stress-producing hormones and trigger a relaxation response in the body.

The breathing technique that I use when I wake up in the morning is:

Equal breathing. 

To do this breathing technique, firstly inhale through the nose to a count of 4, then exhale from the nose and mouth (pursed lips may help) for a count of 4. 

If you want to improve at this, then over time all you have to do is increase the number of seconds you inhale and exhale for. Just make sure it’s equal. 

Yogis generally do 6-8 counts per breath. 

I find that this is an excellent technique to calm myself down before the day starts and clear my mind. 

The great thing is that you only have to 1-2 minutes of deep breathing to experience some calmness.

RELATED3 mindful breathing exercises

3. Stretch for 2-3 minutes

Stretching is important for your muscles and your flexibility. 

And there isn’t a better time to stretch than in the morning. 

In fact, according to Hope Kleine in SDSU Extension, “stretching first in the morning can relieve any tension or pain from sleeping the night before”. 

She also says that stretching in the morning “increases your blood flow and prepares your body for the day ahead.” 

Pretty neat, right? 

Now you might be wondering:

What kind of stretches should I do?

For me, I like to focus on my lower back and legs. 

This includes touching my toes and stretching out my lower back. 

Here are the stretches that I do in the morning: 

Cobra pose: Lie prone on the floor and stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. 

Extended Puppy Pose: Come onto all fours. Make sure your shoulders are above your wrists and your hips are above your knees. Walk your hands forward a few inches and curl your toes under. 

Wide-angle seated forward bend: Lean your torso back slightly on your hands and lift and open your legs to an angle of about 90 degrees (the legs should form an approximate right angle, with the pubis at the apex. 

Seated forward bend: Sit on the floor with your buttocks supported and your legs in front of you. Press actively through your heels.

4. Give thanks (3 minutes)

Gratitude is powerful. There’s no doubt that being appreciative improves your life satisfaction.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that practicing gratefulness is one of the most effective ways to change your experience of reality. 

A white paper by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkely says that people who consciously count what they’re grateful may have better physical and mental health:

“Research suggests that gratitude may be associated with many benefits for individuals, including better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction, decreased materialism, and more.”

Furthermore, gratitude may also encourage pro-social behavior:

“This suggests that practicing gratitude changes the brain in a way that orients people to feel more rewarded when other people benefit, which could help explain why gratitude encourages prosocial behavior.”

All you have to do is take 3 minutes to write down at least 3 things you are grateful for in your life. 

It could be something as simple as having a job or getting a good night’s sleep. 

Or it could be more powerful, like the love your family has for each other. 

Whatever it is, this technique allows us to appreciate what we have and take our focus off what we don’t have. 

You’ll soon find that there are countless things we take for granted. 

Taking a few moments to remind yourself of how lucky you are even in the toughest times will flick the positivity switch in your brain.

5. Visualize your daily success (1-2 minutes)

For me, this is really important and is key to having a productive day ahead. 

To be honest, you may want to take at least 5 or 10 minutes doing this. 

What I do here is I imagine the day ahead and what I want to achieve. 

I write down in dot points everything that I need to get done and then I prioritize. 

However, I don’t put the biggest tasks first as they can bog me down for the whole day. 

Instead, anything that I can do quickly I put first so I can get it done. 

Then I have time to focus on the larger tasks. 

It’s up to you how you want to do it. 

The main outcome you want is to have a clear focus for the rest of the day. 

Therefore, there will be no time procrastination and only time for getting sh*t done!

I also make sure I haven’t put too many tasks down so that I feel rushed throughout the day. 

I make sure that I give myself plenty of time to finish the required tasks so that I commit myself fully to each task. 

Not only does this make my day feel more mindful, but the quality of my work is greater as well. 

The bottom line is this:

By taking the time to plan what you want to achieve for the day ahead (and the long-term) you’ll give yourself a plan to follow to accomplish your goals.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
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