Start your day off right with just a few minutes of focus

If you wake up in the morning, grab your smartphone, and start scrolling through messages, you’re not the only one.

Maybe you get dressed, grab a cup of coffee, and dash out the door. Or maybe you feel stressed out, like every day is a battle to tick things off your to-do list.

That might be your morning routine. But it’s not the kind of morning routine that helps you be healthy, happy, and productive.

Take a different approach to the first few minutes of your day. Slowing down long enough to “smell the roses” can have a positive impact on your life in more ways than one.

How? Meditation helps lower anxiety and stress, according to a study by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Research also shows that being mindful can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve mood
  • Help you relax
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Reduce pain
  • Promote creativity
  • Improve memory & thinking
  • Help you focus

If you want to do more than just react to the events of the day, a well-planned morning routine can help. And it doesn’t have to take long.

With just 7-10 minutes a day, you can change the way you think and feel to be happier, healthier, and more productive.Practice Mindfulness Daily Here’s how:

1. Read. Take 1-2 minutes to read about something that interests you. A book, article, or blog post, for example.

2. Be active. Go outside, weather permitting. Take a brisk walk. Jump rope. Or just stretch your muscles. This isn’t your 30-minute workout. Just be active for 1-2 minutes.

3. Meditate. Sit in a quiet and comfortable place. Some people use this time to pray. Others simply focus on breathing for 1-2 minutes.

4. Be mindful. Now focus on what you want to accomplish and habits you want to form for 1-2 minutes. (Start with a small goal you can track and measure. For example:

  • “I will eat more fruits and vegetables for a week.”
  • “I will exercise at least 30 minutes a day.”
  • “I will manage stress in healthy ways.”

5. Visualize. Now imagine yourself making these decisions throughout your day. For example, picture yourself eating a leafy-green salad, going for a walk, and calmly handling a stressful situation at home or work. Visualize for 1-2 minutes.

6. Write. Wrap up your morning routine by writing. Create an action plan for things you will do. Write down lessons you have learned. Or keep a list of things you’re grateful for. But keep it simple. This should only take 1-2 minutes.

What do you get out of a morning routine like this? You get a framework to improve your health, break bad habits, and create healthier ones. And it only takes 7-10 minutes. That’s the real benefit of a well-planned morning routine.

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