Your morning sets you up for the rest of the day: if you start off on the wrong foot, then chances are the rest of your day isn’t going to be so great. Set yourself up for success instead by adopting a beneficial morning routine and ditching two prevalent harmful habits: signing onto social media and turning on the morning news as soon as that alarm goes off.
The Trouble With…
“Though social media is wildly popular, it’s not great for our mental health,” Licensed Clinical Social Worker Autumn Collier explains. “Scrolling too much on social media creates a false reality of what life should be and unrealistic expectations. This then affects how we feel about ourselves and puts our thoughts in a negative tailspin. Social media also allows people to isolate from human interaction, which can bring about feelings of loneliness or even discomfort when in social settings.”
Collier recommends resetting boundaries around your time on social media. “Plan when you will engage such as once in the morning, once after lunch, and once after dinner,” she says. “Cut off social media interaction two hours before bed so that your mind is clear. Also, be intentional when engaging on social media. Have a positive purpose, which could be to find funny videos, encourage someone else, or find inspiration.”
…Early morning news
The second habit that may set you up for a less than enjoyable day is watching the early morning news. “Watching the news first thing in the morning creates a negative perspective and world view before your day truly begins,” Stephanie Lee, Lifestyle Mastery/Relationship Expert and Founder/CEO of Successfully Me LLC, explains. “The way you begin your day determines the manner in which it will unfold. Start your day with the television off, and do whatever brings you serenity and motivating thoughts.”
Counselor Gigi Langer, MA, PhD, adds that watching the early morning news “starts you off on a stressful note, connected to drama rather than peace. It puts you into the future or past, rather than in the serenity of the present moment.” She notes that the stress that can come from this practice is damaging to both your mental and physical health, and you are much better off employing a different morning routine.
Incorporate These 3 Practices into Your Morning Instead
You might get the urge to log into Facebook or reach for the remote when you wake up each morning, but doing so can have a negative impact on your day and your mental health, as explained above. So, swap those habits out for a healthier routine and incorporate the following five practices into your morning instead:
1) Enjoy the comfort of your bed. Thoroughly enjoy your first few minutes of each day by soaking up the warmth and comfort of your bed, as recommended by Tina Lensing, MSW, Mindset and Business Coach: “Upon awaking, before I open my eyes, I just bask in the comfort of my bed for a few minutes: the softness of the pillows, warmth of my blankets, safety of my private space, and the silkiness of my sheets. This helps to get you into a high-vibing state before you even open your eyes.”
2) Think about everything you’re grateful for. “Do not let the last thing your brain processes before going to bed be the horrors of a Facebook newsfeed,” Grace Smith, world-renowned hypnotherapist and stress relief expert, warns. Instead, “before you go to bed, as you’re falling asleep, please think about all the things you love about your life, all the things you’re grateful for; relive your happiest memories as you drift off to sleep. When you wake up, do the same. The absolute worst thing we can do is scroll through social media right before falling asleep or right after waking up. Protect those 20 minutes before sleep and upon first waking by staying away from all technology and marinating yourself in gratitude.”
3) Seek out inspiration for your day. Licensed Master Social Worker J. A. Plosker recommends starting your day off with a little inspiration: “Read, speak, or write down one piece of wisdom that you can hold onto all day, come what may. Make it a mantra you’ll repeat through the day. Maybe you read something about patience that can help you deal with rush hour traffic. Perhaps you say to yourself, just go with the flow to help you stay centered at work. Maybe you write, “This too shall pass,” on a sticky note, and keep it in your wallet so you can look at it throughout the day. Make everyday wisdom your ritual.”