How do you start your mornings? Like many, you may immediately pick up your phone to check social media, the news, emails, or work notifications. While they may seem innocent, these habits ignite your stress response instead of providing you time to nurture your health. But, if you slow down and adopt morning habits for a healthy mind, you create a cycle of positive momentum instead of being driven by reaction. So, let’s win the morning to have a happier, more grounded, and successful day.
14 Morning Habits for a Healthy Mind
1. Join the 5 am club
Jim Kwik, a famous brain coach, said the first hour of your day is the hour you can influence the most. So, why not try to wake up early and ensure you have time to care for your health? While most people are vying to jump on the 5 am train, 5 am may not be feasible for you, and that’s okay. In fact, according to the sleep chronotype theory, we all have a different animal that represents how we sleep and operate. For example, you may notice creativity flows more freely at night, or you might be a light sleeper eager to create a 5 am morning routine for a productive day. What matters most is knowing yourself and creating a sleep-wake routine that aligns with your body.
2. Make your bed
After determining a consistent sleep-wake cycle, make your bed. That’s right. Making your bed first thing in the morning gives you a jolt of productivity and positive reinforcement. And this jolt sets you up for the rest of the day. You’ll feel more empowered to follow other positive habits. It also serves a powerful lesson taught by the military: how you make your bed teaches you how to do everything else well.
3. Create a mindfulness practice
Out of everything on this list, mindfulness should be your number #1 goal to follow. When you start your day with a 10-15 minute meditation, you gift yourself the space to let go, clear your mind, sharpen your cognitive abilities, reduce stress, and maximize productivity. Yet, if quietly sitting isn’t your thing, there are several meditation alternatives to reap the same benefits.
4. Practice mirror work
We all know how we speak to ourselves plays a significant role in our decision-making, behaviors, and actions. But did you know integrating mirror work into your daily routine can associate your brain with a positive image of yourself? For example, practicing positive affirmations increases dopamine, and doing it in the mirror will become positively associated with your self-reflection. Basically, everything you say reflects onto you like a warm cognitive hug.
5. Recall your dreams
Our dreams are powerful. They offer visual insights into our subconscious, solutions to problems, and opportunities to transform our lives. For example, many of the great inventions, scientific breakthroughs, music, cinematography, art, and literature we experience today came from the creator’s dreams. Therefore, upon waking up, take a moment to recall your dreams by jotting down what you can remember. Who knows, this habit may bring you a million-dollar idea or an idea to alleviate a significant stressor in your life.
6. Get movin
One of the best morning habits for a healthy mind is exercise. It boosts dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and endocannabinoids, which help reduce anxiety and stress and maintain energy and focus throughout the day. Whether you enjoy HIIT cardio, pilates, walking on an incline, or yoga, get up and get moving!
7. Drink up
During sleep, your body loses water through processes like respiration and perspiration. Therefore, it’s essential to start your day with a glass of water to rehydrate and support cognitive function, boost metabolism, and aid detoxification. Your mind and body will thank you. Plus, you’ll feel happier, more relaxed, and energetic. Yet, if you struggle to drink water, there are several tools to help you stay hydrated.
8. Create a schedule and stick to it
Have you ever had a day where you felt on top of your game? You accomplished work, and you also prioritized your self-care. Those days make life so much easier to carry on. Thankfully, you can create a to-do list to help you stay focused and follow a rule to make those amazing days happen more often. For example, try to complete three tasks for work and three for your personal life. This may look like finishing a task, starting another, organizing your workspace and exercising, meditating, and seeing a loved one.
9. Avoid a glucose spike
When we don’t eat a proper breakfast, we are more likely to experience glucose spikes later in the day. Unfortunately, glucose spikes are quite detrimental to our cognitive health. For example, they create oxidative stress and inflammation and impair our brain’s ability to use glucose for energy. Over time, these adverse effects may contribute to cognitive decline and can increase our vulnerability to conditions like Alzheimer’s. To start your day right, follow a rule: a savory breakfast built around protein, healthy fat, and fiber. If you need a touch of sweetness, choose whole fruit.
10. Brain practice
Jumpstart your cognitive performance with a few brain games in the morning. For example, take 10-15 minutes to practice a new language, play Sudoku, complete a crossword puzzle, read a few pages of a book, or brush your teeth with your opposite hand (if you’re right-handed, brush your teeth or hair with your left and vice versa). Doing so will improve your attention, problem-solving, working memory, reasoning, and cognitive flexibility.
11. Cold therapy
While the idea of a cold shower first thing in the morning sounds daunting, its benefits are undeniable. Cold water enhances circulation, improves immune function and cardiovascular health, promotes faster muscle recovery, stimulates the lymphatic system, and resets the nervous system. Yet, to make the process easier or more bearable, practice a few breathing techniques and start with a one-minute plunge and increase the time as you progress. Over time, you’ll crave the cold.
12. Journal your thoughts
There’s a strong commonality between geniuses like Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Leonardo da Vinci; they journaled every day. This daily ritual allowed them to capture fleeting insights, explore new concepts, and organize their thoughts to maintain their elevated cognitive performance. If you want to join the ranks of the world’s most renowned thinkers, take out your trusted notebook and allow the thoughts to flow. Try one of these journaling prompts for self-discovery.
13. Take your vitamins
Dr. Amen, a brain disorder specialist, recommends every adult should take a multivitamin, Vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids daily for optimal brain function. On top of magnesium and turmeric for an added boost, take probiotics to feed your gut. Our gut is our second brain and contains an impressive network of nerve cells. Therefore, load up on prebiotic foods to promote digestive health and prioritize giving your brain what it needs to thrive.
14. Start with your most difficult task
After everything, start with your most difficult and “I-don’t-want-to-do-this” task first. Why? It helps you to stop procrastinating and gives you a big win at the beginning, which makes the rest of your day less stressful and more enjoyable. Every task afterward will feel like one reward after another, increasing your confidence and productivity.
Do you feel inspired to practice these morning habits for a healthy mind? Remember, there’s no need to try to check off every item on this list. What will help your mind the most is if you pick three or five habits and stick to them. For example, make your bed, meditate, move your body, and drink water with your supplements. Over time, you’ll feel more grounded, energized, and happy.
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