5 Ways to Start Your Day & Why

1) Start with hot water and lemon. We love coffee; A cup of Joe is comfort at your fingertips. It does the job of waking up our bodies and minds (caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline!)to excel in our day. But did you know that coffee is highly acidic? Yes – in fact most of the foods that we crave are highly acidic: coffee, sugar, animal protein. I’m not saying avoid these things, but moderation is the key. Start your day alkalinizing your body. A simple cup of hot water and lemon squeeze will do this effortlessly, in addition to balancing your blood sugar, stimulating digestive enzymes to aid digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and can help stimulate the bowels.

2) Disconnect to connect. Studies have shown that disconnecting from your devices one hour upon waking and one hour before sleep can significantly help reduce negative physiological effects (like the stress hormone cortisol, blood pressure and anxiety).

3) Gratitude is the secret. Whether this is done daily or weekly, recent research has shown that gratitude practices lead to increased feelings of gratitude. Though even just one time can create positive benefits, practicing gratitude 4 times a week for 3 weeks (along with keeping a gratitude journal) has been proven to create lasting changes. Results like lowered depression symptoms and stress, improvement in sleep quality and increased well-being are a few that have been measured and validated from a consistent gratitude practice.

4) Can meditation really help? We tend to dismiss the benefits of meditation because it’s not as easy to assess mental benefits as it is to assess external and physical changes. But let me just say: the benefits are there and they’re huge. Those who meditate for 10 minutes a day experience quicker focus and longer attention spans. Studies have shown that long-term meditators experienced increased grey matter and increased volumes of the right hippocampus. The hippocampus is in charge of emotional regulation and response control, while grey matter processes information in the brain. Both of these aspects also greatly impact our ability to process and retain memory. Science aside, there are also those effects that you can’t really put your finger on. We’ll call this: increased connection to yourself and the world around you.

5) Working out is more effective in the morning. This is for a few reasons: you will feel less stressed throughout the day; Have better mood (hello endorphins!); You will have a reason to start your morning with coffee (coffee-fueled workouts are proven to be more productive); And can even burn more fat, since studies show that you can burn up to 20% more fat by exercising in the morning before your first meal. Make sure though to run home after and make a hearty breakfast, because holding off for too long can hinder your metabolism and slow it down.