Body + Spirit
Rise & Shine! 5 Morning Hacks To Boost Your Daily Brain Power
According to science, our willpower is at its peak for the day in the morning–or whenever we start our day–so it’s best to take advantage of the boost while you can. Think of your brain as a muscle. After a good 7 to 8 hour sleep, your muscle wakes up along with you, refreshed and ready to be put to work. But as all muscles do, after so long, it will get weary and exhausted. By midday after lunch you’re starting to feel sluggish and all you can think about is your bed and the TV watching you into the nighttime.
However, there are ways around that common feeling that you will be inclined to. Try practicing these five morning hacks for one full work week and see if you notice a change in your mindset and energy.
1. Wake up to closed curtains.
Believe it or not, waking up to open curtains with a bright, blinding sunlight in your face is more jarring than revitalizing, according to Mayo Clinic research. Your hormone levels produce a more natural reaction to sunlight if it is exposed after waking up and getting out of bed. Next time, close your curtains before bed, and go through the motion of getting up, walking over to the window, and pulling up your blinds for the Sun’s big, bright reveal.
2. Drink orange juice.
Most people reach for the tasty quick fix for sleepiness called coffee, but drinking a full glass of o.j. has been proven to provide a number of health benefits. According to Med Health, orange juice balances out blood pressure, produces collagen, and of course, provides vitamin C. What does this mean for your day? Walking around, staying on-the-go will be a breeze, your immune system will have a jolt of protection while being around others (think your morning commute on public transportation with sick people), and you won’t be as stressed out or anxious before giving a speech at an important meeting.
Later in the day, snack on a calorically dense trail mix with assorted tree nuts and dark chocolate. Not only is this snack heart healthy, but it will provide energy, antioxidant properties, and fiber needed in your daily diet. And lightly salted nuts help keep you from mindlessly over-snacking throughout the work day.
3. Map out your to-do list.
Get into the habit of marking tasks on your phone’s calendar app, your dry erase board in your room, or writing down a good old-fashion to-do list. Write realistic deadlines/due dates for each assignment. This will help keep you focused on prioritizing and time management. Because at one point or another you are completely liable to get off track with liking one too many Facebook posts on your ‘down time’.
4. Tackle your biggest task, first.
The National Institute of Education in Singapore suggests tackling the biggest, most difficult task in your day first thing when you get to work. The day prior to, plan your daily tasks around the most significant and challenging event and then schedule lesser mentally painstaking tasks to follow.
American author Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” While you shouldn’t take this saying literally, it does make sense in a figurative sense–after checkmarking off your biggest assignment early in the day, you will have nothing to lose or fear for the remainder of it.
5. Practice yoga-like breathing.
Once that post-lunch lethargy sets in, it’s important to remember–you’re still at work and you still need to be productive! If this is you, escape to the restroom for a few minutes. “Dirga” or “Three Part Breath” is a yoga practice in which you inhale air through your nose, and focus on filling your diaphragm, abdomen, and rib cage with oxygen, and releasing it slowly. Although the technical pose calls for sitting on the floor with crossed legs, doing this breathing exercise once a day in a private setting for five minutes or so should relax your face, mind, and soul. In turn, you can return to your desk will a quick renewal of mind.