Do you have a morning ritual? The concept sounds intimidating, but all you need is just 5 minutes. The right habits can help you face the day with a clear mind, whether you have back-to-back meetings or a million errands to do. Even a relaxing day off will benefit from healthy mental habits, no matter how simple.
Unfortunately, the average lifestyle of today doesn’t allow much time for mental detoxification. We’re scrolling through newsfeeds and scarfing down breakfast before even leaving the house. By the time the day begins, our headspace is already cluttered.
Turn this around with a daily 5-minute mental detox. That’s really all it takes! Need proof? Check out these 7 habits that can be done in a jiffy.
1. Head Outside
Our body clocks are made to be in sync with natural light.1 It’s a great reason to step outside and soak up the sun! Better yet, you can energize yourself for the day ahead with a breath of fresh air.
Have a green thumb? Do a little gardening in the morning, even if it’s just for a few minutes. The activity is amazing for relieving stress, according to 2011 study in the Journal of Health Psychology.2 It shows how gardening can boost your mental health.
Meditation is one of the best ways to control cortisol, the stress hormone.3 It will also help you calmly enter the day by enhancing mindfulness. And if you’re faced with a busy, chaotic day, meditation will help you get in the right headspace.
Even a one-minute session makes a difference. When done on a daily basis, regular meditation will manage everything from anxiety to stress.4
Like meditation, stretching can gently do away with stress and sadness. For instance, just one session of light yoga will reduce cortisol, so imagine what a regular practice can do.5 For added benefits, combine stretching with meditation and aromatherapy.
Don’t feel pressured to dive into an intense power yoga session. Easy, light stretching is all you need.
Do you start the day by checking your phone? Are you scrolling through Facebook before even leaving the bed or eating breakfast? Take notice, because the habit can mess with the day’s intentions. Your thoughts, mood, and attitude are also at stake.
If the smartphone also doubles as an alarm, breaking the habit can be hard. Consider using a traditional alarm clock and turning the phone off at night. By morning, you can start the day with no one’s thoughts but yours.
5. Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude can go a really long way. Before starting the day, write down what you’re thankful for, whether it’s clean water or a loved one. This simple yet significant habit will ease stress and improve patience, according to a 2016 study in the journal Emotion.6
6. Drink Water
What better way to detox than with H2O? Upon waking up, re-hydrate with a glass or two. The water will flush out toxins and byproducts of the body’s natural processes.7
Plus, even mild dehydration can hamper cognitive function. Drink up to support mood, focus, and concentration, so you can detoxify the mind and take on the day.8
7. Eat Breakfast
A mental detoxification should still involve food. Come morning, the brain needs to be nourished with nutrients! Focus on complex whole grains to refuel the brain with the much-needed glucose. With a well-rounded breakfast, the brain can function optimally.
|↑1||Sanassi, Lorraine A. “Seasonal affective disorder: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?.” Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants 27, no. 2 (2014): 18-22.|
|↑2||Van Den Berg, Agnes E., and Mariëtte HG Custers. “Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and affective restoration from stress.” Journal of Health Psychology 16, no. 1 (2011): 3-11.|
|↑3||Pascoe, Michaela C., David R. Thompson, Zoe M. Jenkins, and Chantal F. Ski. “Mindfulness mediates the physiological markers of stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of Psychiatric Research (2017).|
|↑4||Marchand, William R. “Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and Zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress.” Journal of Psychiatric Practice® 18, no. 4 (2012): 233-252.|
|↑5||Sullivan, Molly, Amanda Carberry, Elizabeth S. Evans, Eric E. Hall, and Svetlana Nepocatych. “The effects of power and stretch yoga on affect and salivary cortisol in women.” Journal of Health Psychology (2017): 1359105317694487.|
|↑6||Dickens, Leah, and David DeSteno. “The grateful are patient: Heightened daily gratitude is associated with attenuated temporal discounting.” Emotion 16, no. 4 (2016): 421.|
|↑7||Nutrition Basics. WomensHealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health.|
|↑8||Armstrong, Lawrence E., Matthew S. Ganio, Douglas J. Casa, Elaine C. Lee, Brendon P. McDermott, Jennifer F. Klau, Liliana Jimenez, Laurent Le Bellego, Emmanuel Chevillotte, and Harris R. Lieberman. “Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women.” The Journal of nutrition 142, no. 2 (2012): 382-388.|