By Elissa Cirignotta
Whether you’re a night owl or a morning person the way you begin each day can have huge impacts on your brain. Creating healthier morning habits can change your thoughts, your relationships, and the quality of your life. By introducing even the simplest shifts to your morning routine you can condition yourself to feel grateful and loving which creates positive ripple effects throughout your entire day and lifetime. Help give your brain a new pattern and feel good by trying these 3 minute additions to your morning flow.
Drink a large glass of water.
Before you check your phone, turn on the morning news, or reach for the coffee pour yourself a tall glass of lemon water. If you can tolerate it make it a warm cup of water. Drinking any water, especially warm water, first thing in the morning can help flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body. Give yourself a good natural flush, a boost of energy, and a kick start to the immune system. This practice takes a maximum of 3 minutes out of your day! Pour, squeeze, drink.
Change your breath.
Albert Einstein is widely credited for saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” If you want different results, you have to try different approaches. Changing the way you breathe changes your brain. If you want to change how you feel at any given moment, change your breath. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared, or nervous, try elongating the exhale just slightly beyond the length of the inhalation. When the exhale is longer than the inhale the vagus nerve that runs from the neck to the diaphragm sends a signal to the brain to turn down the sympathic nervous system and turn up the parasympathetic system leaving you feeling calmer and more relaxed. If you are feeling lethargic, depressed, or low energy try shifting your breath to quick and powerful exhales and passive inhales. This type of breathing exercise is called Kapalabhati and is my preferred morning practice. This exercise is a traditional internal purification practice that tones and cleanses the respiratory system. It encourages the release of toxins and waste matter and can also be quite refreshing and rejuvenating for the body and mind. After 3 minutes of Kapalabhati breathing you will increase your body’s oxygen supply, strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, and energize your brain. Find a comfortable place to sit, ideally with the spine elongated, set a timer for 3 minutes and breathe differently.
MOVE YO BODY!
Your lymphatic system, one of the body’s main systems, is a network of vessels, ducts, lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, adenoids, and tonsils through which the lymphs drain from tissues into the blood. This expansive system works together with the circulatory system to travel the entire body and both remove waste and regulate your immune system. The crazy part is that this complex system does not have a built in pump which propels the blood through the circulatory system, for it to be oxygenated, filtered, and then circulated. YOU are the pump. Our lymphatic system relies on the contraction and relaxation of our muscles and joints to move the lymph. If you suffer from morning stiffness, brain fog, chronic ear, nose, & throat challenges, water retention, or overall fatigue it may be a sign that you need to MOVE more. During physical movement we wring out the tissues and propel fluid to move through the lymphatic channels. What I’m recommending here is another 3 minute exercise where you get up DANCE, SHAKE, JUMP, and MOVE. Set that timer again but this time for 3 uninterrupted minutes all you have to do is move your money maker. Shake out your legs, feet, fingers, arms, and head. Do jumping jacks. Dance to your favorite music. Jump up and down. Shake it all. It helps if you do this with a smile. It’s a fantastic workout for your muscles and it increases bone density and promotes better balance. It’s also a great opportunity to shake out and release all of the negativity stored in your mind and body and give yourself the fresh chance to choose happiness and wellbeing for this new day.
What are your favorite morning routines? Let us know in the comments.
is a writer, teacher, world traveler, and change maker. She holds a BA in Special Education and graduated Summa Cum Laude from George Mason University with a Masters of Arts in Teaching and an emphasis in Educational Reform. She holds a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Barre, & Autism Consultant Certifications. She founded to provide kids, teens, educators, and parents with the tools and support they need to inspire healthy personal changes and find more joy in the day to day.
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