10 simple ways to start your morning stress-free and energized, according to psychologists

Starting your day on the right foot has a positive impact on your mood and productivity.

The more healthy habits you can incorporate into your AM routine, the happier you’ll be.

You can’t expect to function at your best if you don’t allow your brain and body to slowly adjust to a new day.

Here are 10 simple ways to start your morning stress-free and energized, according to psychologists.

Pack your early hours with activities meant to promote joy.

1) Set yourself up for success

Psychologists recommend giving yourself enough time in the morning to get everything done in a timely manner.

This way, you don’t maniacally rush through tasks and get out the door grumpy and already on edge.

The best way to make sure this happens?

Set yourself up for success the night before. Your willpower tank isn’t unlimited, so don’t waste most of your decision-making ability in the first hour of the day.

Instead, take a few minutes in the evening to prepare for a stress-free morning:

  • Review your schedule and make a to-do list for the next day
  • Lay out your outfit, including accessories and shoes
  • Figure out what you’ll have for breakfast and make sure ingredients are easily accessible
  • If you have a skincare routine, line up the products in the order you’re going to use them
  • Give your kitchen and bedroom a quick tidy (there’s nothing more depressing than waking up to a sink full of dirty dishes!)
  • Go to sleep at a reasonable hour so you’re not tempted to snooze

2) Avoid electronics

If you start your day by scrolling your phone, you’re doing it wrong.

First off, seeing something negative first thing in the morning can trigger a stress response, according to psychology.

This puts you in a foul mood for the rest of the day.

Next, by checking email or messages you’re allowing others to dictate your priorities for the day, which isn’t the best approach to time management.

Stop overloading your brain with tons of information and let it wake up at its own pace.

I’ve gotten in the habit of turning off the internet on my phone before going to bed, and this simple switch has done wonders for my mental health.

I no longer scroll social media before bed, which means I fall asleep more quickly. 

Plus, I wake up with zero notifications to stress me out first thing in the morning.

Highly recommend.

3) Hydrate

Your body becomes dehydrated after several hours of sleep.

Drinking water upon waking helps replenish fluids lost during the night and kickstarts the hydration process for the day ahead.

Not only that but hydrating first thing boosts metabolism, aids digestion, and promotes healthy skin.

It also supports brain function, as dehydration can lead to difficulty concentrating and impaired memory, among other unpleasant side effects.

Keep a glass of water on your nightstand and gulp it down first thing.

Your energy levels will keep steady throughout the day, increasing your productivity.

4) Don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach

As a huge supporter of coffee, I’m not here to tell you not to drink it.

In fact, coffee isn’t so bad for you after all, as it improves brain function and lifts your mood.

However, psychologists warn that downing it on an empty stomach does more harm than good.

Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that can trigger the release of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone.

Consuming it on an empty stomach may lead to a sharper spike in cortisol levels, potentially increasing feelings of stress.

Ideally, you should have your coffee after you’ve had some food. That brings me to my next point.

5) Eat breakfast

eating breakfast 10 simple ways to start your morning stress-free and energized, according to psychologists

Studies show that people who eat breakfast are less depressed and stressed than those who skip it.

A nutritious breakfast comes with extra benefits:

  • It replenishes your body’s energy stores and provides fuel for the day ahead
  • It enhances mental clarity and productivity
  • It helps regulate appetite and prevents overeating later in the day
  • It encourages mindfulness around food choices, especially if you usually eat in a rush

I can’t stomach solid food in the first hours after waking up, but I make myself a smoothie for breakfast.

I pack it with fruits and greens, add a scoop of protein powder, and chug it before my stomach can figure out what’s going on.

So far, the results have been overwhelmingly positive.

6) Get some exercise

Exercise isn’t only good for your body, it’s excellent for your mind, too.

Psychologists insist that it relieves stress and boosts your overall mood while also helping with sleep, memory, and confidence.

You don’t even have to exercise for hours on end to reap the benefits, as 30 minutes per day can be enough to see results.

If you want to start your morning stress-free and energized, make moving your body a priority.

You can do a short stretching session, take a walk around the block as you drink your coffee, or walk to work.

Remember that you don’t need a complicated exercise routine to stay healthy.

A little goes a long way.  

7) Practice gratitude

Multiple studies show that cultivating gratitude reduces stress and improves your mood.

When you focus on what you’re grateful for, your attention shifts away from stressors and negative thoughts.

Instead of dwelling on problems, gratitude re-directs you towards things you appreciate.

You end up with a much more optimistic outlook on life.

Oh, and if you do it first thing in the morning? You start your day on the right note.

8) Listen to feel-good music

I love listening to Another Day of Sun and Perfect Day immediately after waking up.

There’s something about these two songs that makes me smile, which is exactly what you want to do as you contemplate getting out of bed in the morning.

Music lifts your spirits and decreases stress, according to psychologists.

Playing a couple of feel-good songs as you brush your teeth is an easy way to take your morning from laborious to glorious.  

You might even be tempted to dance around, which simultaneously takes care of your morning exercise.

It’s a 2-in-1 special!

9) Set intentions for the day

Another simple way to start your morning stress-free and energized, according to psychologists, is to set an intention for the day.

Since you’re no longer scrolling immediately after waking up, you might as well fill those few minutes between opening your eyes and jumping from under the covers with something productive.

Think of this as a 2-minute meditation.

Sit in silence, take a few deep breaths, and settle on a mantra you want to guide you throughout the day.

A few examples:

  • My intention for today is to feel at peace
  • My intention for today is to keep calm under pressure
  • My intention for today is to make the most of my experiences
  • My intention for today is to be the best version of myself
  • My intention for today is to appreciate the little things

You’ll be able to feel the excitement bubbling up inside.

10) Give yourself a compliment

Positive affirmations might sound silly to say out loud, but they play an essential role in boosting self-esteem.

Repeat them often enough, and those positive thoughts are more likely to pop into your mind at random, psychologists believe.

This makes them a handy tool for anyone struggling with a negative inner monologue or low confidence.

If you’re not 100% convinced yet, start small by giving yourself a compliment each morning when you look in the mirror.

Compliment your looks, or the fact that you didn’t hit the snooze button, or a quality you feel particularly proud of.

Like gratitude, positive affirmations force you to focus on the positive, improving your chances of kicking off the day feeling happy and energized.

Final thoughts

Adopting only a few of these morning strategies can make a world of difference.

Before you know it, your stress levels will go down, and you’ll wake up refreshed and eager to tackle the day ahead.

Keep it up and you’ll become unstoppable.

Picture of Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Pleșa is a freelance writer obsessed with television, self-development, and thriller books. Former journalist, current pop culture junkie. Follow her on Twitter: @alexandraplesa

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