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5 ways to start your day (and feel better than ever!)

Start your morning sunny side up

According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, breakfasts that include eggs showed as much as 65 percent more weight loss over eight weeks. And eggs also stabilize blood sugar and squash hunger pains, so you’re not reaching for snacks mid-morning. Scramble with veggies for more fiber or top whole-grain toast with eggs and sliced avocado for heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber.

Lace up your sneakers early

Realistically, the best time to exercise is whenever you can squeeze it in, but if you’re looking for an added bonus, like more brainpower, lace up your sneakers and get at it early. Dr. Wendy Suzuki, author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life and professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York University says exercising first thing in the morning increases neurotransmitters at a time before you really need them for learning and remembering things— like at work or school. 

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Tap into your circadian rhythms

Exercising first thing in the morning benefits the last thing you do at night—sleep. When you exercise early in the morning, your energy levels naturally decrease throughout the day. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you’ll be falling asleep at three o’clock. This is a natural progression from a higher body core temperature after your workout to a natural drop in core body temperature during the day. This cooling process nudges our circadian rhythms to prepare us for a restful night’s sleep. 

Don’t use up your brain on morning stuff

Research tells us most adults do their best thinking late morning. So what good is that information if we’re focusing on early morning stuff, you ask? Because a lot of us may be using up our cognitive thinking on looking for lost car keys, rushing to pack lunches, and making sure the dog gets out to pee, before rushing out the door. Instead of using up all the brainpower, you activated when you exercised earlier, create a morning routine. A morning regimen gives you the opportunity to do routine tasks without using up cognitive energy thinking about all the stuff you need to do. We do these everyday tasks without occupying the mind with the details they require. It’s what psychologists call automaticity.

Flood your brain with positive emotions

You know those mornings when you wake up and you just want to stay in bed and throw the covers over your head? Instead of sucking it up and muddling through your day, write down five things you are grateful for. Stay with me, this works! A 2009 study using MRI images showed that gratitude switches on the hypothalamus—the body control center noted for body temperature, sleep, hunger, metabolism, and body growth. The payoff for gratitude (besides thwarting complaining and criticizing) is that it helps all those above mentioned bodily functions work more smoothly.

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by Lisa Marie Conklin

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