Are your mornings a little chaotic? Between rushing the kids to school, getting ready for work, or walking the dog before you leave, these AM hours can get neglected. However, the psychological benefits of routine are huge. From managing stress to lowering your blood pressure, here are some scientific benefits of a morning routine.
Let’s start with a big one — managing stress. Stress is a normal human reaction to a stimulus that includes physical, emotional, and intellectual responses. However, when you experience chronic stress, mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression can be exacerbated.
One of the key benefits of a morning routine is that it helps you manage your responses to life’s daily stressors. Instead of scrambling to find your keys that you swear you hung on the hook by the door while the kids are running around trying to find their shoes, imagine this: Your keys are in the bowl right beside the door that’s sitting on top of the shoe rack where all the kids’ shoes live.
Some might call this organization, and that’s a part of it. However, the bigger part is the routine — you always put your keys in the same place, and your kids always put their shoes away. That’s the benefit of a morning routine: the habits you develop that help lower your stress levels.
Improved Mental Health
One of the psychological benefits of routine is improved mental health. Not only will you lower your stress, you’ll potentially lower your anxiety levels.
Why? Routine creates a feeling of control. Even if it’s only a feeling of control, it can help lower anxiety levels. Plus, studies have shown that one of the scientific benefits of a morning routine order (including lack of clutter) helps lower anxiety and stress levels. Think of every time you’re looking at the clock, stressing because you have to leave, and yet you still forget to grab even an apple as you rush out the door. Now take all that stress out of your day and imagine how calm your mind and energy would be as a benefit of your morning routine.
Your daily routine influences your quality of rest. It’s true that your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, and that includes how you wind down at night. It’s an interesting trickle-down effect.
For example, say you don’t have a morning routine so you’re always rushing. You don’t have time for breakfast so you either skip it or stop for something quick on the way to work. Before you know it, your nutrition during your day has suffered and by the time you get to bed, your stomach is upset.
A strong benefit of a morning routine is starting your day off right. In the same example, eat a healthful breakfast that energizes you until lunch so you make healthier choices throughout your day and get in bed settled.
How to Implement a New Routine
Okay, you know the psychological benefits of routine. Now, how do you go about starting a new one?
Take advantage of the scientific benefits of a morning routine by starting small. Changing habits is tough, so set yourself up for success.
For example, try setting your alarm only five minutes early the first day. Sit up in bed and take those five minutes to breathe deeply or listen to a podcast or write down three things you’re excited about. Anything to ground and center you before jumping out of bed and into the rush.
You can take advantage of the benefits of a morning routine with this small foundation. Once you’re consistently waking up five minutes early, move it to ten. Then, with your spare five minutes after your centering, pick one task that usually escapes you and go do it.
For example, if you never have time to make your bed, get up and make it. Or, if you always wanted to savor your coffee on your porch instead of rushing out the door with it in a thermos, do that.
Starting with a task you’ve always wanted to do will motivate you to keep it going.
Prepare as Much as Possible
The benefits of a morning routine hinge on prep work. Lay out the clothes you want to wear the night before so you don’t have to choose the next day. Put some overnight oats in the refrigerator so you have breakfast ready to go. Prep the kids lunches the night before so they’re ready.
Any task you can do the night before will make your morning routine that much easier.
Morning Routines and Mental Health
Want to take advantage of the psychological benefits of routine in your life but aren’t sure where to start? We can help. Schedule a phone consultation with us to learn not only the scientific benefits of a morning routine, but also the science-backed ways we help you implement one.