What if I told you that how you are waking up in the morning and what you do in the mornings will have a major impact on the rest of your day. That waking up appropriately could impact the rest of your day. Would you change how you get up in the morning if it meant that you could be calmer through the day?
If you look at a lot of your habits in the morning, perhaps you can realize why you are so addicted to stress throughout the day and not even know it. The habits that you create each morning set you up for how you respond to the rest of the day.
Did you realize that most of us wake up to an “Alarm” clock? The word’s meaning is “an anxious awareness of danger”. What a terrible way to start out your day! If you are using a traditional alarm, then you are woken up by a sudden, loud noise that startles you from sleep. This startling that you experience is releasing cortisol from your adrenals due to the scare of the alarm. A better option for you is to wake up to natural sounds that gradually increase. There are plenty of apps that you can download on your phone to make this possible. If you are looking for a free app, try Alarm Clock HD and if you don’t mind the $0.99, then look into Progressive Alarm. The apps have software that will slowly build the sounds of the chosen alarm noise. Both of these will allow for you to wake up much more gradually and not in a state of panic.
Another shock to your system is transitioning from dim to bright lights. A study showed that you increase your cortisol output by 50% from doing this. What should happen naturally is that as the sun comes up and slowly the day brightens, you then transition from sleep to waking. Unfortunately, this is not always the case due to the time you wake up, if you have curtains or blackouts for your bedroom. Something that can provide you with this transition is a Wake Up Light Alarm Clock. What this clock will do for you is slowly increase the light over a 30 minute span to slowly having you adjust to not waking up so abruptly. Phillips make several options that are great options to add to the bedroom and allow for a more gradual wake up.
Another common trick that you might use to get up and go is to have that cup of coffee first thing in the morning. The caffeine increases your output of cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands. Also, it blocks your Adenosine in the brain, which is a relaxant. Perhaps you will not be able to completely get rid of your coffee in the mornings, but you can push back the time that you drink it from first thing in the morning, to mid morning and also decrease the amount of caffeine content by either switching to decaffeinated coffee or mixing some teeccino with your coffee to lower the caffeine content. Teeccino is a herbal coffee substitute that is completely caffeine free and is a blend of herbs, grains, fruits and nuts. Adding this to your coffee grinds will decrease your caffeine, increase the potassium intake and also expose you to small amounts of fiber first thing in the morning.
The last place that we want to look at for you is that morning commute. Most people view this as a negative time. Fighting to get to work, trying not to be late, unexpected delays, etc. What you don’t realize is the stress and overhaul you put on your adrenals going into work and setting yourself up for a much more stressful day. Change your views of this to a positive time where many things can be done. Stimulate your mind with a podcast or audiobook. If you are carpooling, enjoy some quality time with the person next to you, whether it be a spouse, child or friend, the bonding can help you release some oxytocin during that time. Another thing to do is not have anything on at all and you can simply enjoy it as a peaceful time where you can center. Anyone of these will be better use of your time during that commute and have you being in a much better mood getting into work for the rest of the day.
Try any one of these for yourself at home to allow you a calmer morning. When you reduce the stress that you start your day out with, you will be much calmer and handle stress much better as your day continues to unfold. Small changes at the beginning of the day can have major impact on the direction of the rest of your day!
Dr. Saman Rezaie is a licensed Naturopathic Physician (N.M.D), receiving his Doctorate from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. Prior to his doctorate, Dr. Rezaie completed a master’s in Molecular Biology from University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). During his time at UTSA, he worked with Strength and Conditioning programs for multiple Division I teams at the school and was a Graduate Assistant to the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams. He has received his undergraduate degree in Biology (pre-dental) from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
Dr. Rezaie went off to undergrad having his health dramatically declined in the first semester of college due to diet and inactivity. He had put on 25 pounds and was getting sick all the time. He decided to learn more about nutrition on his own time, made changes to his diet and took up distance running. Within the second semester of his freshman year, he lost 15 pounds and his health had completely come back. Since then he has always had an interest in health through diet and exercise, with it reversing dis-ease and optimizing the body. He was able to further delve into the aspects of exercise and understand how diet impacts elite athletes while at UTSA. Finally, at SCNM, he learned numerous more therapies to health people reach wellness.
Dr. Rezaie is passionate about sports medicine, pain management, prolotherapy, gastrointestinal concerns, auto-immune disorders, anxiety, depression and other mental disturbances. He is a general practice physician as well, looking to make the biggest change in your health with the smallest possible changes. Dr. Rezaie loves motivating people to achieve health through the power of choice. On his own time, Dr. Rezaie enjoys league sports, the outdoors with his dog, Logan, and traveling.