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Health & Balance

10 Morning Mood Boosters

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3. Get some fresh air.
Head out for some “green exercise”—physical activity performed in an outdoor setting—even if you only have a few minutes to spare. Researchers found that people experienced an enhanced mood and higher self-esteem after just five minutes of various types of green exercise, including walking and gardening. The study also found that exercising near water amplified the effects, so if you live near a lake, river or waterfall, even better.

4. Listen to the sounds of nature.
Capture the benefits of the great outdoors, even if you can’t get outside, by listening to recorded nature sounds. In a recent study, participants recovered from a stressful situation more quickly when they listened to a recorded combination of running water and bird sounds. Open your window in the morning so you can hear Mother Nature’s music as you get ready, or invest in an alarm clock that eases you awake with nature sounds.

5. Focus on feeling good.
Right after waking up, Robyn McKay, PhD, a psychologist based in Tempe, Arizona, and founder of the Smart Girl-Modern Goddess coaching program, recommends taking five deep breaths and making the decision to feel good for the day. “Imagine that, even when you encounter frustrations and surprises, you will remember to breathe and respond mindfully—rather than react mindlessly—to your circumstances,” she says. Dr. McKay also suggests that, throughout the day, you “take five deep, intentional breaths and remind yourself of your decision to feel good.”

6. Drink hot chocolate.
A recent study found that sipping a drink containing cocoa flavonols improved participants’ moods and levels of alertness—even as they worked on a series of challenging math problems. So go ahead and savor some hot cocoa made with lowfat or skim milk and dark chocolate. The protein and carbs in the milk will help keep your blood sugar levels stable until lunch, which will help you hold on to your mood momentum.

7. Take a moment to assess yourself.
Don’t jump out of bed right when you open your eyes in the morning. Instead, take five minutes to pay attention to your body and notice if you feel any stiffness, then do some light stretching while breathing deeply, suggests Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, RYT, a psychotherapist and yoga teacher in Marietta, Georgia. She notes, “Before racing off to the hundred things on the day's to-do list, it can be tremendously beneficial to claim these five minutes to tune in to your body and your breath. You'll find that you are more ‘present’ and better equipped to deal with the busyness of the day ahead.”

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