Six productive ways to start your day

  1. Meditation.

According to researchers, meditation has longer-lasting effects that go beyond simply clearing your mind (though it does that too). When you practice focused meditation, you’re warming up your brain to stay focused throughout the whole day. This occurs because meditation reinforces the connections between brain cells. These stronger connections are believed to lead to faster information processing, better decision making, and improved attention.

  1. Set goals for the day.

When you set daily goals right after you wake up, you also manage your time throughout the day. Your brain automatically starts piecing together when you can dedicate moments to accomplishing these goals and prioritises which need to be completed first. Then, when it’s time to go to sleep, you can look back on your goal list and see how much you’ve accomplished. This confirms that you’ve had a productive day.

3. Exercise after you wake up.

Exercise is a natural energy booster. By exercising, you produce more mitochondria in your cells, which work like “tiny power plants to produce energy”. So, by exercising in the morning, you’ll find yourself more prepared to take on the day compared to just grabbing a coffee and heading out the door.

4. Delay your daily caffeine intake.

Your body produces it’s peak amount of cortisol between 8 and 9am each day. Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that makes us feel both alert and awake. So, your body replicates the effects of caffeine without you having to take a single sip.
By delaying your daily coffee consumption, you’re giving your body an energy boost when you really need it – when your cortisol has levelled off. And that means higher productivity levels throughout the whole day.

5. Take a cold shower.

Taking a cold shower versus a hot shower raises your adrenaline levels. It works by sending a shock to your system, which initiates your fight or flight response. In turn, cold showers raise your levels of alertness in the morning and get you ready to take on the rest of the day. Cold showers have also been shown to aid in muscle recovery, strengthen your immune system and improve your mental health.

6. Eat a nutritious breakfast.

When you eat breakfast in the morning, you restore your glycogen levels, which are essential to energising your body throughout the course of the day. And when you eat nutritious breakfasts consistently, you improve your metabolism, boost your fibre and calcium intake, stabilise your blood sugar, and increase your memory and concentration. For a nutritious breakfast, avoid standard fare like doughnuts and croissants and elect healthy options like wholegrain toast with peanut butter or avocado, fresh fruit, porridge, yoghurt, eggs, and untoasted muesli. Or, for a quick meal on-the-goal, make fruit and vegetable smoothies the night before that you can take out the door with you in the morning.

Source: This is an edited extract from 6 Productive Ways to start your day, available from AFA Care and Benestar,