Healthy Morning Habits to Adopt for a Stress-Free Mind

Life can be challenging and complicated. Life can also be amazing, blissful, fulfilling, and mystical.  A meaningful life comprises a wonderful and diverse mix of emotions and feelings, including joy, grief, curiosity, love, shame, disappointment, and stress. Stress on its own is not necessarily a bad thing or even an emotion or feeling, however our response to it can be.  

Stress management counselling can help individuals identify stress triggers – be it events, situations, people, and teach skills, techniques, and strategies to help cope more effectively, when it arises.  

Develop morning habits for a healthy mind – These daily habits to reduce stress may seem simple and obvious, however they are often overlooked or not available as the mind may be preoccupied catering to problematic stories, memories, judgements, thoughts, emotions, and feelings.  

The mind may be busy tangling with things that have happened, shadows of the previous evening or day – not what is happening in the direct experience.  This alone may offer a solution – become present.  This gives you the opportunity to set the scene, setting up a morning routine for mental health.  

Here are a few tips on how to develop a morning habit for a healthy mind

  • Before you get out of bed, notice your breathing cycle without trying to change it – is it even, slow, gentle, soothing, do you notice it in the belly, chest, nostrils. Observing calm peaceful breath offers relief and is a key to reduce stress, and it brings you directly to the present. 
  • Instead of checking your phone, iPad, computer, or other device, go outside and greet the day first.  Natural light on your face/body, bare feet on the earth, expose yourself to the weather elements – wind, sunlight, rain, warmth, cold.
  • An effective morning habit for a healthy mind is journaling.  Spend the first minutes of the day expressing yourself on paper.  Make it for your eyes only.  
  • Slowly drink a glass of water.  Mindful hydration. Focus on the colour of it, the density, its movement qualities, the feel of it on your lips, the sound it makes swirled in the glass and the sound of it as you swallow, the feel of it in your mouth, the temperature.  
  • Meditation for a healthy morning mind.  Begin the day with a guided or self -guided meditation, there are thousands available.  Perhaps it’s a simple grounding, 5-10 minutes while you are in bed or create a ritual for yourself – light a candle, sit in a special space in the room, favourite blanket, Allow the peace, closeness, and calmness you create to linger throughout the day. 
  • Start the day with exercise.  Go for a walk, stretch, yoga, bike ride, strength exercises (push ups, squats), swim.  Exercise reduces adrenaline and cortisol – the body’s stress hormones, and endorphins are released, which improve mood and enhance your sense of wellbeing. 
  • Expose yourself to nature. Get close to mountains, hills, water, trees, animals, birds, wind, sun, grass.  Allow your senses to be stimulated by nature.  
  • Practice gratitude by writing down something you are grateful for.  You can even extend gratitude outwards to someone in your life.  Imagine beginning the day by holding someone you love in your thoughts and wishing them a peaceful day.  You could even write a message or call them just to say, “I was thinking of you and wanted to tell you how much I enjoy having you in my life.” Too heavy for the morning?  You can never be too kind to those you love. 
  • Make your bed, fold you clothes up and leave your room tidy.  Beginning the day with pride can have a huge impact on your next steps in the day. Create an environment that shows you value yourself and that you are prepared to make efforts that matter and make a difference, regardless how little you think the action is.  
There is a common theme with these tips on how to reduce stress and develop morning habits for a healthy mind. They all require action, a behaviour change, and they all create presence. They are also accessible and available to everyone. 

Common questions in therapy I am asked – How to reduce stress? How to reduce stress & anxiety? How do I develop a morning routine for mental health? What are daily habits for a stress-free day?  

Strategies and techniques to reduce stress and anxiety are available at Mindful Health Counselling.  Stress management counselling will help you identify the causes of your stress and create awareness of the accompanying emotions that arise.  Learning skills such as thought defusion, contacting the present moment, developing awareness, mindfulness/meditation, self-acceptance & acceptance and knowing how to represent your values are excellent tools for stress reduction. 

Feelings of being overwhelmed, having too many things on your mind, pressure, life deadlines getting away from you, can be signs that stress is becoming a problem. Learning to manage emotions and acknowledging signs of stress before they become heavy is a great first step.

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At Mindful Health Counselling we offer stress management counselling and provide strategies and techniques that help reduce the impact of stressful situations.
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