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Whether or not you’re a morning person, your first waking hour offers an opportunity to set the tone for your day. If it’s typically frenzied and stressful — think blaring alarms and pushy smartphone notifications — that reactive energy is likely to linger.

Thankfully, every sunrise is a chance to start fresh. Here are some ways you can set yourself up for calmer, more focused days.

  • Forget your phone. It can be tempting to check your favorite social-media channels first thing, but starting your day by staring at your screen could trigger a serious cortisol spike. Instead, set an actual alarm clock and keep your phone outside your bedroom — so when you do decide to reach for it, you can do so intentionally.
  • Drink up. It’s common to wake up dehydrated after going hours without drinking fluids. If coffee is typically your morning beverage of choice consider putting it off for a bit and reach for water first. Add a squeeze of lemon for a flavor boost. (For our recipe for a refreshing morning drink see “Good Gut Water”.)
  • Stretch it out. Some easy movement can help guide your body into a wakeful state after a good night’s sleep. Try bending over to touch your toes, then reach your hands straight up for a long-body stretch. (For two dynamic drills, see “How to Loosen Early-Morning Body Stiffness”.)
  • Relish the ritual. Take a few minutes to do something enjoyable for yourself. You could meditate, sketch, journal, read a poem, light a candle, or spend some time savoring a healthy breakfast — anything that allows you to ease, rather than rush, into your day. (For more a.m. advice, go to “Living Experiment: Mornings”.)

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