So here's how to get the most out of those first couple hours. Try incorporating these rituals into your morning routine. These come from Dr. Barbara Holstein, psychologist and author of "The Enhanced Self"
- Don't let your alarm clock be like the starting pistol in a race to get out the door. Stay in bed for 2 extra minutes, close your eyes, breathe deeply, stretch, and think about what you're grateful for. Then visualize doing something well, something that you have to tackle that day. A great day begins when you visualize having one.
- Then, when you take your morning shower, blast yourself with hot water for 10 seconds, then cold for 10 seconds--And do that 5 times. It'll make you feel smarter all day long. Why? Cold water constricts your blood vessels, slowing down your circulation; while hot water dilates your veins for a circulation surge. And when you alternate between the two, it sends more oxygen to your brain, and increases your mental focus for the rest of the day.
- After your power shower, skip the morning news. Studies show that bad-news TV bulletins make people anxious and sad even about troubles in their own lives. Instead, listen to a CD or something uplifting and entertaining in the morning. You'll be better able to handle the hard news later in the day.
- And one last way to get your day off to a great start, check in with a friend. The sound of a friend's voice can be more uplifting than all the coffee in Starbucks. But agree ahead of time that serious topics are off limits. Just share funny stories, light conversation, and wishes for a good day then go have one.