‘Practise mindfulness’: and five other morning rituals to improve your focus

Beat anxiety and fuel your mind with these tips on how to kickstart a productive day

After a year of working from home, it’s normal to miss having structure and variety in our daily routines and immediate surroundings. For almost half of us, Covid-19 has temporarily halted the daily commute, which took an average of 59 分钟 在 2018. So with this extra time on our hands, here’s a few ways you can ensure you’re giving yourself the best chance to have a productive, focused day …

Arrange a healthy breakfast
Getting the right nutrients in your body first thing in the morning is hugely beneficial when it comes to maintaining focus throughout the day. Sheena Skinner, founder of wellness company Detox Health Beauty, swears by options such as porridge with almond butter and chopped banana, or granola with berries and almond or oat milk. “Eating a wide variety of wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes throughout the day ensures that blood sugar levels are stable and provides the brain with healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals,“ 她说. “These all work synergistically to promote brain health, focus, 记忆, concentration, and health in general.”

Add an easy-to-achieve goal to your to-do list
根据 Psychology Today, you can manipulate your dopamine levels by setting small goals: “The satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine. Each time your brain gets a whiff of this rewarding neurotransmitter, it will want you to repeat the associated behaviour.”

Take brushing your teeth, 例如. We’re already used to brushing our teeth in the morning, but did you know that brushing your teeth alone only cleans around 60% of the plaque and tartar that build up daily in your mouth and on your teeth? A tooth has five sides and a toothbrush only reaches three of the five sides. So if your goal is to improve your oral healthcare, using an interdental brush can be an easy and healthy way to do this while also preventing gum inflammation, cavities and bad breath. By adding interdental brushing to your morning to-do list, you’re giving yourself an instant dopamine hit when you complete that one task, but also doing something quick and beneficial that will aid your long-term wellness.

Train your brain
Crosswords and other puzzles are a handy way to pass the time, but they’re also incredibly useful in improving memory and brain function. Dr Gareth Moore, puzzle author, writes in The Irish Times: “Your brain loves this mental pat on the back, and it can help make life’s larger problems somehow seem easier to tackle. 更重要的是, those little bursts of joy at finishing a puzzle can help calm your mind, in much the same way that physical exercise can mentally relax you too.”

Practise mindfulness and meditation
Incorporating simple mindfulness or meditation techniques into your routine will work wonders in lowering stress levels. If you’re unsure where to begin, apps such as CalmHeadspace – which have hundreds of guided meditation practices – are a valuable resource.

“Using Calm in the morning allows you to take dedicated time to observe what’s going on with your thoughts and emotions that would otherwise go unnoticed,” Jade Heritage, mindfulness practitioner at Calm, 说. “The Daily Calm and Daily Trip – Calm’s two, 10-minute daily meditation offerings – are great tools for beginners or advanced meditators alike to focus on their inner selves and bring mindfulness into the rest of the day. By gaining awareness and not slipping into ‘autopilot’ in your morning routine, you are better able to take care of your needs throughout the day.”

Enjoy nature
Comprehensive and dedicated 批准支出的月份 exists on the positive mental effects of venturing outdoors and spending time in nature. 一种 学习 from Stanford University, 例如, found that participants who walked through the leafier parts of California experienced a decrease in anxiety and rumination – both of which can negatively affect focus – compared with participants who walked through more urbanised areas.

Heading out into nature in the morning, 然后, could benefit your concentration. If you simply can’t escape the traffic, Halina Rifai, who produces the thought-provoking mental health podcast A Sonic Hug, suggests listening to a podcast: “I can lose myself in them and enjoy my time outdoors.” She says. “It prevents my own overthinking.”

Get it all down on paper
Anxiety and stress can hamper our ability to stay focused. But according to American psychotherapist and author Barbara Markway, keeping a record of your thoughts on paper is “one of the most useful things you can do to combat stress and anxiety”.

Hypnotherapist Amanda Trainer 同意: “There is something about getting [your thoughts] out of your head and on to paper that provides a window of opportunity and gives you a bit of space to start looking at things from a different view.” So spend some time each morning jotting down your thoughts, and create some headspace for the day ahead.

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