That’s approximately what you get in your adult life. According to a report from the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years old. Perhaps a little less. A little more if you’re lucky.
If we use worldwide life expectancy statistics, assume that your adult life starts at 18 years old, and round up slightly, we arrive at the number 25,000 – the number of times you get to open your eyes, face the day, and make decisions. What will you do with each one? Here are eight things you should never do in the morning if you want to start each one joyfully, meaningfully, and healthily.
1. Thinking negatively
Negative thinking has an immediate, destructive impact on your life, no matter the time of day. The moment you have a negative thought, it poorly impacts your self-esteem, hinders you from achieving your goals, makes you feel worse, and adds negative value to your life in some way.
Conversely, the science of positive thinking suggests that adding positive value to your life leads to increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and improved life satisfaction.
Morning Action Tip: Check out what people call “gratitude lists” to turn your negatives into positives!
2. Leaving angry
Sometimes, we just wake up angry. Or maybe something happens upon waking between your walk from bedroom to the bathroom or the kitchen that sends you into a tailspin. According to a University of Virginia study, some negative moods can signal inadequate progress at a task and increase effort and attention in various contexts. Other studies suggest anger not only affects your ability to reach your goals, but can also affect your decision making abilities, sleep, skin health, and overall wellbeing.
Morning Action Tip: The next time you find yourself starting the day off angrily, try breathing deeply and repeating a positive thought mantra before moving into your next task.
3. Jumping straight into (other peoples') work
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. If you start going through your smart phone or inbox first thing in the morning, you immediately wake up and start distracting yourself with everyone else's needs. According to the 2013 IDC Research Report ad other research, 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. This leads to reactive instead of proactive behaviors, granting you a round-trip ticket on a directionless train that thwarts any chance you had of going full steam ahead on your important projects of the morning.
Morning Action Tip: Work on something important for 30-45 minutes, and only then open your social media and email. If you can stand it, wait even longer.
4. Checking your bank account
Americans are paying with their health quite literally. Stress is America surveys suggest that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time. Stressors have a major influence upon mood, our sense of well-being, behavior, and health.
Morning Action Tip: We’re not saying don’t check your finances. Just like when it comes to not checking your social media straight out of the sleep gate, work on something else important before checking your accounts. Your health will thank you.
5. Rushing through your routine
Flying through your morning routine gives your brain no time to decompress or prepare for the day. One of the best ways to avoid unproductive mornings is to prepare the night before. Don’t wait to pick choose your outfit, make your lunch, and see if your car needs gas. Establish a “pre-game” routine to avoid the extra stress of an unprepared morning.
Morning Action Tip: Make the next day’s to do list the night before, and take a morning “brain dump.” For five minutes, list all projects, to-dos, reminders and priorities on a piece of paper. Then, highlight the top three things on the list to deal with today, things that matter most to you.
6. Skipping Breakfast
This is sometimes the result of rushing through your morning routine. Studies have shown that less than 40 percent of Americans eat breakfast every day. You’ve probably heard this “don’t do” morning activity before, but do you know why skipping breakfast consistently makes “don’t do” lists? Harvard Doctor Leah Cahill explains, “As we sleep all night we are fasting, and so if we regularly do not ‘break fast’ in the morning, it puts a strain on our bodies that over time can lead to insulin resistance, hypercholesterolemia and blood pressure problems, which can then lead to heart disease.” The breakfast you eat can be both quick and healthy. Check out these 12 infographics to help you eat healthier.
Morning Action Tip: Trailing on Point 5’s coattails, try preparing your breakfast the night before. Avoid rushing in the morning, and break your fast.
Too much of a good thing can indeed be harmful. "Drockling," according to Mary A. Carskadon, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, “is the old, official term for dipping in and out of sleep in the early morning." You continually mess up your body’s internal clock each time you hit the snooze button. While it's true a good night's sleep is essential for health, drockling and oversleeping have been linked to a host of medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and increased risk of death. Hitting the snooze alarm
Morning Action Tip: Sorry, but you aren’t going to like this one. Set your alarm for the time you have to get up and then actually get up when it goes off, every day at the same time. Consistency over time will make the task of waking up less daunting.
8. Expecting perfection
Remind yourself – anytime, anywhere, but especially at the outset of each day – that you were born to be real, not perfect. Manage your energy, allot your time, prepare to the best of your abilities... and after that, just be real.
Author: Julia Anthony
B.S. Exercise Specialist, CSCS, NASM CPT