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Between work, bills, pets, kids and a social schedule, some of us find our stress levels soaring higher than Anna Chicherova’s Olympic High Jump. If you find yourself dragging your feet in the morning or waking up in a funk, make a little time for yourself to boost your spirits. Here are a few morning tips to help you take on the day with less stress and more smiles.

Make time to stretch. Stretching reduces anxiety and tension and slows down your heart rate. It can also improve your energy, and clear your head. And don’t forget that your body will feel better—there’s no harm in that! A few simple yoga poses first thing in the morning can also reduce stress. In a study published in the journal of Complementary Therapies in Medicine, participants who did a few simple yoga stretches every morning reported less stress and an overall improved quality of life than those who didn’t.

Create a sacred ritual. Creating a little ritual you do each morning “just for you” carves out some quality you-time first thing. Giving yourself attention first will allow you to look forward to waking up, and help you take on the day with a positive outlook. This ritual can be something as simple as reading a book for half an hour, or something more complex like working on a novel or learning a new language. Whatever it is you choose, it should be as essential to your well-being as your daily shower. My ritual? I spend 20 minutes savoring a cup of coffee and getting some quality snuggle time with my cat—both of us are better for it.

Create a secret smile stash. Come up with a few go-to smile-inducers to fall back on if you wake up in a down mood. I call these “happy-makers.” Stash a collection of photos from vacation with friends and family, love letters from your sweetie, or music that always lifts your spirits.

Zoe Eisenberg is an Associate Editor for RISMedia.


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