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10 Super Easy Ways To Become A Morning Person

10 Super Easy Ways To Become A Morning Person

Some people are naturally morning people, while others prefer to sleep in or insist they just can’t get up early. We all know the early bird catches the worm, but many people struggle to get up and on their feet early in the day. It’s better for you to get up early, so give these 10 simple tips a try and become a morning person.

1. Get more sleep

Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is proven to help with cognition, so go to sleep early, and you’ll feel rested when the alarm goes off. Once you get the hang of it, you probably won’t need an alarm to wake you, as your body will know when it’s time to get out of bed.

2. Don’t use screens in your bedroom

Keep your TV, mobile devices and other electronic gadgets out of your bedroom. A dark room helps facilitate sleep, even if you are going to bed before it’s fully dark outside. You can find light-blocking blinds to help keep the light from intruding, giving yourself the best preparation for sleep.

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Electronic screens also keep it light when it should be dark, and most often excite rather than calm us down because often we’re watching things that entertain rather than relax us. If you must have a sleep aid, try listening to some quiet music to help you fall asleep, or read a book.

3. Go to bed when you are tired

Trying to sleep when you aren’t tired is a big mistake. You’ll toss and turn, which is frustrating and can cause you to get anxious and irritated. If you get up early every day, you’ll be tired earlier and get into the right sleeping patterns. It might take a little while, but it’s worth it.

4. Get into a routine for sleep

Making a routine for sleeping helps the body prepare. Our circadian rhythm wants us to sleep when it’s dark and get up with the dawn. People who live and work outside know the value of a good night’s sleep and how it helps you to perform all day. We can’t all work outside or exhaust ourselves physically, but exercise, regular sleep times and consistency help.

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5. Don’t press the snooze button

Delaying getting out of bed when you are awake will make you more tired. You are already awake, so just get up and start your day at the first ring of the alarm. Your body will thank you. You’d probably get up very early to go on vacation, so give it a try for a week as your regular routine.

6. Once you are up, get moving

As soon as you get up, wash your face and grab a glass of water. That will help you to feel awake, and you can start exercising, eating, or preparing for your day.

7. Get up at the same time very day

If you go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, your body will adjust and create a pattern that it will naturally want to follow, making you a morning person. Breaking your sleeping pattern on weekends will set your hard work back, so keep your routine going every day. You’ll have more time to do things you want to do, and that will help you feel more relaxed and less rushed.

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8. Work out in the morning

You might feel tired at first, but after a workout in the morning, you will be refreshed and ready for your day. Working out at night can make you over excited, and you might eat too much after exercising, causing you to feel full and preventing you from sleeping.

9. Find some natural light

Take a walk. Go find the sun. Get outside each day for at least 15 minutes to feel the warmth of the sun and enjoy fresh air. We all need vitamin D, and in winter it’s hardest to come by, so you must do it more often when it’s cold and least appealing. Even if you just walk around outside your office at lunch, you’ll get the benefits and feel energized for your afternoon.

10. Look forward to something each day

We all need something to look forward to each day. Whether it’s your job, your family, your pet, or your early morning meditation, if you have something that makes you happy, you will have the energy to feel good and get moving. Use the time you gain each day to spend on yourself, on others, or on a hobby. If you’re sleeping more than seven hours per day, you’re missing out on time you could have used to do things you love.

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Become a morning person.

Getting up early regularly will help you to become a morning person. Try these tips for at least seven days to break your bad habit of sleeping in. You’ll feel more refreshed, energized and ready to go!

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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