Would you like to feel more in control of your day? Developing a morning routine that will boost your productivity can help you stay on top of your commitments for the day.

Many people benefit from rising early and following a set routine every morning. While this won’t benefit everyone, it might be just what you need to feel more in control of your daily life!

Consider these ideas when developing a morning routine:

1. Avoid making any drastic changes. Begin this process slowly. Start by waking up just 15 minutes earlier than you normally would. Allow yourself to get used to this over a few days to a week before waking even earlier. Continue this gradually until your goal wake-up time is met.

2. Allow yourself to go to sleep earlier. Staying up too late when you’re trying to get up earlier will have negative consequences. Early rising will allow you to go to sleep more easily earlier in the evening so you can work on getting up earlier.

3. Keep your alarm clock away from your bed. If you keep your alarm clock close to your bed, you’ll hit the snooze button and destroy your chances of improving your morning routine. Keep your alarm clock at a distance so you must get out of bed to deal with it and resolve not to climb back under the covers.

4. Leave the bedroom as soon as your alarm wakes you. Avoid rationalizing going back to bed. Make yourself leave the room. Create a habit, such as to use the restroom as soon as you get up, so you don’t convince yourself to go back to sleep.

• By the time you’ve used the restroom or otherwise distracted yourself, you’ll no longer be thinking about going back to bed, so you can proceed with your daily routine.

5. Have your routine mapped out ahead of time. Plan something important to do first thing in the morning. If you have a specific task at hand early in the morning, then this will motivate you to wake up and get out of bed.

• It’s important to have a good reason to wake up in the morning. If you have a plan for your morning, you can slip out of bed and right into your routine.

6. Follow the same basic routine daily. If you practice the same basic steps every day, you’ll be able to automate many of your early morning tasks to make them easier.

7. Take advantage of your extra time. Don’t wake up earlier than usual just so you can lounge around and read Facebook updates. Avoid wasting the extra time that you’ve created in your schedule.

• Instead, get a jump on your day, doing tasks that are best done in the early morning, such as reading, writing, and planning for the day.

Ultimately, you get to decide the best course of action when developing an early morning routine. These seven considerations should steer you in the right direction and can serve as a foundation for your own practice. When you customize and standardize your morning habits, they’ll drive your productivity throughout the day.

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Would you like to reduce pain without the side effects that accompany medication? You can, with a simple meditation practice.

Scientists have been studying Zen monks to learn how meditation helps them cope with both chronic and occasional pain. While some of their accomplishments depend on their faith, many of their techniques can be used by anyone. Whether or not you already have a meditation practice, the suggestions below can help you get relief from pain.

Tools for Meditation

1. Appreciate the mind-body connection. There’s a growing understanding that our health depends on a wide range of factors. Our mind and body interact closely. The pain we experience due to physical conditions such as arthritis also affects us emotionally.

2. Reduce apprehension. Your reaction to pain can become exaggerated if you anticipate that it’s going to occur. Fear of pain is a good thing when it helps you avoid dangerous situations. It’s less helpful if you dwell on how your back will keep hurting. Mindfulness meditation helps you live in the present moment and take a break from worries about the future.

3. Manage anxiety. Studies show that experienced meditators feel pain but experience less emotional impact. Even beginners can use meditation as a useful distraction. With practice, you can become more skilled at noticing the affected body part but declining to get upset about it. You may be able to notice the sensation of pain without judging it as unpleasant.

4. Fight depression. Depression is known to make pain worse. When meditation helps you to feel happier and more peaceful, it’s also giving you greater protection from all kinds of afflictions.

5. Loosen up. Many people feel some tension around an injured body part. If you’re nursing a stiff neck, you can focus on relaxing the area and opening it up. Imagine that your breath is flowing across the muscles, where it warms and heals them.

6. Engage the pain. Pain may command all of your attention when it becomes severe. In such cases, trying to resist it may just make things worse. Some patients find relief by taking an active role in rating the relative intensity of their symptoms or observing how they increase and decrease over time.

7. Get an early start. It’s a lot more challenging to learn to meditate when you’re in the middle of recovering from back surgery. By starting your practice in advance, you’ll be better prepared to cope with medical issues or the common aches that come with aging.

When You’re Not In Meditation

1. Understand the relevance of meditation breaks: You’ll probably spend most of your life away from the meditation cushion. By learning to access the states of mind you attain while meditating, you can take advantage of those benefits anytime you want.

2. Use pain as a cue. Even if you need to keep working when a headache hits, you can guide yourself with constructive reminders about how to deal with it. Use everyday discomforts to check in with yourself and see if anxiety and apprehension are building up.

3. Guard against depression. Depression can strike anybody, but you can lower your risks. A healthy lifestyle and positive attitude can make it easier to stay on track.

4. Reduce other sources of stress. Living with chronic pain can take a heavy emotional toll. If possible, build a strong support network and avoid taking on too many obligations.

5. Talk with your doctor. If symptoms of pain continue, talk with your doctor about other available methods of treatment. Fortunately, meditation can be used to complement conventional approaches.

Meditation is an affordable and effective method for treating physical and emotional suffering without harmful side effects. Your skills will improve with practice so you can spend less time worrying about pain and more time enjoying life.

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