It's not coffee, exercise, or going to bed earlier.
Try as I may, I am not a morning person. I've read countless articles on calming nighttime rituals, tried bedtime yoga, and even guzzled Som Sleep, a beverage intended to help you hit the hay.
Turns out, I had my become-a-morning-person MO focused on the wrong part of the day: Nighttime. Then, about a year ago, I discovered Headspace, a meditation app started by a former Buddhist monk. A few mornings in to the Basics collection, three, five, or 10-minute sessions (your choice) of meditation fundamentals, I was hooked. Starting my day with a Headspace session also inspired me to do something else I've never done in the mornings — take a walk around my block. The simple act of getting fresh air for a few minutes, sans phone (I repeat, without my cell phone), put me in an even better state of mind before I started my meditation routine. Even on — especially on — cold, rainy, or personally difficult mornings, my five-minute walk, coupled with a few minutes of meditation empowered me to take on whatever the day threw at me, or at least, approach things with a better outlook.
Dr. Megan Jones Bell, a consulting assistant professor at Stanford and Chief Science Officer for Headspace, agrees: "A meditation practice can help you wake up to a blue sky every day, and I'm not talking about the weather. Imagine waking up every day and facing your day with a new perspective," she says. "Research shows meditation, and Headspace in particular, can decrease stress and increase positivity, two factors that can change your whole outlook. If tossing and turning all night leads you waking up on the wrong side of the bed, meditation can help with this, too."
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If you're feeling fancy, the app also has specific meditation practices geared towards the AM like Early Mornings and Waking Up. A year and change later, no, I'm still not up for meeting you for a 6:30 AM pilates class, but I sure hit the snooze button a lot less.