A New Take On A Good Breakfast

How What You Take In To Your Mind Is As Important What You Take In To Your Body

We have probably all heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important of the day.” More science has emerged that proves this adage’s truthfulness. And many studies indicate that the media we consume may be just as important as the food we ingest. (One recent study, which included analyses of other related research, confirms that not only does “bad” news – war, crime, death, etc. – lead to increases of negative affect [anxiety, sadness, depression], but even daily exposure to “regular” news has similar desultory results.)

What about mornings, in particular? Is there any evidence to support the assertion that negative news in the morning has an impact? The short answer is yes. (And a lot of it.) Harvard University published data in 2015 showing that as little as three minutes of bad news in the morning can lead to eight hours of grumpiness. The verdict on social media is equally poor, whenever it is consumed. While there are positive aspects to checking in on Instagram, SnapChat or Twitter, such as discovering new sources of information and entertainment or connecting with friends and family, there are an abundance of harmful effects, as well.

Research has demonstrated that heavy social media use leads to depression, anxiety, loneliness and even suicide. The factors that influence these painful outcomes include: self-absorption; increased feelings of lack in self and/or one’s life circumstances; the fear of missing out (which is so prevalent that it now has its own acronym: FOMO); exposure to cyber-bullying and much more.

So, what can we do about the potentially negative effects of news and social media? There are many suggestions in baaoth the general and scholarly press; a brief, well-researched and finely written piece on successfully reducing the harm of social media overall is here on HelpGuide; and, as a general rule, we would suggest mindfully examining – and carefully curating – all news and media consumption as the best way to start feeling better.

As noted earlier, mornings are particularly important as we look for ways to enhance our entire day. Just as a healthy breakfast helps the body to jump start its metabolism and give it the fuel it needs to function well, the other morning “meal” can boost our moods – significantly. As a powerful menu, we recommend creating a routine (based on evidence) that includes all, or at least some, of these good mood “foods” from the suggestions below.

  • Read or listen to something positive, uplifting or inspiring before you browse the headlines or posts
    • Scripture or sacred literature
    • Music such as classical, jazz or anything upbeat (but not too stimulating, even if its pleasurable, for this morning routine)
    • Affirmation books
    • Positive Stories (see below)
  • Take a morning walk outside – it combines two important, natural mood boosters: nature, which scientists now refer to as Green Time, and physical activity, which increases your “feel good hormones” (including seratonin and dopamine – proven to improve even the worst of depressions)
    • If it’s a sunny morning, then you also receive the added benefit of some extra Vitamin D, long known to enhance both mood and bodily function
  • If you must reach for a screen, try watching pleasant videos that make you feel better about yourself and the world, or that “take you somewhere” (particularly if it is in the natural environment; studies indicating even looking at pictures or videos of forests, oceans, etc. have a calming, positive effect on the body and mind)
    • Or perusing beautiful photography on Instagram orTwitter
    • Cute animal pictures are a popular favorite (and, again, backed up by science) in improving our feelings and mood
  • Spend a few moments in quiet and stillness. This could be a formal meditation practice, such as following the breath or paying close attention to your thoughts, feelings and environment. Or, it could be as simple as just noticing the sounds of the morning.
    • Even “formal” meditation can be made quite easy and simple. No need to sit in the lotus position or have candles and new-age music. Literally, just sitting can make a profound, positive difference on your entire day.
    • If this is difficult for you, if it makes you anxious or your mind won’t stop nagging at you, try listening to a guided meditation. There is a vast variety of different types and styles, from breath work to visualization and repeating positive affirmations. Try what works for you – including the speaker’s voice. If you don’t like the speaker’s voice or the background music, don’t give up on this worthwhile practice. Try another one.
    • One of the best DVDs on the market is Rest & Relax; it was developed by Dr. Stuart McCalley and, though “an oldie,” it remains the most used and recommended recording to learn relaxation and stress management techniques. (The visuals and narrator’s voice are so soothing, in fact, that many find they enjoy continuing to use it, despite not needing the instruction anymore.) You can sample it free at StressStop and is available for purchase there and many others retailers.
    • There is also a plethora of apps in both Apple and Google app stores. Some will teach, some help with monitoring and journaling, while others just help you time the experience and/or provide background music. Some of the This American Quarantine’s favorites are:
      • Meditation Time (a beautiful timer, with soft bells or gongs to guide you; can have music or effects or silence)
      • Meditation & Relaxation Music (an app that provides beautiful meditation music or soothing nature sounds for you in the background; timer and sleep function built-in).
      • Unplug (produced by the renowned meditation center in Los Angeles of the same name) has many free recordings and online formal classes to help you learn and continue your meditation practice.
    • Positive affirmations, or mantras, are also a great way to start the day. Again, there are a multitude of different apps; we recommend these because they are of a higher quality and also can be personalized to your liking/needs.
    • Thankful is another wonderful app that focuses on harnessing the power of gratitude.
    • Daily Quote not only provides an army of positive quotations to boost your day, but allows you to set up messaging and push notifications to remind you throughout the day.

What Morning Mood Boosters Will You Chose?

Let us know; we’d love to hear from you. Also, we may feature you in an upcoming blog post or podcast episode.

Email: info@thisAMquarantine.org
Twitter: @amquarantine
Instagram: @411vs911

~ By: Staff

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