“I don’t want to get up…” “I’m tired…” We hear it every morning and probably agree but the day has to begin so rise and shine and help infuse a positive attitude before you pour that bowl of cereal for breakfast. Research shows setting a positive mood is possible and something we can teach ourselves and children.
The benefits of a positive mood are numerous; from approaching problems with a “Can Do” attitude and greater consideration for others to embracing compromise for the betterment of the group, a positive mood gives us emotional stamina to be productive each day. And though there are many proven strategies we find one particularly beneficial as it is good for our body and minds. Exercise!
John J. Ratey, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain shares that we evolved to move, and the health of our brains—and the moods our brains experience—rely on physical activity to stay healthy.
Most of us feel like we are mentally running around before we even tie our shoes in the morning so let’s start with focusing on the first steps the minute you get out of bed and wake up your kids. Yes, Rise and Shine:
1. Wiggle your hands, circle your feet, and point your toes: this is a great snuggle-to-stretch exercise as you are still warm in bed. Hop in and snuggle and stretch if there is room. First, reach for the headboard while pointing your toes to the foot of the bed; second, wiggle your fingers and toes then move in a clockwise position then a counterclockwise position (count the number of hours on a clock and then count backwards); third, squeeze your knees to your chest and press your chin to your chest like a cocoon.
2. Rise out of bed like a butterfly or bat: slowly come out of your cocoon and stand up. Reach your arms as wide open as they can go then place your feet wider than your hips. Stretch hand to opposite foot and count to ten. Repeat on the other side.
3. Stretch up and get ready: bring legs together then relax over and try and touch your toes. Slowly come up, give a hug to start the day, get dressed and off you go to breakfast.
The exercise allows you to wake up every part of your body and mind, and engage each other with a positive feeling of being together. Now you’ve already accomplished something great; talking, stretching, and planning your day together even if you might spend some time apart will help send your child into the world confident and ready to learn and participate with others. The exercise is about five minutes – which we all have so practice giving yourself this moment …it will come back to you in so many ways.