1. Get a good night’s sleep.  A good night’s sleep helps you to go in to work energized, focused and ready to take on the day.  Lack of sleep decreases your ability to concentrate, interferes with executive brain function that helps you to make good decisions and can leave you feeling fatigued and frazzled for the rest of the day.
  2. Make lists.   If you anticipate a busy day ahead of you with a lot to accomplish, then make a realistic list of the most important things to be done that day.  This allows you to stay focused thus limiting frustration.  It also allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day
  3. Resist the temptation to skip breakfast.  You would not expect your car to run on an empty tank, so do not expect your brain to function optimally if it is dehydrated and lacks fuel.
  4. Start the day with an optimistic thought that you believe. If you have difficulty finding an optimistic thought, start with things in your life with gratitude.  Each morning, list 3-5 things in your life that evoke a sense of gratitude-  your car that gets you to work daily, comfortable bed to sleep in, good friends, etc.  Nothing is too small or too big.  If something makes you smile list it.   Research has shown thatwe can improve our stress and anxiety levels by identifying thoughts that cause us anxiety and replacing them with positive thoughts that we believe more.
  5. Avoid the morning frantic energy by preparing the night before.  For example, I can spend a good 15 minutes looking for my keys.  That then builds into frustration and angst because now I am going to be late, the traffic is going to be horrendous, etc.  Now, if I put my keys in a specific spot, disaster averted.    Now you can creative with this strategy.  Other things to consider, pack lunches the night before, pick out the clothes you are going to wear, etc.
  6. Finally, creating some time in the morning may allow that 10-20 minute period to set the tone for the rest of your day.   You may chose meditation for its ability to create a sense of well-being and calm that you can take with you for the rest of the day, not to mention some of health benefits suggested by research such as, helping with anxiety, blood pressure and fatigue.  You may choose to use this time to visualize the way that you want the day to go.  While there is no guarantee that your day will turn out perfectly, athletes have been using this method to enhance their performance for a long time.  One study separated people into three groups.  First, was asked to visualize putting golf ball into hole, the other was asked to visualize missing the put and the final group was not asked to visualize at all.  So which group did the best? You guessed it, the hole in one visualizing group.  Which group did the worse?  Right again- the group that pictured missing the put.  Finally, you can use this time to get moving-exercise.  Not an all or none phenomena, but rather a do what you can strategy.  Exercise has been shown to enhance moods, improve memory, decrease anxiety and may help us to think more clearly.

Here’s to having a low stress day!