My Morning Mood Booster Protocol
We all look for ways of feeling great and getting more done. We all want a certain level of success and in order to progress, it’s important to become more efficient. I felt as though if I could get a solid “morning mood booster” practice to boost my mood when I woke up, I would be off to a great start in the efficiency category.
This led me to my decision to try out the fabled “morning routine”. I knew that when I felt great, my ability to succeed and be happy improved.
I looked to my roots in health and fitness to help, did some research, came up with a plan and tested it out. After months of fiddling around, I came up with a morning routine that works. It involves,
After months of fiddling around, I came up with a morning routine that works. It involves,
- Drinking Water
- Cardiovascular Exercise
- Cold Plunging
Drinking water and doing exercise were a bit easier for me, where as the cold plunge was a massive challenge initially. Over time it has become manageable and I will show you what worked for me.
First, let’s look at drinking water.
Drinking Water – 12 – 16 0z
This is one of the most overlooked practices available that can act as a morning mood booster and help us with different mood-related symptoms throughout the day.
There was a study completed out of the University of California that explains some of the benefits of drinking water. A group of people were divided into two group based on the amount of water that they normally drank throughout the day. Group one was made up of those who tended to drink small total volumes of water throughout the day. Group two included those who tended to drink large total volumes of water throughout the day. During testing, group one was told to drink more water and group two was told to drink less water.
As group one increased their daily water consumption, they had a significant decrease in their sleepiness, confusion, fatigue, and thirst (mental fog). On the flip side, group two eventually noticed a decrease in positive emotions, contentedness, and calmness.
When we go to sleep at night we start to lose water. We are constantly becoming more and more dehydrated through respiration during night. This is part of what accounts for our weight loss over night. We then wake up in the morning, jump on the scale and notice that we have lost a couple of pounds. We want to resupply this water loss to prevent the mental fog we get from deep sleep and dehydration. This is where drinking water first thing in the morning becomes very beneficial.
There are many recommendations calling for 16 oz of water. I myself drink as much as feels comfortable. This usually ends up being around 12 oz. This will be dependant on all sorts of factors from your size to whether you went out and got drunk the night before = ). Make this simple. Drink a bunch. Notice if you feel more awake. If you were in a grumpy mood, notice if those feelings slowly dissipate.
I use this to ensure that I am focused when I first wake up. I need to get moving quickly so that I can get to the gym before work starts. If I have massive amounts of mental fog, which does happen, then I usually get jumbled and don’t pay full attention to what needs to get done that morning. When I consume water, I personally notice my morning fogginess will disappear first. If I do happen to be in a crappy mood, water helps me relax and start my day off right. It gets me through just enough in order to go through with the other two parts of my morning routine.
Cardiovascular Exercise – 30 Minutes Every Day
This is your bread and butter. Consistent amounts of cardiovascular exercise every day have been proven over and over to relieve depression, give you an endorphin high and give you a general sense of well-being. This is exactly the type of thing that someone searching for a morning mood booster should applying every day.
Our body is designed to work, to move and to be stressed. When we don’t exercise we can build up anxiety and stress. This is why it is so important to get back to our biological roots which is to get outside and move around. Physical stress is good for our body! It allows us to adapt, grow, and to get better.
Take this from a muscular perspective. If we work out, we slowly grow stronger so that we can lift more the following week. What happens when we don’t lift weights. We slowly lose muscle mass, break down and get injured. Now considering we are not just a bag of muscle and bones designed to grow and shrink in size, it is plausible that the rest of our systems in the human body are designed the exact same way.
Now I know what some of the guys are thinking…. crap, I have to do cardio too? I know you want to get big and not lose your gains but yes, go find a way to do your cardio.
Am I on a treadmill?… rarely, but I make sure that most of my lifts are done in the form of HIIT (High-intensity interval training). I will lift weights for 30 – 45 minutes while taking very few breaks and making sure that I am constantly switching between upper and lower body.
If you want to feel great, do either 30 minutes on a piece of cardio equipment or use HIIT to get your heart rate up and BREATHE!!
Post workout I always feel super relaxed and ready to start my day. I’m sure part of this is due to the endorphin high I receive but part of it is also due to the fact that I actually accomplished something difficult in the morning. It gives me great feelings of self-fulfillment.
Cold Plunge/Cold Shower Therapy – 3 Minutes x 2
Now, let’s finish this thing off with my favorite practice that makes every man and woman shriek…. The cold plunge. This is surprisingly not as difficult as you would think once you have done it a few times. Luckily your body adapts to this process over time.
My favorite way of cold plunging is to go into the steam room for 3-4 minutes to heat up and then drink some water to rehydrate. When I feel good and ready I will head to the cold pool, go in all the way up to my chest and hang out for 2-3 minutes. This process will be repeated 2 times. I usually can’t help but laugh once I’m in the pool because I’m usually holding myself back from shrieking like a 5-year-old girl. I’m sure the life guards love hearing my screams. Regardless of that embarrassing fact, this is another amazing technique for boosting your mood.
Now you are probably saying wait a minute, I don’t have a cold pool to jump into. Try a cold shower. Again I would suggest starting with warm water and then slowly turn down the temperature until your brain starts freaking out. This is where I usually will start thinking to myself “Is this it? Is this all that a cold shower is supposed to be? It’s not that hard!”.
This forced self-talk helps me get over any desire to jump out or turn the heat up. Eventually, you will get to a point where the cold water doesn’t feel all that cold after 2-3 minutes. This is your end point. It’s actually quite nice to jump out of the shower for once and not feel air creating a cooling effect on your body. Instead, your will feel the warming effect of air on your body.
Remember, versions of hydrotherapy have been used for hundreds of years and are proved as being quite beneficial in terms of ability to boost your mood. Don’t knock it until you try it!
My experience in all of this has been quite interesting. Every day that I run through this protocol I usually end up having a relaxed, calm, productive day. This gives me an increased ability to enjoy my day, control my actions and emotions, and generally live life to its fullest. I would suggest this protocol to anyone. Start playing around with the techniques that work for you and go from there.
If you still don’t feel like you have the motivation that you are looking for read How to Motivate Yourself to Workout for a few more ideas after you have tried out this morning routine.