6 December 2022

Daylight Savings Got You Rattled? Lower Your Stress With This Simple Morning Hack


Your alarm goes off earlier than you’d like, you may have kids to feed and water and you just found out your train has been cancelled. All this results in one thing: stress. But, while stress could be seen as inevitable, there is one thing you can do to both increase your tolerance and decrease your stress levels at the same time.


The answer is simple; a morning routine.

We’ve previously discussed the importance a morning stretching routine can have on your gains, but what about your mood?

You may already have one, and if you do, then you may already be aware of the benefits it has bestowed upon you. But for those who don’t have a solid morning routine, or have one that could use some tweaking, then Dr Rangan Chatterjee has some advice for you.

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The British physician, author, television presenter and podcaster has previously spoken to Stephen Bartlett for his Diary of a CEO podcast, about the importance of morning routines. Stephen questions Dr Chatterjee about his “3 M’s of morning routines,” asking what they are and what one can do to improve their own morning routine.

WATCH: Dr Rangan Chatterjee explains the importance of morning routines to Stephen Bartlett

He explains how stress and morning routines go together in harmony by providing his concept of “micro stress doses and stress thresholds.” He says each of us have our own personal stress threshold, which is dictated by “how you deal with things and what’s going on.”

“When we get to that threshold, that’s when things start to go wrong.”

Circling back to his micro stress dose concept, Dr Chatterjee explains that when we wake up in the morning from a good night’s sleep, we are “far removed from our stress threshold.”

So, when we’re jolted out of bed when our alarm goes off, “that’s micro stress dose number one.” If we then snooze our alarm, only for it to go off again 5 minutes later, “that’s micro stress dose number 2.” Next, we might check our emails, “‘oh man there are these three emails I forgot to get back to yesterday’, that’s MSD number three.”

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He continues by giving examples of little things that likely happen in the morning for the majority of us and says, “each one of these micro stress doses slowly moves us closer and closer to our stress threshold.”

“The mistake we make, is that by 3 o’clock in the afternoon, when that email from your colleague frustrates you, you think it was that email. But it wasn’t that email, it was the fact you’ve already acquired 20 micro stress doses, you’re right at your threshold, you’ve got no capacity to deal with, so that email bothers you.”

How can morning routines help?

How Dr Chatterjee says we can minimise the chance of reaching our threshold, or increasing it and building our resilience is to take up a morning routine.

“They can reduce how many micro stress doses you’re exposed to, so you’re going into your day with much more headroom, more resilience.”

“For me, I know, if I do that morning routine is feeds the control leg of the core happiness stool. But it also means I’m not exposing myself to micro stress doses, or I’m even going into the negative to myself even more headroom.”

“For me a complete morning routine has these 3 M’s: mindfulness, movement, mindset.”

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“Currently my morning routine is 30 minutes, but that’s what I’ve found works for me. I’ve found if I don’t get that time to myself, I’m not as good a dad or a husband.”

Image: Jeremy Doddrige/Unsplash

“Mindfulness, is a practice of breath work and meditation. Then I go to the kitchen and put my coffee on, and it’s very specific. I put a timer on for 5-minutes. In those 5-minutes, I don’t go on Instagram, I don’t check emails, but instead I do a workout in the kitchen in my pyjamas. And then I get the reward of a fresh coffee.”

“I’ll then read something positive for 10-minutes.”

But what should we do if unexpected obstacles come and disrupt our morning routine? Dr Rangan says he no longer sees them as problems. Using the example of his daughter waking up too and wanting to sit with him, he says a few years ago he would have become frustrated.

But now, “I don’t need to look at it as a problem. This is life, if we think life is going to be great when everything goes our way, we’re going to be waiting a long time.”

So, that’s mindfulness and movement taken care of, what about mindset?

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Dr Rangan encourages the use of affirmations. He claims there is plenty of research to suggest the benefits of affirmations – something Chris Hemsworth has promoted too – adding, “how you program your mind, matters.”

Dr Rangan continues by talking about a patient of his who had bad acne and claimed they didn’t have time to strike up a morning routine. But even with just a short 5-minute practice each morning, dedicating a couple of minutes to each of the 3 M’s, his patient found their acne cleared up and their overall mood improved.

You can watch and listen to Dr Rangan’s entire segment on the importance of morning routines on YouTube.

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