We all do it – we wake up and the very first thing we do is pick up our cellphone. We scroll through pictures posted the day before, read our new messages and bombard our brains with to-dos. Whenever you swipe through Tik-Toks or look at Snapchats of people you know from the night before, you’re casting a dark cloud over the rest of your day whether you realize it or not. Not only will your mental health improve, but your well-being as a person will become better if you stop checking your phone every single morning.
Immediately looking at electronics when you wake up exposes you to stimuli that can leave you feeling stressed and anxious – even if you don’t realize it. All of your attention is being put towards things other than yourself, preventing a calm start to your day. There was a recent study at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden showing that “high mobile phone use was directly correlated to increased reports of depression” in adults.
Beyond increasing stress levels, checking your phone in the morning forces you to react to other people’s agenda, rather than focusing on your own. Five minutes scrolling through Instagram suddenly becomes thirty minutes, and then you’re rushing just to get out the door. Your thinking becomes polluted within the click of a button (literally.)
Finally, looking at electronics before you’re fully awake interferes with your attention span for the entirety of the day. You get distracted much quicker and are more likely to spend even more time on your phone – even though you may not realize it. When checking social media, the brain realizes dopamine, which our bodies crave. Waking up and immediately going to your phone causes your brain to stimulate you to repeat this behavior throughout the rest of the day as you’re craving more dopamine.
Although it seems like a difficult habit to overcome, there are so many other things that you can do when you first wake up to set the tone for a productive and healthy day. One of the easiest things to do is make breakfast – whether it be a smorgasbord of food or just some fruit, you’ll start your morning off on the right foot. Meditation and breathing exercises can also set you up for a focused and peaceful day. One of the things that has helped me most is writing in a journal. In the morning, instead of checking social media, write down positive affirmations, to-do lists or just random things you can think of. Clearing your mind and allowing time to yourself guarantees you a more positive day ahead.
Below are links to easy, balanced breakfast ideas and a morning mediation guide – just to give you a head start.