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Feel Your Way Awake: 4 Sensory Experiences for All-Day Focus

A good morning helps ensure a good day ahead. Here's how to wake up with a smile.

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You know what’s a surefire way to start off your day on the wrong foot? Being woken from sleep by a blaring alarm clock, beeping or playing static between the radio stations. And once you’ve fumbled through all that noise and irritably hit snooze, it’s pretty safe to say that any sense of forward motion and positivity for the day is lost. There are better ways to wake up.

Starting your day with positive sensory cues, from the smell of coffee to lighting that syncs with your circadian rhythms can shift your mornings from stressful to successful. Consider adopting some of these morning routines to move you from bed to boardroom with ease.

Upgrade Your Alarm

One of the easiest ways to improve your morning is by ditching that old radio alarm or the presets on your phone and investing in a high quality, experience-driven alarm. There are several on the market today that tap into our natural waking inclinations to help make mornings more pleasant.

Have you ever noticed that when you have the opportunity to sleep in, the sun will slowly wake you up? The Aura alarm clock by Withings taps into that process and, in the morning, projects blue daytime light to wake you up. It can also help you ease into sleep using a sunset progression at night.

For those who can easily sleep past noon but will rise at the first smell of coffee, the Sensorwake olfactory alarm could be a better option. The Sensorwake alarm uses dry air diffusion to emit scents such as espresso, seaside, and peppermint into your room, gently rousing you. You may not realize it, but the olfactory system is very powerful and can trigger a level of motivation to get out of bed that your traditional alarm just can’t manage.

Wake Up Your Body

Just because you’re up, dressed, and know what time it is doesn’t mean you’re really awake – your body may be dragging behind. One of the best ways to wake it up, then, is to stimulate your muscles with a morning yoga practice to get centered and ready for the day.

You don’t need to be super-flexible to benefit from yoga, despite what so many popular magazines may lead you to believe. A great morning practice can be nothing more than a simple Sun Salutation or some Pranayama breathing to help you focus before you head to work.

A Moment Of Beauty

During the workday, we’re constantly inundated by visual stimuli, from emails to website popups to coworkers milling by our door. This can be overwhelming and make it hard to focus, especially if you haven’t had time to lock your mind in on some more peaceful images. Well, in some cities today, you can do just that – before you even need to clock in.

The MoMA in New York City offers a monthly morning slot in which visitors can drop in before work, silently visit a few galleries and then join in a group meditation in the Sculpture Garden before launching into the day. Look for a similar program near you or do something similar on your own, even if it just means spending some time strolling through a local park and meditating on the monuments or flower beds.

Maintain The Sensation

It’s all well and good to get yourself into a focused, workday mindset before you get to the office, but how do you maintain that sense of focus once you arrive? One of the best options is to maintain olfactory stimulation throughout the day, filling your office with focus and mood enhancing scents.

Whether or not you’re a coffee drinker, the scent of coffee is ideal for waking up the brain. Studies show that just breathing it in can reduce feelings of sleep deprivation and minimize stress. And on days you have an anxiety-inducing presentation or big meeting, consider infusing your office with lemon essential oils. The scent of lemon is calming and clarifying, helping to ground you while also strengthening your immune system, making it perfect for germy offices in the winter months.

Some
days will always be tougher than others from the second you step out of bed –
or sleep through your alarm – but you can shift your mood if you try. From
scents to sights to simple stimulation, your senses are the starting point for
emotional enhancement and increased focus.

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