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Hoda Kotb’s Research-Backed Self-Care Routine Can Dramatically Improve Your Life

The co-host and co-anchor of “TODAY” talks to Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast about how she prioritizes her well-being, and shares her most valuable insights.

In Hoda Kotb’s household, which includes her partner Joel Schiffman and their 20-month-old daughter Haley Joy, “it’s lights out at 8 p.m,” she reveals to Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast, in partnership with iHeartRadio and Sleep Number. Haley goes down early, giving Kotb, the co-host, with Kathie Lee Gifford, of the fourth hour of “TODAY” on NBC, a little time with her long-time partner. “Poor Joel, he’s going to dinner at 5 p.m. again,” she says, referring to Schiffman’s last time around raising a baby (his first child is now a student in law school). With so much going on at work — Kotb is also the co-anchor of “TODAY” on NBC with Savannah Guthrie — she puts a lot of emphasis on self-care, and she has lots of valuable advice that you can implement in your own daily routine.

Take 10 minutes to yourself

Kotb takes the first 10 minutes of every morning for herself. “It nourishes me,” she says. Studies indicate that withdrawing into your own bubble to recharge benefits your creativity, and is associated with restfulness.

Similarly, Huffington tells Hotb that she takes as much time as she can — anywhere from five to thirty minutes — to meditate, a practice with proven health benefits, before checking her smartphone each morning.

Jot down your gratitude

Kotb uses that short, but purposeful span of time in the a.m. to write down what she’s thankful for. “In my journal, I’ll scribble three things I’m grateful about,” she says. A study in 2011 showed that Kotb’s morning ritual may be beneficial to all of us: After 10 weeks, participants who had written down what they were thankful for each week demonstrated higher levels of optimism and life-satisfaction than those who wrote down what displeased them. Kotb says she also jots down “something cool that happened the day before,” and finds an inspiring quote that matches her thoughts for the day. This daily habit, she tells Huffington, is an attempt to reset “the day in the morning… a real peaceful reset.”

Turn on the tunes

“I set my day, every day, [to] some great music,” Kotb tells Huffington. “I like a little Jack Johnson… a little James Taylor, just something that soothes me.” Feeling stressed about the day ahead? Kotb’s morning ritual may benefit you, too. A 2015 study showed that listening to music to relax can reduce stress.

Run it out

“If I’m stressed, I try to go on a run,” Kotb says. “I put on a country music playlist because nothing makes me happier than running in Central Park with country music blasting.” A jog may be just the thing to lower your stress levels.  A study published earlier this year in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory suggests the solitary exercise may alleviate the negative effects of chronic stress on the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, improving cognition.

Read something uplifting before going to sleep

“I try to fill the last couple of minutes before I close my eyes with something nourishing, whether it’s a book I keep on my bedside table, or something that I read that’s uplifting,” Kotb shares. This practice has been proven to reduce stress and encourage sleep. Research from the University of Sussex in collaboration with Mindlab International in 2009 showed that just six minutes of reading slowed down the heart rate and eased muscle tension, paving the way for a good night’s sleep. Kotb’s most recent read had some particularly uplifting lessons. She tells Huffington that it was a book about “people in their eighties living their best life and how they are doing it.”

Give thanks as soon as you wake

“When I open my eyes, every single morning, I’m happy, because I have a baby in the other room and I have a boyfriend next to me,” she says. “It’s just a feeling, like you open your eyes and you’re like: “Wait, I get her, and I get him?”

To find out more, listen to the full conversation on iHeartRadio, here. You can also listen to the Thrive Global podcast internationally for free on iTunes.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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