When you wake up in the morning do you wish you didn’t have to get out of bed, that you could just close your eyes and sleep because what’s in front of you is less than pleasant, like getting ready for work, commuting, working, going home, eating, falling back into bed, to sleep and wake up to the same grind again?

If so, it’s important that you establish some kind of morning ritual that grounds you in the real world, nature, an animal, fresh air. Try leaving sweats and tennis shoes right next to your bed and taking a quick, fast walk around your block before you do anything else, roll out, throw on the sweats and go, it’s fifteen minutes, or put a flower that has a scent, like a rose, in a vase in the room but away from the bed so you can stand up and put your nose into the alive aroma of nature, inhale deeply and exhale, thinking three positive thoughts to counteract the negative. Or make sure you have something you really like ready to eat and waiting for you in the kitchen so you’ll be inspired to get up and move to the kitchen or have your favorite coffee on automatic brew so it’s ready for you, pour a nice aromatic cup and sit anywhere but back in bed to drink it. Do something to create a sense of well being in your stressful life. It doesn’t have to be work that makes getting up less than fun, it can be getting the kids ready and off to school, it can be taking care of an ill loved one.

Americans work more hours with less vacation time than any other industrialized nation. Anxiety and depression are on the rise in this country. We can fight back by voting for change or working for change but that takes time. In the moment, right now, it’s very important for you, mentally and physically, to challenge yourself to give yourself a gift of something good, if only the beauty of a rose to open your eyes to and thinking three positive thoughts while inhaling and then noticing the perfect beauty of nature, the color, shape of the petals, etc. in order to counteract the stress of everyday life. Challenge stress by being good to yourself. A first gift in the morning will beat hitting the snooze alarm until you’re late and even more stressed out.