Waking up and immediately starting to stew about impending deadlines/ that meeting with the big wigs/ your never-ending to-do list is an all too common experience for many of us.
But it’s time to halt that habit – a new study has found that spending the morning focusing on how much you have on your plate can reduce your brain function throughout the day.
Yep, waking up on the wrong side of bed is an actual thing.
The study – published in The Journals of Gerontology – recruited 240 diverse adults who were tasked with responding to questions via a smartphone app seven times a day. In the morning they were asked about whether they were anticipating a stressful day, throughout the day they were queried about their current stress levels, and at night they were asked whether they expected the next day to be stressful. The participants also completed a working memory task five times a day.
Researchers discovered that the more a participant anticipated stress in the morning, the worse their working memory was later in the day, whether or not their day was actually stressful.
"Humans can think about and anticipate things before they happen, which can help us prepare for and even prevent certain events," lead author Jinshil Hyun said. "But this study suggests that this ability can also be harmful to your daily memory function, independent of whether the stressful events actually happen or not."
This reduced working memory can have a significant impact on your focus, productivity, reasoning and decision making, which will probably make you even more stressed. But the researchers say that taking some time in the morning to practice mindfulness and promote positivity can do wonders.
"When you wake up in the morning with a certain outlook for the day, in some sense the die is already cast," co author Martin Sliwinski said. "If you wake up and feel like the day is going to be stressful, maybe your phone can remind you to do some deep breathing relaxation before you start your day.”