It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of everyday life — juggling a full-time job, maybe a side hustle too, and maintaining a love life (whether you’ve found the one or are still on the hunt) — and more often than not, we forget to take time to focus on self-care. But there are ways to stay present and hopefully also help you succeed in the fast-paced, high-stress world we live in. Because life is too short to miss a thing. And because you deserve to live your best life. Spending a few minutes each morning intentionally grounding your body and mind can help prepare you for what challenges lay ahead. Here are five simple practices to try every day.

1. Let in natural light. Start the day by opening your blinds as wide as possible and letting the sunshine in. Soaking up all-natural vitamin D in sunlight form is the quickest way to trigger the release of brain-happy neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, the two chemical ingredients responsible for motivation, attention, and overall mood. Additionally, waking up with natural light will jumpstart your inner biological clock (AKA your circadian rhythm), and doing this daily will make it easier to wake up naturally — even if you’re not a morning person (and who is, really?).

2. Close your eyes and breathe. Mindfulness is the practice of staying present and letting go of unnecessary thoughts. Beginning the day with meditation can cause you to feel both energized and simultaneously more calm. Starting a simple mindfulness practice is easy — we recommend downloading a meditation app like Aura (available on iOS or Android), that feature three-minute guided meditations and a gratitude journal, along with other mindfulness features.

3. Affirm and validate: We experience sooo many emotions every day and we’re constantly (and often subconsciously) coping in one way or another. Often we deflect our emotions or internalize negative feelings in order to stay focused, rather than fully acknowledging and processing them. Psychologists refer to this phenom as “invalidation” and assert that accepting rather than rejecting these emotions can actually lead to improved feelings of positivity. Every emotional feeling has significance and understanding what triggers it can be the key to working through it. Take some time to feel your emotions and identify them.

4. Eat your breakfast. You can’t go wrong when you treat your body with respect and give it nourishment. We begin each day in fasting mode and, according to Harvard research, eating breakfast can decrease stress and lowers the overall risk of a heart attack. Before you rush out the door, get your hearty brekkie on.

5. Create your own ritual. When you begin focusing your attention on your morning routine and integrating mindfulness, it will become easier to identify the practices that bring you happiness. By unleashing your creativity, venturing outside your comfort zone and integrating meditation, you’re sure to find a groove that’s right for you.

What are your most useful morning practices? Share with us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Brit + Co and Getty)