Waking up early to start your day isn’t always easy but it can help prepare you mentally and physically for everything that awaits you at the office.

Starting your morning on a positive note can set the tone for success throughout the day. Here are four ways to make sure every morning starts off right:

1. Take deep breaths
When we are stressed, we tend to breathe from the chest, which is a defense mechanism, says Gary Jasmin, personal trainer and owner of Prescriptive Fitness in Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec.

Deep, diaphragmatic breathing (breathing from your belly) is a more natural way of breathing, which helps calm your nervous system.

To try engage in deep breathing, start by breathing in for two seconds and then breathe out for two seconds. Do that five times. Then, do it again but extend each breath to three seconds. Do that another five times. Continue this pattern and you will feel your body relax.

2. Stretch
Engage in “chi” movements, Jasmin says, which are primal movement patterns that the human body performs naturally during the day.

These basic movements include pushing, pulling, lunging, squatting, bending and twisting. The key is to make these movements slowly and to engage your core muscles while performing them.

“Once your core is all fired up,” Jasmin says, “you’re actually more functional.”

3. Have a hearty breakfast
A nutritious breakfast will energize your body and your mind before you arrive at the office. An energizing breakfast should include fat, protein and complex carbohydrates.

One option is a warm whole-grain cereal, such as oatmeal or porridge, says Jayda Siggers, a nutrition consultant and owner of Eat Whole, Be Vital in Ottawa.

The cereal will provide you with those complex carbs, protein and fibre. You can dress it up with some fruit, yogurt, hemp seeds or even a dash of maple syrup for some sweetness.

  • Are you always on the go? Then a smoothie for the road might work out better. To make sure you get those essential nutrients, try mixing a combination of the following in a blender:
  • black beans, chick peas or quinoa;
  • berries;
  • leafy greens, such as spinach or kale.

Siggers uses leftover cooked black beans, spinach, berries, coconut and water in her own smoothies.

Whether you’re having some cereal or mixing a smoothie, desiccated coconut is a must-add, thanks to its medium-chain fatty acids, which are converted into ketones once metabolized in the body.

And that is a good thing: “Our brain can use ketone bodies as a source of energy,” Siggers says. “It’s an alternative way to fuel the brain and it’s also really good for heart health.”

4. Think positive thoughts
Simon Reilly, the Parksville, B.C.-based founder of Leading Advisor, believes advisors should keep a “gratitude journal.”

Start your day by looking over your list of things for which you are thankful. This list could include your personal and professional relationships as well as your accomplishments.

Giving thanks for what you did yesterday sets the stage to continue your progress today.

Feeling this gratitude means you are starting your day “right-minded,” Reilly says, which is “the most essential thing you can do.”

This is the second instalment in a three-part series on starting the new year on a positive note.

Next: Four “must dos” for success in 2014