9 quick science-approved things you can do to make your mornings better.

Mornings are tough...

Whether you're one of those mythical "morning people" who actually set their alarm as early as possible just to, I don't know, listen to birds or whatever, or if you're one of my fellow not-morning people whose a.m. routines involve marathon-smashing the snooze button before finally dragging yourself out of bed to sloppily make a pot of coffee and stare at the mirror, wondering if today is the day you finally give up on being an adult and run off for life as a house cat—


—well, they're tough.

Did you know there are a few science-approved things you can do to make your mornings less of a drag?

These nine simple tips only take a few minutes to complete and could mean never spending another morning falling asleep in the shower:

1. Take a few minutes to actually make your bed.

If you're not already a bed-maker, it probably seems like a huge waste of time. Why straighten sheets and fluff pillows that you're just going to mess up again anyway?

Honestly, the pattern on that pillow is stressing me out more than anything. Photo via iStock.

It turns out, making your bed correlates with being happier and even more successful. According to a survey of 68,000 people, 71% of bed-makers consider themselves happy, while 62% of non-bed-makers said they were unhappy.

Now, it's impossible to know if bed-making really makes people happy or if happy people just tend to make their beds more. However, we do know that clutter tends to beget stress. If your bed looks less cluttered, it's possible that it could lower your stress levels.

Not to mention, making your bed probably only takes about three minutes and gives you an easy morning win to check off your to-do list. Which means you're starting your day more relaxed, you've already done something productive, and you're ready to go out into the world and continue being productive.

2. Tidy up. Even a little bit.

Along the same lines as bed-making, if there are a million dishes in your sink from the day(s) before, that clutter is probably creating subtle stressors in your brain.

Also, unclog your sink. Seriously. Photo via iStock.

If you can find a minute in the morning, do some of the dishes. Or clean up some living room clutter. Maybe sweep out a single room or take out the trash. Reducing clutter and completing a task (no matter how small) will give you a nice sense of satisfaction to kick-start your day.

3. Drink a glass of lemon water.

Don't worry, you don't need to replace your vanilla soy latte or go on a questionably effective cleanse to make this work for you in the morning. Before you leave the house in a beeline for the closest Starbucks, drink a 16-ounce glass of water with a little bit of lemon juice in it.

Plus you'll get SO MANY Instagram likes. Photo via iStock.

I know it sounds kind of hokey, but lemon water is pretty amazing and a perfectly simple way to brighten your morning routine. According to The Huffington Post, the benefits of lemon water include but are not limited to: hydration, a nice dose of vitamin C, freshening your breath (by killing bacteria), clearing your skin, and helping with aches and pains by reducing uric acid in the joints.

Lemon water won't compliment your shirt or walk the dog for you, though, so while it can be a nice addition to your morning, it's not going to solve all your problems.

4. Raise the blinds and let the sunlight in.

Yes, I know. Its early in the morning and the world probably isn't ready to see you yet. But raising the blinds lets in some natural light, and there are a lot of benefits to that.

"There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day — particularly in the morning — is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism," Dr. Phyllis Zee, a neurology professor at Northwestern University, told WebMD.

Not recommended: sleeping with lipstick on. Photo via iStock.

Natural light also helps your brain sync up to the Earth's natural rotation, which can have major health benefits. According to one study, people with more exposure to natural light slept longer and better at night. They also got more exercise and reported a better quality of life.

So at the risk of shrieking in horror at the sunlight and your neighbors shrieking in horror at your bedhead, open up the blinds and let the light in. The benefits outweigh the risks.

Even if you don't have any windows to open, you can get an alarm clock that lights up with the sunrise.

5. Eat something high in fiber and grains.

While it can be tempting to start every day with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, starting your day with a heavy, greasy breakfast can slow you down a lot.

Just try not to spill your berries all over the F***ING DECK, DAVID.

Having a lighter breakfast instead can have a ripple effect that boosts your entire day. Try a bowl of berries or something else high in fiber and grains. If you give your body some heavy-duty nutrients in the morning, you'll feel more awake and your body will totally thank you later.

6. Meditate.

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, increase creativity, and even reduce blood pressure. Also like a million other things.

Meditate and have a ball! (I know. I'm sorry.) Photo via iStock.

Meditation is easy: Just breathe, focus on the sound of your breath, and sit still quietly. You don't have to do it all day, either. Meditating for three to five minutes in the morning is a perfect way to start your day with a stress-free, take-on-the-world attitude. There are even great apps you can use that help you meditate quickly on the go — what better way to spend a long commute than with a little mental R&R? Just don't do it if you're driving, obviously.

7. Text something nice to someone.

I know, it sounds silly, but seriously. Try it.

Sending someone positive thoughts or words of encouragement is a quick and easy way to make yourself feel happy. Being kind is a great way to live a happier life, and mornings are when we could all use a little pick-me-up.

"Hey Brian! Hope you're doing well. Thanks for buying me this giant sweater." Photo via iStock.

It's mutually beneficial. Not only will it make your morning brighter and make you happier, but you'll probably be helping someone else get their morning off to a great start too.

(Also this is way better than drunk texting. Much less regret and significantly fewer awkward connections with your ex).

8. Set aside a few minutes to read.

The benefits of reading are innumerable and well-known, ranging from improving your vocabulary to promoting creativity and memory. Starting your day with a little bit of reading gets you those benefits first thing in the morning.

Reading stimulates your brain, which wakes you up. Not to mention it also helps take your mind off of the stressors of the upcoming day so you can go into it feeling relaxed and prepared.

This guy looks all business. But he's actually reading Garfield. Photo via iStock.

Whether you're reading a chapter of your favorite book, the newspaper, or even an entry from your favorite blog, reading in the morning is good for you. Reading at any time is good. Reading is good. End of statement.

9. Stretch it out.

Don't stretch out your morning, you'll be late to work — but stretching your body before you head to the office is a great, easy way to get ready to face the day.

Stretching promotes flexibility, blood flow, and posture, and it can help you recover from injuries. It also has many mental benefits, including stress reduction and calming the mind.

This can be a few quick stretches before running out the door or a full-on yoga session with Becky.

She's probably a Becky, right? Photo via iStock.

Either way, stretching in the morning is a great way to be physically and mentally prepared for the uphill battle that is the rest of your day.

A better morning is completely up to you.

Some of you may choose to keep rolling out of bed with 10 minutes to spare before you run out the door, but taking even a few moments to try some of the things on this list can have a huge impact on the rest of your day.

Mornings set the precedent for the entire day, and (as time is linear) entire days are what make up your entire life. So even if you can only fit one of these good habits into your morning routine, I encourage you to try it out. It could make your whole day, and maybe even your whole world, just a little bit brighter.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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