Mornings can be a hectic time when you have a busy household, lots of moving parts, a long commute and a busy day ahead. From the time you wake up to the time you lock the front door provides a valuable window that can help set the stage for success – or if mishandled, lead to stress.

While it might seem like common sense, doesn’t always appear to be all that common in most of our mornings. Here are four essential areas to focus on to kick off a positive and productive day.

Eat a Good, Hearty Breakfast

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and with good reason too. Eating breakfast was associated with a lower incidence of heart disease in men between the ages of 45 and 82 as well as to improve cognitive function related to memory.

Try incorporating bananas, strawberries, grapefruit, scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, granola, muesli, ground flaxseeds and whole-wheat toast into your morning routine. (Check out: What 11 successful people eat for breakfast) 

Meditate + Be Grateful  

Close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes, whether it’s listening to soothing music and visualizing your day, reflecting over coffee, in between the commercials during SportsCentre – take time and focus on your breathing and concentrate on what you’ll accomplish today, rather than what you have sitting on your to-do list. 

Tim Ferriss suggests taking it one step further and writing down what you’re grateful for.

“The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention, for me at least, because I am that person. Ferriss goes on to explain that doing this exercise for five minutes every morning allows him to be a happier and more content person.

Shower + Dress Well  

Showering puts us in a Zen-like state with the soothing warm water distracting us from everything around us. It has been proven that showers will release dopamine, and boost creativity when our minds are put at ease.

And when you take it one step further – how we dress has a huge effect on how people see us. Dressing well helps communicate the image you want to project – not to mention gives a surge in self-confidence.

“Studies have shown that people speak differently when they’re dressed up compared to when they’re dressed casually.” – Entrepreneur

Plan the Night Before

A lot of the stress accumulated every morning is caused by a lack of preparation the night before. People running around scrambling to get themselves together, what to eat, what to wear, hustling to get the kids ready for their days – when all of this can be rectified by creating a game plan the night before.

Mornings help set the stage for the day – and it’s easy to let a bad start manifest itself and morph into a negative undertone for the rest of the day. Get it right the first time.