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60% of people look at their phone within 15 minutes of waking up. That’s according to a Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer survey. And the other 40% check their phone within 5 minutes of waking – or less, like the 18% who say they look at their phone immediately. But The Stress Institute in Atlanta says, when we do that, we switch from the peaceful state of sleeping, to stressed-out, in an instant. Things like work emails, texts, depressing news stories, and social media updates startle the brain, sending it into panic mode, and triggering the release of stress hormones. Dr. Kathleen Hall founded The Stress Institute and she says, just seeing what’s on your phone puts your body on alert, and triggers a flood of adrenaline and cortisol. That roots your day in stress chemicals.

So what’s the smart move? Dr. Hall recommends starting your day with a phone-free walk. Even if it’s just in your neighborhood, while you’re walking the dog. We already know that spending time in nature helps us become more calm and grounded. And a relaxed walk enhances those benefits, by boosting circulation and metabolism, loosening tight muscles, and releasing tension. And that sets the tone for a calmer day.

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