Do you struggle to wake up in the morning? Or does your sleepiness linger into the morning hours of your day leaving you feeling a bit brain foggy or a tad cranky?
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Follow these six good morning habits to own your day and clear the way!
What is a good morning routine? There are many morning routine ideas and examples on the internet. Some focus on mindset, others target fitness and weight loss, while others try to emulate what "successful" and wealthy people do. Yet, research shows that success and wealth are not necessarily related to happiness.
Our goal at the School of Happiness is to find resources and strategies that prioritize your mood and good vibes. The Six Morning Habits to Own Your Day is more of a bird's-eye view or blueprint that encompasses the major components of daily life that can have a positive impact on your overall happiness. Start your day with more spring in your step and a smile on your lips with these six simple proven habits and tips.
6 Morning Habits to Own Your Day Poster
We have prepared a visual cue to help you remember these 6 proven morning habits to starting your day on the right foot. You can set the infographic as your background image on your device, you can print and post the poster in your office, bedroom, kitchen to keep it close when in need.
Each of these morning habits may have subroutines of their own such as workout sequences or training program, mindset programming using techniques such as NLP, meditation and visualization. Perhaps you have access to a sauna, river, lake or spa to help you relax and chill out. Whatever the situation, we encourage you to identify those resources around you that can support you on your journey to design powerful and energizing mornings.
A Happy Mindset Is a Choice
We can stop a bad mood in its tracks and brighten our days by planning ahead. First, get clear on why it is important. Feeling happier and more energized will help you show up more alert and attentive for clients and colleagues or for friends and family members who rely on you. I know for sure when I have a bounce in my step, lightness in my heart and a smile on my face, the day flows with greater ease.
Some people naturally have a sunny disposition when they wake up, and others... not so much! I fall somewhere in between in those first minutes of waking up, yet I’ve learned that by practicing a few simple strategies I can get my energy elevated and inspiration flowing without the need for a second or third cup of coffee!
Make your mornings easier, healthier and happier with these six uplifting tips.
6 Morning Habits to Own Your Day
1. Start your day with a smile
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment.” Mindfulness teacher Thich Nhat Hanh taught us how peace, happiness and daily smiling impacts our well-being. A smile’s contagion is so potent, that we may even be able to catch one from ourselves. Smiling at yourself in the mirror not only triggers our own mirror neurons, but can also help us calm down and re-center if we’re feeling low or anxious. I’ve tried this many times when I catch myself overthinking. My mood lightens right away when I stop and smile.
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
Those neuropeptides your brain releases when you smile helps to reduce stress. Smiling can increase the release of endorphins and other mood-enhancing hormones. It can calm your heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress, contribute to a heightened sense of well-being, support good health and can even put others at ease. Science has shown that the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life.
So the next time you wake up a little cranky or catch yourself being too serious, break the pattern and use the gentle “smile asana”; allow the corners of your lips to turn upward. May your day flow with ease and grace.
2. Choose the channel in your mind
Did you know a mere 17 seconds of holding a positive thought in your mind and elevating the feeling of a thought will begin your transition from a negative state (feeling bad) toward an uplifted state (feeling good)? And full 68 seconds increases the power of the thought by activating new pathways in your brain.
Most people find it easier to hold on to a bad mood rather than to shift their mindset to more positive thinking. Yet, positive thinking is known to lead to a better mood.
What happens is with time and practice, your brain will form new neural pathways, which strengthen into healthier habits through repetition. Just like riding a bike, you get better at it with time and practice.
The practice of positively visualizing, feeling, and acting rewires our brain and helps us focus on what we do want versus what we do not want. Therefore, the more frequently you devote 68 seconds to the visualization of your dreams and desires, the faster you will notice a significant change in your mindset. You'll be more apt to notice, and act upon opportunities that support your desires and vision.
Since like attracts like, positive, aligned people will be drawn into your environment. The opposite is true too, so watch your inner narrative. Perhaps you have learned to recognize these moments and acquaintances where you feel energized and powerful versus those where you feel depleted. Stand guard at the gateway of your mind!
Today, ask yourself, does this thought make me feel good? If not, then drop it right there and change the channel to another way of thinking.
3. Start your day with intention - visualization
A successful, fulfilling day starts with intention. Take a few minutes at the start of day day to foresee how you would like it to unfold and how you’d like to feel. Although we cannot control outer circumstances, we can control our energy and attitude along with the tasks that will lead us in the direction of what we desire most. Get clear on your priorities of the day before other people impose their priorities on you which can leave you feeling depleted or unsatisfied that your own objectives we not met. First things first!
When we focus on what's important first, we get less caught up in other people's urgencies. I know for sure that the way I start my day has a huge influence on how I feel by the end of the day. If I wake up late and skip my personal wellness rituals, the day does not flow as well as if I had taken charge of my well-being got my vibe elevated, then faced my daily tasks with a positive mindset.
When we react to someone or something in our life there is always a chemical change in our state, we are altered in some way. If we don’t know how to control our emotional reaction to that event in our life and that chemical refractory period continues for hours or day that is called a “mood”. If it keeps going for weeks or months it is called a “temperament” (example; why is he so angry?) if the story is repeated and the person lives by it and repeats the same story over and over with the same emotional reaction (a long refractory period of years on end), it becomes a “personality trait”. People wear their emotions layer by layer and believe that is who they are. According to Dr. Dispenza, 50% of what you say about your past is not true – you make up stuff through beliefs and perceptions.
Shift the perspective. Instead of complaining about something that is not going your way, focus on potential solutions, or what the situation is teaching you. There is always a silver lining to every problem leading to greater learning and happiness.
4. Joy and Gratitude; Come home to your heart
Studies report those who live with gratitude and appreciation as a regular mindset are happier and more relaxed. When you open your eyes upon awaking, say thank you for the bed you just slept in, thank you for your safe home, thank you for a new day to make a positive difference in the world, thank you for your family and loved ones, thank you for the food you that is provided for you. We can all be grateful for the essentials in life; many people are much less fortunate. It’s also okay not to be okay sometimes, I have learned to say thank you for the ability to feel life’s ebbs and flows.
Our friend Stephane Bensoussan kindly shared with us his proprietary model called the Empowerment Spirals. It models very well the forces in action when you are on your way down or up, which is primarily dependent on your attitude and mindset toward what is happening around you.
The Spark of Joy Helps us Shine
We all shine more when we turn our focus towards the little joyful moments each day brings. The practice of genuine gratitude changed my life. What we focus on amplifies so I now choose to focus on what I appreciate instead of what I don't. Whenever I get caught up in negative thinking, I do a gratitude practice for a couple of minutes.
I’ll envision things like : a fun family dinner, comforting morning hugs from Ian, Shiva’s smiley face and waggly tail (our Golden Retriever Shiva), stepping onto my yoga mat for a nurturing practice, swimming in the lake, sitting quietly enjoying my morning coffee, the fragrance of the trees after the rain, an uplifting
conversation with a friend, fresh produce from the farmer’s market, being wrapped in a cozy blanket with a cup of tea, flowers blooming in the garden, the list goes on. I keep going until I feel my mood shift and my energy lighten.
Gratitude is an essential skill to help us through the more difficult times. What are you grateful during the tough times? Whenever dark times get you down, turn your attention to the little things or the big things that make life sweeter.
When you close your eyes, take some slower deeper breaths, and invite a state of appreciation, what lights you up inside and brings a smile to your heart?
Quick note on the idea of coming home to you and your heart. We recently ran a Come Home to You Challenge on a challenge app. It was a very interesting experience that we hope to repeat in the near future.
For more on habits for happiness living check out our Happiness Habits Series where we interviewed happiness influencers.
5. Chill out!
Cold water exposure and immersion has become popular with doctors like Mark Hyman promoting its health benefits along with Wym Hoff who has popularized this method of enhancing mental fortitude and boosting immune strength. I chose to start this habit to improve my circulation, to enhance alertness and energy in the morning.
After several months of practicing contrast showering of alternating hot then cold water, I then began to extend the duration of running cold water for a couple of minutes at the end of my shower. Through this kind of cold water exposure, I gradually built up my resistance to go in the lake early spring when the temperature was around 60 degrees. I have noticed the positive effects on my mindset and my body’s ability to generate more internal heat after several minutes of immersion. Cold water offers us a metabolic boost!
It is important to go gradually over time increasing the duration of your cold shower then increasing the time you can submerge yourself. Deep, rapid breathing helps!
Cold Water Immersion boosts the cardiovascular circulation, which is beneficial for a healthy heart, a strong immune system, well-balanced mental health, and a high level of energy.
This year starting in May, I decided to go in the lake each morning. I rarely miss a day and love the feeling of the cold water on my skin. I have taught myself to not think about the temperature of the water and to discipline my mind to receive the benefits of this awakening practice.
Frequent gradual exposure to cold is linked to a number of different health benefits.
Cold Water Therapy Health Benefits
6. Movement matters
Every day is a good day to move your body! Each morning I awaken, I include movement to wake up; gentle stretching, a light swim and a walk with our dog. Usually after breakfast my yoga mat welcomes me for a full nourishing practice. Later on in the day after sitting at my desk I like to re-energize with 5-10 minutes of rebounding, or a 30-45 minute functional fitness routine a few times per week. Many of these routines and practices are shared with our community of School of Happiness members. You are invited to try them too.
There is magic in movement. We can move our way to happiness and well-being in minutes per day. Begin everything you do with positive intention & create a ritual around your favorite movement routines. Energy flows where focus goes so your intention before a routine is important. Each time I step onto my yoga mat or into my exercise space, I pause for a few moments to check in and see what I need and notice how my body feels. Sometimes the mind says Go Go Go yet the body says No No No – and sometimes the opposite is true too! If I am achy or a bit tired, I will take my time and ease into the routine, when I am energized and fired up I’ll use that energy to my advantage and perhaps amp up the intensity. I start with intention: sometimes I am intentional to work on my strength, other times suppleness, sometimes for an energy boost, other times restoration and at all times with loving intention towards taking care of my body. I never let my mind get away with the thought “I don’t feel like it”.
Our bodies are designed to move. For optimal health, we should include some form of exercise each day. Be mindful of how you move. Moving your body mindfully means you pay deliberate attention to the sensations in your body, moment to moment. By executing exercises, postures and movements with greater awareness, you’ll manage intensity levels more effectively and feel stronger and more energized while reducing the risk of injury.
Start your day happier with Simple 6 Habits
You get to choose! Your choices are powerful because they can change how you and the people around you sample life. How amazing that we get to choose what kind of mood we will be in, how we behave and how we show up each day for ourselves and others. Start each day with a clean slate and a fresh outlook. By being ready for whatever curve ball life delivers, we can bounce back more quickly without getting stuck in negative emotions, fatigue or low energy. Life is like sport; the more fit we are, the more we can enjoy a day on the ski slopes, court or golf course without feeling tired and sore. So, the more resilient we are in mind and body, the better we can navigate any life storm with greater calm and ease.
Wishing you a bright day ahead.
Groove These Habits Into Your Lifestyle
It may take a little time, but integrating these habits into your daily patterns is key. Otherwise this will be just another resource you read and forgot about. At the School of Happiness we like to promote change that sticks, not just content to overwhelm your life and inbox!
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The 6 habits to start your day are simple, quick and they work. So to enjoy your mornings just: