Do you remember that old saying, "someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed?" If you're someone who finds figuring out how to wake up happier a difficult task, then you probably do. Personally, my parents used to throw that "wrong side of the bed" phrase out there any time I was acting like a cranky, 14-year-old brat, and I never had any idea what the heck they were talking about. Turns out, while it's not an actual physical side of the bed (as I once believed) there is some truth to it. The way you start your morning affects the rest of your day, both mentally and physically.
Every year, my New Year's Resolution is the same: Stop hitting the snooze button and get into a healthy and productive morning routine. And every year, by Jan. 5, I've given up. Getting out of bed is hard, especially when you're waking up every morning cocooned in your cozy bed, surrounded by pillows and dreading going to work. Between getting up, getting ready, getting coffee and getting to work, there isn't a whole lot of time in the early morning hours to dedicate to making sure you start your day off in a good mood. Luckily, there are a few quick things you can do before you even get out of bed (because if you're anything like me, you want to prolong that process as much as possible) that can help you wake up happier.
1. Wake Up To A Song
I’ll admit it — I’ve woken up to “Blank Space” every single day since it came out last year, and it’s my favorite part of my day. It’s like a personalized Taylor Swift concert in my room, and lets me start my day in a fantastic mood. Waking up to music stimulates your brain first thing in the morning, and has countless physical and mental benefits that you can carry with you throughout the day.
Plus, it’s far, far more pleasant than being jolted awake to that annoying chirping iPhone sound, and it's much harder to hit snooze when you’re in the middle of head-bopping to your favorite song. Need a little song-spiration? Check out these 21 songs that will help you start your day off right.
2. Stretch It Out
Breathe, stretch, shake — you get the idea. Stretching releases any physical and mental tension that you may have acquired overnight and helps you start your day feeling more centered. Slow, dynamic movements increase circulation to wake up your muscles, and the physiological benefits will help you start your day with a more positive mindset. Try some of these simple moves to get your blood flowing.
3. Leave Your Phone Alone
I know, it is SO hard not to grab for your phone and check your texts/emails/Instagram likes immediately after your alarm goes off, especially if your alarm and your phone are one in the same. But for the sake of your happiness for the rest of your day, try to resist. According to a 2013 study by the IDC Research Report, 89 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 reach for their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up (I know I'm definitely guilty — mine lives under my pillow for easy AM acces), which, as it turns out, is a hindrance to their morning mood.
As Julie Morgensten, author of Never Check Email In The Morning told The Huffington Post, "If you start your day off by responding to emails, you'll never recover… Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless... there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.”
Most experts actually advise keeping your phone out of your bedroom completely as a way to separate your work life and your personal life. Your bed should be your sanctuary, especially in the early hours of the morning, so don’t let your boss (or your 1,100 Facebook friends) in there with you.
4. Embrace Morning Sex
Waking up next to someone you really like is enough to start your day off on the right foot and adding a little nookie to the mix is pretty much guaranteed to put you in a fantastic mood. There are numerous actual, scientific benefits to morning sex, most importantly that it relaxes you while simultaneously stimulating your body for the day ahead. Thanks, orgasms!
5. Plan Your Day
Mentally preparing yourself for what lies ahead will help you ease your way into the day, one step at a time. Draw yourself a rough mental outline of everything you need to accomplish in the next 15 or so hours, and think of at least one thing you have to look forward to before you're back in your bed. Visualization is an incredibly powerful way to achieve your goals, so starting your day imagining that you've already done the things you need to do in a given day before you've even gotten up will help you be more productive.
6. Wake Up And Smell The Coffee
Remember that episode of The Office where Michael Scott burned his foot on a George Foreman grill because he liked to wake up to the smell of freshly cooked bacon? Turns out, he may have been onto something. A 2008 study by the Seoul National University Department of Food and Nutrition showed that waking up and literally smelling the coffee affected genes in sleep deprived lab rats brains that had healthful antioxidant properties and protected the nerve cells from stress-related damage. Set your coffee maker the night before to give yourself something to look forward to, and to save yourself time in the morning once you drag your (happy!) self out of bed.
7. Give Thanks
It's so quick, and so, so simple: Every morning, as soon as you wake up, think of three things you're grateful for. Expressing gratitude has some pretty major health benefits, including improved heart health and an increased immune system, and thinking positively first thing in the morning will put your mindset in the right place for the rest of the day. Even if it's something as simple as "I'm thankful that Wet Hot American Summer is finally streaming on Netflix" (that was one of mine this morning), find something in your life worth appreciating.