Nothing is worse than waking up in the morning only to feel grumpy and out of sorts. Luckily, just because you woke up on the wrong side of the bed doesn't mean you have to be stuck there, as there a number of helpful morning hacks that can put you in a better mood. If there's ever a time to cheer up, it might as well be in the morning so you can have a great rest of your day, and it doesn't have to take up a big chunk of your morning.
"The mood and thought pattern that you start off your day with, will often determine which direction it goes," says Dr. Kathy Gruver, PhD, LMT, CHt over email. If you start out negative, that is going to lead to more negative thoughts and reactions. If you are in a good mood and something goes wrong it's easier to look at it objectively and deal with it in a rational way."
Some days it can seem impossible to feel optimistic, but there's no reason why we shouldn't try to make ourselves feel better. Ditch the grumpiness and start feeling a little more upbeat using these 11 morning hacks that can help put you in a better mood.
1. Open The Blinds
"Open the shades and expose yourself to direct sunlight as soon as you wake up," says Jon Belford, Psy.D. over email. "This immediate exposure to sunlight will have a positive effect on your circadian rhythm and production of serotonin, which contributes to a positive mood."
2. Put On Some Music
Turn on some of your favorite music when you get ready or make breakfast. Multiple studies show that upbeat music can help improve your mood, according to Healthline. And even if you are feeling down and need to wallow, putting on sad music can help you to release your feelings and feel better as well.
3. Fake A Smile
If you're not waking up with a natural grin fro ear-to-ear, it's time to fake it until you make it. Research shows that even faking a smile genuinely reduces stress and increases positive feelings, says a study from the journal Psychological Science. "Think of it like 'happy hygiene,' and institute it until it is habit, like brushing your teeth," says positive psychologist Pax Tandon over email. "It will take some dedicated effort to remember to do this, but eventually becomes second nature."
4. Do Something Nice
"Using your energy to enhance someone else's life or experience is empirically proven to be one of the most effective ways to boost our positive emotions and make us happy," says Tandon. "It can be as simple as an 'I appreciate you' text to a parent, a few extra minutes stroking your pet, or buying coffee for a homeless person."
5. Express Your Gratitude
"Do a gratitude exercise where you meditate on three things in your life that you are grateful for," says Tandon. "This puts you in a space of 'what's going right' above what's going wrong or not working and automatically shifts your perspective to a positive one." Practicing gratitude can help your mood in the short-term and long-term, including relieving symptoms from anxiety and depression, according to Harvard Health.
6. Read An Uplifting Story
"Start with positive news stories," says Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC over email. "Often the most talked about and sensationalized stories that come across our televisions or social news feeds are negative. Try turning off the news or reading uplifting and positive stories in the morning." Websites such as The Optimist and The Delite are great places to read positive-only content.
Morning meditation can be extremely helpful, and you don't have to sit in silence to reap the benefits. Concentrate on your breath, inhale and exhale. On the inhale think, 'I am' and on the exhale think, 'at peace,' and repeat with every breath," says Gruver. "This can be done anywhere: in the car, in the shower, walking the dog..."
8. Eat A Good Breakfast
What you eat can affect how you feel. "Grabbing carbs and caffeine doesn't help sustain our energy or cognitive function," says Gruver. "Protein, fats and carbs are key!" If you're not sure what's best, try to incorporate these foods that can help improve your mood.
9. Drink Some Water
You should hydrate first thing in the morning, as even just mild dehydration can cause moodiness and fatigue, according to a study from the Journal of Nutrition. "Drink a large green tea, water, or veggie-based smoothie," says Dr. Kristen Lee, Ed.D., LICSW over email.
10. Take A Walk
"Take a brisk walk or run," says Lee. "Both have been proven to be highly effective in increasing endorphins and serotonin and help us process and problem solve." If you can, find some nature to stroll in, which can help alter your mood and lower stress levels, according to research from Stanford, but any physical activity — regardless of where it is — is good for the brain and your emotions.
"Even after our best efforts we sometimes wake up on the wrong side of the bed," says Keya F. Williams, MS, RYT over email. "Its important to honor those negative feelings and give them an opportunity to be expressed. Think of your journal like a trusted, non-judgmental confidant that you can say anything to without any filters." Writing down your feelings can help you manage anxiety and stress, fight off depression, and help you prioritize your fears and concerns, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Carve out time each morning to do an activity that feels good for you — it sure beats only rushing around feeling stressed out.
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