One of life’s greatest mysteries is happy people in the morning. Most of us don’t get it. They seem to bounce out of bed with bright smiling faces while we’re still blindly grunting for our morning cups of joe. It’s not fair! How do they do it?
Well, it turns out, those delighted smiles aren’t necessarily preordained. Yes, genetics and life circumstances can account for up to 60 percent of variations in happiness, but the remainder is 100 percent up to you!
Even if your default setting is low, positivity is something we can foster in ourselves through our thoughts and actions. Comedian Groucho Marx (who had arguably the grumpiest name on the planet) once said,
"Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
In honor of Groucho's inspiring declaration, I did some research on what happy people do to get their days off to a cheery start. Each of us can rip a page from their handbook — and become one of the shiny happy people in the process.
1. DON'T HIT SNOOZE
You hit snooze every morning in hopes of a few extra rounds with the world's most sensual lover: sleep. But unfortunately, scientists found that hitting the snooze button can actually make you more tired. Abusing the snooze (great name for a band) is usually the symptom of a larger issue: sleep deprivation. To solve that problem, turn in 30 minutes earlier on the reg, impose a tech curfew 90 minutes before bed — and if all else fails, hide your alarm clock out of reach! Nothing like a crack-of-dawn scavenger hunt to get you up and at 'em.
2. START WITH AN AFFIRMATION
Say something positive to yourself — an affirmation or something you're grateful for — to set the stage for other positive thoughts to join in throughout the day. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to its fullest, so allow yourself to wipe the slate clean and not drag past regrets into the future.
3. TAKE A WARM-TO-EXTREMELY HOT SHOWER
Because, DUH. If you need science to tell you why this is an awesome idea, you haven't been doing it right. A morning shower is a great time for meditation, self-reflection, or just plain zoning out. It feels so good you'll forget the meaning of the word drought... Oops!
4. STAY UNPLUGGED FOR (AT LEAST) AN HOUR
Don't reach for your phone!! Placing a morning moratorium on electronics is a wonderful way to buffer your awakening into the "real world." Instead of greeting the day with emails and texts, start with a coffee and crossword, or by taking an extra 10 minutes to cuddle with your boo. It's your moment of Zen before the inevitable bombardment. Not only will the delay serve as a mood booster, but allowing yourself a break from technology will help you feel more in control of when and how much you choose to use it later in the day.
5. SIMPLIFY YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
Adjusting from blissful slumber to the demands of the day can be a jarring experience. Do yourself some favors! Get a jump-start on the day by making a list or laying out clothes the night before. Try to sequence your tasks most efficiently (i.e., let your hair air dry while you eat breakfast), and once you've automated the habit, you don't have to think about it anymore. What's more: A relaxing, low stress morning routine sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.
6. EXERCISE EARLY
Research has tied morning exercise to better sleep, and exercising before breakfast can help keep you trim. Exercising early has other observed benefits, too — like feeling more productive, energized, and less stressed. Plus, if you get it out of the way first thing, it's not hanging over your head for the rest of the day.
"I don't have enough time!" syndrome is common with morning exercise, so let me suggest a perfect solution: The Under 20 Workout. Each video is less than 20 minutes, the trainer jokes around and keeps it fun, and the fast-paced workout will get your tired blood pumping!
7. EAT BREAKFAST
Fuel up and make your stomach smile. Getting your a.m. nosh on will improve your mood and reduce fatigue later in the day. Okay, yummy, you had me at "food."
8. GET 'BUSY'
Starts with "s" and rhymes with "Tex" is definitely my favorite doctor-recommended way to make the morning — and the rest of the day — happier. An early romp with your partner will leave you feeling more upbeat and bonded, but that's not all! You'll also improve your immunity for cold and flu season; grow more luscious hair, skin, and nails; and decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke. Talk about a sexy panacea!
Written by Courtney Kocak