22 Tricks for an Instantly Happier Morning
Get out the door faster and worry-free with these easy morning tweaks.
Give yourself an extra 15 minutes
Don’t hit snooze so much that you end up rushing out the door. Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier than usual, and use the time to mentally prepare for the day. Plan your outfit, goals, and breakfast, or take a moment to stretch or read the news for a happy morning. (These are the harmless morning habits that are sabotaging your day.)
Stick to a routine
The fewer decisions you have to make, the less stressed you’ll be. Most actions—what you eat, your bathroom ritual—can stay the same every day. Everything else should be planned ahead of time. Lay out your outfit the night before, and load everything you’ll need into your work bag. Here are some tips on how to create and keep your own daily routine.
Keep your blinds half-open
When the natural light from the sunrise creeps into your room, it signals your brain to slow its melatonin production and boost your adrenaline, both of which tell your body to wake up. To sync your biological clock to the sun, hit the hay seven hours before sunrise so you get the recommended amount of sleep. Soon you might not even need your alarm clock. These other tips will make waking up in the morning a lot easier too.
Don’t share the bathroom
No matter how close you and your partner are, each of you should get ready in a different bathroom. Instead of fighting for the sink or mirror, you can get ready calmly at your own pace.
Set the alarm on your coffee maker
The smell of coffee can lure you out of bed, so buy some high-quality coffee and use twice as many scoops as you typically would to make the scent as strong as possible. Studies have shown that coffee can boost alertness, protect against Parkinson’s disease, and ward off memory loss.
Keep baskets by the door
To prevent a last-minute search while you’re trying to run out the door, keep baskets for each family member by the exit. Fill the containers with everything you’ll need for the day—your purse, wallet and keys, and your kids’ backpacks, homework and hats. Check out these daily morning habits of highly organized people.
Even before you open your eyes, stretch your body to increase blood flow and send oxygen to your tissues. Start with your fingers, hands, wrists, and arm, and then move on to your toes, feet, ankles, and legs. By the time you finish with your neck and back, you’ll be ready to jump out of bed and have a happy morning.
Make time for a workout
A 30-minute workout will flood you with mood-boosting endorphins that will last most of the day. Plus, scheduling your exercise for first thing in the morning will make you more likely to stick with your workout program, studies have shown, probably because your schedule won’t have the chance to clog up with excuses. Try hopping on the treadmill, doing yoga, or turning on a workout video you enjoy. Don’t miss these morning habits of naturally thin people.
Pick out an emergency outfit
For the mornings you hit snooze too many times or get sidetracked when you’re getting ready, an already-picked-out outfit will get you dressed effortlessly. Store an outfit, complete with socks and jewelry, on a hanger so you can throw it on and dash out the door.
Drink a glass of water
Every night, your body goes through a fast while you’re asleep, leaving you dehydrated when you wake up. Drink eight ounces of water as soon as you’re up to hydrate. Here are tiny changes that could make you a happier person.
Read a motivational quote
Start your day on a positive note by reading a motivational quote to guide your thoughts away from negativity. Alternatively, a positive mantra can be meditative, or a poem could help you get focused for a happy morning. (Reading a bit from these happiness books is also a great way to start your day.)
Listen to music
At night, your creative juices flow. Taking five to ten minutes in the morning to think or listen to music can help you shape those imaginative thoughts into realistic plans. This is one of a few morning brain exercises to keep your mind sharp.
Brush your tongue
A minty fresh mouth is sure to make you feel clean and ready to start the day. But with more than 300 types of bacteria accumulating in your mouth every night, a speedy tooth-brushing job isn’t going to eliminate your morning breath fully. Take an extra minute to brush your tongue to enjoy a fresher feeling. These are the best things you can do for a stress-free and productive work day.
Have a sprinkle of sugar
Healthy 60- to 80-year-olds who drank sweetened lemonade before breakfast had better memory recall that day and into the next than those who started their morning with unsweetened lemonade, a University of Virginia study found. Don’t go reaching for the doughnut just yet, though—a teaspoon or less will do the trick. Sip a cup of orange juice, or swap the artificial sweetener in your coffee for real sugar.
Make a to-do list for your kids
Keeping a checklist of what your kids need to do before heading out the door can help make mornings less chaotic. Write the list either on a whiteboard, or make printouts from the computer. Have your children mark off when they make their beds, brush their teeth, and gather their schoolwork and lunch. If they don’t follow through by five minutes before they need to leave, set a punishment like no TV or computer time after school.
Take a quicker shower
The average shower lasts about 12 minutes—a big chunk of time when you’re trying to rush in and out. If you don’t like showering at night, use two-in-one products like conditioning shampoo. To save even more time, don’t scrub your whole body. Use soap for your underarms and groins, and just let the rest get rinsed off.
Dry your hair efficiently
Let your hair towel- and air-dry as much as possible before using heat. Use a 100 percent cotton bath sheet to blot your hair, then do your makeup or start getting dressed before touching it again. Once you’re ready to blow-dry, use a tool with at least 1,600 watts for a high-energy heat blast that will dry your hair faster.
Go through your calendar
While you’re sipping your coffee in the morning, glance over everything you’ve scheduled for the day. Make sure you write down everything, from plumber visits to bill due dates. You’ll be able to schedule your day effectively without worrying about surprises or forgetting important events. These are the time management habits successful people follow for a happy morning and life.
Give a kiss goodbye
Before you head out the door, kiss everyone you love in your house (including your cat or dog). Physically connecting with your loved ones will frame your day with positivity and a reminder of what’s important to you, along with reducing stress.
Set a chair in your shower
Sit in a plastic chair for a couple minutes in the shower, letting the water beat down on your back like a massage. You’ll feel both energized and relaxed—the perfect start to a happy morning. When you’re done, stick the chair out of the way and scrub up.
Take an aspirin
An aspirin a day could be good for your heart. One study of 220,000 doctors found that those who took an aspirin daily during a five-year course reduced their risk of heart attack by almost 50 percent. Check with your doctor before starting any medications.
Cuddle with your children
If you have young children, lie next to them and gently hug them when it’s time to wake up. For older kids, sit next to them and softly smooth their hair as you get them up. The morning could be the rare time you can enjoy the sweetness of tender moments like these. Next, check out the things happy people never do.