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20 Ways to Wake Up Happy

A good night’s sleep usually leads to a happier morning, but there are dozens of things you can do in the hour or so after waking to boost your happiness quotient for the entire day.

What you do the night before to prepare yourself for the next day plays a big part in how you feel. Taking a bubble bath and listening to your favorite music helps you relax and sleep restfully. Mentally rehearsing what you need to do the next day, at night when you’re not rushed, is also beneficial   

Follow one of more of these 20 tips. If you want to get up in the morning feeling invigorated and ready to tackle what the day has to offer.

1. Smile

Smile as you get ready for your day, even if you don’t feel like it. Pose with a big grin in front of the mirror, even if you look and feel groggy.  Smiling helps wake you up, and studies show it can lower your heart rate and help release the happiness-boosting hormones serotonin and dopamine. Forcing a smile has also been shown to reduce stress.

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2. Meditate

Meditating for a few minutes in the morning will clear your mind and help you remain centered all day. Although meditation makes you calm by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system it also increases your energy by triggering endorphins. You won’t need to drink as much coffee in the morning to get going when you meditate.

Stressed-out people eat more high-calorie junk food than calm people. Meditation soothes frayed nerves, helping you avoid sugary and fried foods. You’ll eat more fruits, veggies and other clean foods, which aid digestion and overall health. Studies have shown that meditation can help reduce headaches.

3. Play with Your Cat or Dog

Play with your cat and replenish his food dish, or take your dog out for a morning walk. Pets keep you active and put you in a good mood with their antics and unconditional love.  Cats, dogs, hamsters, and even goldfish can relieve stress, Walking a dog helps you get exercise and produce happiness-boosting endorphins, and even petting your dog, cat or rabbit can reduce cortisol, a stress hormone, and elevate levels of the calming hormone serotonin.   

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4. Exercise

Jogging or going to the health club in the morning increases endorphins. Even taking a short walk to the 7-11 to get coffee will entice your endorphins and banish the morning blahs. If you don’t have the energy to get dressed and go outside right away, do a few push-ups or use an aerobic stepper at home.

Jogging or going to the health club in the morning increases endorphins. Even taking a short walk to the 7-11 to get coffee will entice your endorphins and banish the morning blahs. If you don’t have the energy to get dressed and go outside right away, do a few push-ups or use an aerobic stepper at home.

Other benefits of morning exercise include:

More Time

When you exercise in the morning, you don’t have to worry about jogging before it gets dark or getting to the gym before it closes. You’ll be refreshed from a night’s sleep so you’ll exercise longer and with more vigor than after an exhausting day at work.  

Better Sleep at Night

One study looked at participants who exercised in the morning, the middle of the day and in the evening. The study results showed that people who exercised at 7 a. m. slept better and experienced lower blood pressure for the rest of the day.

Better Physical and Cognitive Function

Simply moving around can make you feel more energetic. Even if you just walk around your kitchen to make breakfast, you’ll want to move more, which leads to exercise. A study showed that tired, inactive people could increase their energy by as much as 20 per cent by taking a short walk, doing yoga, or completing household chores. Research also showed that exercise boosts your brainpower 6 percent more than drinking coffee.

5. Set Out Your Clothes and Other Items at Night

Choose your clothes, cosmetics and other items the night before and have them ready to grab when you get up in the morning. If you waste time looking for your wallet, car keys or important papers in the morning, it will frustrate you and get your day off to a bad start. You’re less likely to forget things if you prepare for work or appointments before going to bed.  

6. Eat a Special Breakfast

Instead of downing a large, caffeine-laden cup of coffee when you wake up, slow down, blend up a fruit smoothie or cook yourself a nutritious breakfast. If you take a few extra minutes to treat yourself to a homemade breakfast, you’ll feel energized and be less likely to grab junk food to fill you up when you get to the office.

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7. Recall Your Dreams

Write down your dreams as soon as you wake up in the morning. (If you wait even a few minutes after waking, you’ll forget them.) Your dreams may or may not predict the future, but they will help you understand the problems in your waking life better, and give you clues about how to solve them.

Understanding your dreams helps “clear the slate” in the morning, in the same way keeping a journal does, so you can deal with internal problems before they cloud your day.

Sleep on your right side to have more pleasant dreams. If you sleep on your left side, it puts more pressure on your lungs and stomach and can cause nightmares.  

8. Listen to an Audiobook or Podcast

Don’t read or listen to the bad news on TV, Facebook or the radio. Listen to an uplifting podcast or audiobook instead of getting upset over the latest fake news. The podcast or book should concern one of your hobbies, a subject that will help you improve your job skills, or spirituality/self-help.

9. Express Gratitude

Regardless of your circumstances, there are always some positive things in your life. Every morning, write a list of what you are grateful for – it can be something as simple as your pet cat or some cookies a friend baked for you. Expressing gratitude, especially for simple everyday things we often overlook, will put you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.

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10. Write in Your Journal

Clear your mind by writing down all your thoughts before heading out for the day. Seeing your concerns down on paper may diffuse your worries and help you find ways to get more positive outcomes.

A journal is a form of therapy-without the therapist. You can express your thoughts as they come to you and interpret them later. It is a great way to free your mind of clutter first thing in the morning and get your concerns out in the open where you can acknowledge and deal with them.  

11. Don’t Check Your Phone First Thing in the Morning

It’s fine to give your phone a quick glance in the morning to see if there were any family emergencies, but don’t get sucked in to the drama on Facebook or check all your email. Leave the clutter on your phone behind, and spend the first minutes of the day concentrating on your own thoughts and goals, without the help of apps or electronic reminders.   

12. Practice Pranayama

Take a few deep breaths when you’re overwhelmed or feeling anxious. Slow, deep breathing will calm your nerves and promote better blood flow. Deep breathing, or pranayama, (a Sanskrit word used in yoga practice), helps you physically by detoxifying  your lymphatic system and eliminating waste from your immune system.

13. Wake Up Earlier

One study showed that women who wake up early were less likely to become depressed than night owls. When you wake up early, you get to see the sun rise and gain all the benefits of Vitamin D from sunshine.

You’ll have more time to eat a nutritious breakfast, exercise, meditate or get ready for your workday when you get up earlier in the morning. Even if you work at home or find it hard to get up before 9 a.m., set your alarm for a half-hour earlier than usual.

You’ll be surprised how much more you get done in 30 minutes, and may find yourself getting up even earlier the next day. (Of course, this means you’ll need to go to bed earlier if you still want to get quality sleep.)

14. Stay off Social Media

Give yourself time to think on your own terms before allowing your mind to be driven by the posts, notifications and arguments on Facebook. Social media pulls us into the lives and thoughts of many people we’ll never converse with online, much less meet in person.

Concentrate on your own thoughts and the real people around you to set the tone for your day.   

15. Eat an Early Dinner the Night Before

You’ll have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep if you eat dinner shortly before you go to bed. Eating right before bed can cause GERD, night sweats, and other physical symptoms due to the food metabolizing while you sleep. You might even get nightmares.

If you eat a late dinner, you’ll be more likely to store extra calories instead of burning them. You shouldn’t eat dinner after 8 p.m. to maintain your weight.

Night-eating syndrome, a disorder in which people consume only a third of their calories by 6 p.m. and the remaining two-thirds late at night, leads to weight gain and obesity. Learn to get up early and eat earlier in the day to stay slim and happy. Breakfast and lunch should be your biggest meals of the day, not dinner.

16. Relax with a Cup of Tea or Coffee

Don’t gulp down a caffeinated beverage without savoring it and psyching yourself up for the day’s activities. Pour yourself coffee or herbal tea at home and listen to your favorite music, or find a table at a quiet coffee shop.

Green or black tea will wake you up without the caffeine overload of coffee, and you can add saffron or turmeric to the tea to improve your mood. Lemon balm and damiana are also excellent herbal teas for emotional balance.    

17. Don’t Attach Yourself to Worrisome Thoughts

It’s natural to have negative thoughts occasionally, but don’t dwell on them. In Buddhism, non-attachment is a heightened state where individuals have no desire for material things, worldly activities or people. It is a neutral, non-judgmental position that improves your perspective on the realities of life.

18. Soak Up Some Rays

Go out and catch some rays between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to get the strongest anti-depressant effects of the sun. Early-morning rays are most helpful if you suffer from seasonal depression during the winter.

Sunshine is the main source of one of the most powerful happiness vitamins, Vitamin D. As little as ten minutes of direct sunlight on bare skin a day produces 10,000 international units of Vitamin D.       

19. Eliminate Lights in Your Bedroom

Sleeping with the TV on or a Smartphone on your nightstand can suppress melatonin, a hormone necessary for good sleep and a good mood. Pull down your shades and shut off all lights in your bedroom, including the light from your phone and TV, to guarantee a restful night’s sleep. Don’t use your phone, TV or computer for a hour before bedtime so you can “wind down” and get to sleep faster.

20. Make Sure your Bedroom is Clean and Organized

Make an effort to keep your room clean and your clothes and shoes in an orderly fashion in your closet or dresser drawers. If you don’t have a system for storing your clothes, shoes, books and other items in your bedroom, it will take longer to find them, and frustrate you first thing in the morning.

If you don’t have time to clean your room during the week, take some time on the weekend to get it organized. You’ll sleep better in a cleaner room, and you won’t slip on books or other items when you take those first steps in the morning.

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