For many people, the morning alarm clock is the sound of dread and apprehension. After hitting the snooze button a dozen times, we finally rise in a stupor only to stumble around to find clothes, put on deodorant and maybe get a quick bite to eat before grabbing coffee on the way out the door.
Day after day, mornings like this can add unneeded stress to your life. In such a rushed atmosphere, it’s hard to sit back and ease into a peaceful day. Rather than starting out positive and happy, it creates a negative tone that lasts far longer than it should.
How you spend your morning is important because it sets the foundation for the rest of the day. So it may not surprise you that happy people tend to actually enjoy their mornings; they often greet the rising sun with an uplifted sense of well-being. We could all learn a little more about how to make sure the start of each day is a happy one.
1. Think of each day as a new beginning
The morning isn’t the time to review the mistakes of yesterday – the errors and problems that gave you so much headache the day before. That will only invite grief and frustration into the new day ahead.
Each morning can be thought of as a renewal – a brand new beginning where you can discover new opportunities, new possibilities and new challenges. Mornings are a chance for you to leave your errors and mistakes in the past where they belong so you can open yourself up to all the good you can be doing right now.
It’s hard to move into a positive future, if you’re still dwelling on the negativity from the day before.
2. Remind yourself of what you have to look forward to
Each day is filled with an assortment of responsibilities, tasks and people we expect to deal with at some point. Some will be fun and wonderful, while others will be either boring, irritating or downright negative. Here’s the question you should ask yourself: which ones are you going to think about when you start your day?
There are good and bad parts to every day, but it’s where you choose to focus that makes a difference. Those who are happiest spend more time reminding themselves of the good things they have ahead.
3. They make time to ease into the day
Rush, rush, rush. What kind of mental toll do you think all those rushed mornings take on you? What kind of chaos goes on through your head when you hurry through the morning?
Happy people take time to relax into their morning. They make time for themselves so their mind and body have a chance to fully awaken which, in turn, gives them better mental clarity and calm.
A hurried morning is one filled with stress as you struggle with the lack of time. Before you’re even fully awake, your mind is already in panic mode, trying just to keep up with what’s going on. That’s not a good place to start your day off right.
4. They spend a few moments with something beautiful
Beauty has a way of awakening our souls. It can uplift mindsets and enrich attitudes by filling us with positivity. And it can even start our day off right, with all those good feelings that can make you a little happier.
Some people spend time in nature. They go for a walk or run in the morning. Others simply look outside and marvel at the trees and birds flying by.
Others surround themselves with colorful plants whose pallette jumps out and demands to be noticed. It can be a bright reminder to be joyful in what might otherwise be a gloomy day.
The fact is this: beauty matters. If you can find something wonderful to look at, it can be a small reminder of the beauty that surrounds you. Then, each morning will seem a little cheerier.
5. They put a positive focus to the day ahead
Benjamin Franklin used to wake up each day with a question, “What good shall I do today?” It immediately put a positive focus on what he was going to do that day.
Steve Jobs would ask himself at the beginning of every morning, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Whenever the answer had been no for too many days in a row, he knew he needed to change something.
Each day can be thought of as an opportunity to do good and make positive changes. By starting each day with a friendly reminder to put a positive spin on it, you’re more likely to make it happen. Spending some time focusing on what positive actions you can do for the day can add purpose to your life and, ultimately, give you a better sense of fulfillment.
6. They give thanks in some way
A heart filled with gratitude is a happy one. That’s something that can be so easily missed in the bustle of our lives. We all have things to do, people to see and deadlines to meet – there’s so little time to actually sit back and just say “thank you”.
Mornings should be eased into with an air of grateful reflection. We spend so much time on what we don’t have or what’s going wrong that we never take time to look back and realize what is going right.
Happiness is often a matter of focus. It’s about bringing into perspective all the things you have going well – the things we often neglect or fail to realize is a true gift. Happy people see the morning sun as a reminder to all those things we so easily forget – the things that make our lives so wonderful.
Steve is the writer behind Do Something Cool where he blogs about travel, motivation, self improvement and adventure. He’s always looking for ways to make life more interesting. For fresh ideas on living life to the fullest, join his newsletter.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.