I have a brain that never slows down, and for the longest time, the first moments of each morning were the worst part of my day. I’d obsess about the things that were not going right, the thousands of things I had to do that day and who aggravated me from the day before. I would be ready to pull the covers over my head and check out for the day.
I know I’m not alone in this challenge to be excited about starting each day. When we combine our own “reprocessed stuff” with a tough economy and an unstable world, it is easier to wake up grumpy than excited. But how we wake sets the tone for our entire day. And I don’t want to waste any day being unhappy.
So, here are 5 ways to wake up happy each day:
1. Go to bed happy and grateful. There’s a saying, “Never go to bed angry,” and research studies seem to support this. If your nighttime routine is happy, positive and grateful, your brain is primed to be more upbeat and happy during the night and in the morning. Develop a relaxing nighttime routine by disconnecting from news, current events and other stresses. Watch a sitcom, read a book, write in a journal, spend time with people who matter, spend time with a hobby. Just chill.
2. Have a plan to do (at least) one thing you love everyday. Getting excited about something you have planned can start your day on a high note. Plan a lunch with a friend, try a new coffee drink, commit time to read another chapter in a book you love, watch a favorite show or take a walk in the park because the weather is going to be perfect. Customize your day with something that makes your life great, something you can look forward to each day.
3. Choose wisely who you wake up next to. The quality of our daily relationships significantly impacts the way we wake. Work out any problems before heading to bed and focus instead on what you love about the other person, their “human traits” (because you’ll want them to do the same with you). Always choose to be with people who share your values and who respect, honor and care about you.
4. Meditate. For thousands of years, eastern cultures have been using meditation to diminish the ego, quiet the internal noise and be in the moment. Allow yourself time to wake earlier than you need to get up (starting your day frenzied sets a bad tone for the entire day). In those extra moments, close your eyes and concentrate on being grateful. Not only does it change your focus, it allows you time to gradually connect to your day and your world. If you need some help getting started, check out Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
5. Choose wisely about what you do in your life. Work, life and spirit are interconnected; there isn’t a “work” you, there is “all of you” in everything you do. When you take the time to discovery your unique abilities – your talents, strengths and passions – and use them in every part of your life, you feel like you fit. You create your personal impact. You feel connected. You are happier. Living a life that fits you is the greatest source of personal happiness.
Notice that each of these ideas is about being intentional – about showing up to live on purpose, or as Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “to live each day as if your life really mattered.” Life is mostly about choices – so how do you choose to be happy each day?