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5 Morning Habits to Boost Your Mood and Start Your Day Right

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Here are five habits to improve your mood in the morning and start your day off right.

 

1. Pick a mandatory out-of-bed time and stick to it daily

We’re all guilty of hitting snooze. The key to success in getting up-and-at-em without having to go through all seven stages of mourning is to regulate your internal clock and make things more biological than emotional. My alarm goes off at 6:30am, six days a week (sleeping in on Sundays has become a precious gift). I make it a point to be out of bed by 6:40 no matter what.

You’ll want to go to bed around the same time each night as well. I’ve learned that I thrive off lots and lots of sleep, so that means I’m in bed by 10pm as a rule of thumb, typically drifting off by 10:30 for eight hours of sleep. (Pro tip: If your mind wanders too much to fall asleep consistently, there are actually purposefully-and-brilliantly-boring podcasts you can listen to to help you drift right off. Works like a charm for me almost every night.)

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If it helps, compartmentalize this experiment to 21 days — the standard accepted amount of time it takes to form a habit. Soon enough, your eyes will be snapping open whether or not your alarm is set.

Additionally, another benefit to waking up at set times is that you get to experience how your mood is affected by it. If you find out which wake-up time has the highest correlation to your mood (or happiness), then you can try making it a habit to maximize your happiness. This was analyzed in detail in one of the Happiness Essays at Tracking Happiness, in which the author analyzed his happiness at various wake-up times over a time interval of 3.5 years. The author observed that his happiness was significantly higher on days when he woke up between 7 and 8 AM. Also, having to set an alarm had no negative effect on his happiness, despite popular belief!
 
With that knowledge, he’s now trying to shape his sleep rhythm in such a way that he will eventually be happier. And so can you, if you are willing to actively change shape your own sleeping rhythm!

 

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2. Make your damn bed

know you’ve heard this one before, so I added the mild profanity to further emphasize the point. Making your bed every day is literal magic, and study after study after study backs me up on this.

“When you are facing big tasks in your life, the little details are important,” said retired Navy SEAL and Admiral William H. McRaven in a now-viral commencement speech. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another.”

I can personally attest to this. Each morning after making my bed, I make sure any clutter is cleared away and clothes are tossed in the hamper or back in my closet. This, combined with the fact that I’m no longer rushing around like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, puts me in a productive state of mind for the whole day.

 

3. Move that body

Source: @barre3

Early on in my experiment, I discovered that the days I worked out in the morning were notably more productive than the days I didn’t. This is probably because working out wakes up my brain and body more than a cup of coffee ever could (and without the supplemental shakes and anxiety, to boot!)

I don’t always have time for a full workout in the morning, and I understand this is probably the case for lots of people. On the days when a full trip the gym is implausible, a 10-minute yoga session at home (like this onethis onethis one, or this one) can work wonders. I also love doing 15-minute HIIT sprints on my gym’s track in the mornings for a fast way to get my heart rate up. If you don’t have time to leave the house, doing a quick HIIT workout with bodyweight exercises (like this onethis onethis one, or this one) would have a similar effect.

 

4. Have a few go-to outfits for the mornings you can’t even

Source: The Everygirl

I want to be more positive about mornings, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a realist. There are, inevitably, days I just don’t feel like caring. For those days, I streamline my morning process to involve as little time and as few decisions as possible, minus the rushing around and showing up at work looking like Frankenstein’s monster. Every season, I have three or four chic-but-simple outfits I decided on ahead of time, which I’ll resort to on the days my time or motivation leaves something to be desired. It makes me look like I’ve tried on the days I don’t remotely feel like trying, which can be a game-changer for the day ahead.

Looking crisp and put-together almost always transfers over to how I feel. (Pro tip: Quick hair and makeup hacks also work wonders in this department.)

 

5. Make a positive daily ritual with something you love

This is probably the most customizable element on my entire list. I developed a strong affinity for cappuccinos while living in Sweden this summer, and when I got back to the states I needed to find a way to replicate the experience without coughing up $4+ bucks on the daily.

Enter, my Bialetti Moka pot, AKA the most beautiful, adorable, and Italian espresso maker on this good earth. I am heavily attached to the thing. It brews delicious espresso in minutes, and my morning cappuccino at home is now something I look forward to like Christmas morning. I kid you not, it is sometimes the thing that gets me out of bed, and I’m okay with that.

After my quick workout and shower, I sit down at my dining room table with my cappuccino and let my hair partially air dry while writing down the things I need to get done that day. It is, at once, my morning treat and a way for me to focus on the important stuff ahead.

If you’re less espresso-obsessed than me, I’d encourage you to think about what other simple pleasures you could turn into a morning ritual. A pleasant walk with your dog and a good podcast or audiobook? A few minutes to read the news? A real breakfast? Whatever it is, make sure it feels like a treat and not another hassle to add to your to-do list.

 

 

What do you do to start your morning off right? Share your tips in the comments! 

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