My four year old crawled into bed between me and my husband. I knew she was up earlier than I wanted, but surprisingly it didn’t bother me. I opened my eyes slowly as the early morning light shined through the windows. I tickled my toddler and she giggled as I walked to the baby’s room. I said good morning, scooped him up, and brought him back to bed for family cuddle time.
I feel different, I said to myself. I feel happy.
Thirty minutes later I snuck off on my own. I wanted to write down what exactly made me wake up happier that morning. This is the list I came up with.
“Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep.” — Mesut Barazany.
I had gotten a lot of sleep.
One of the simplest ways to wake up happy is waking up after a long night of sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re guaranteed to wake up groggy and grumpy. So strive to get the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep each night.
It’s important to also improve the quality of your sleep.
Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Go to bed earlier to improve the quality of your sleep. This has to do with how your body’s internal clock works.
Limit your consumption of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages in the evening. These substances can interrupt your sleep and affect your overall sleep quality.
The blue light of tv, computer, and cell phone screens also disrupts your body’s internal clock. Limit screen time in the evening and turn all screens off at least one hour before going to bed.
2. Clean Room
“Clutter overwhelms the brain and compromises the ability to take initiative.” —Marie Kondo
Our room was clean.
Your environment affects your mood. Waking up in a cluttered and messy room can quickly lower your spirits. It’s overwhelming when you’ve got clothes on the floor and old food wrappers piled up on the dresser.
In contrast, if you wake up in a clean room, you will feel energized and ready to take on the day.
3. Goal to Pursue
“Simply having goals can make us happier and more confident.” — Meg Jay, MPhD
I had projects I was excited to work on that day.
We all need a reason to get out of bed each morning. Goals are the building blocks of our personality and the motivating factors in our lives. Having a goal that you are excited to pursue will give you an extra boost when waking up.
Examples of goals include:
—training for a race
— writing a book
— volunteering at a shelter
— gaining an education
— getting a promotion
— mastering a new recipe
— reading a book
— losing weight
— getting a new job
— earning a certification
— learning a new skill
“I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.” — Julie Andrews
I woke up thinking, “Wow, it’s a beautiful day outside. Wow, I have a cute kid.”
Being grateful is one of the most powerful things you can do. One study found that participants who wrote down a list of positive events each day experienced a greater sense of calm and lower stress levels.
Gratitude keeps your mind focused on the good things in your life. Spend five minutes or less each morning meditating on what you are grateful for. Then write those things down in a journal. Consistently practicing gratitude boosts your mood and improves your outlook on the future.
5. Time With Loved Ones
“Countless studies have found that social relationships are the best guarantee of heightened well-being and lowered stress.” — Shawn Achor
I spent some undistracted time with my family.
Being with our loved ones can make us feel cherished and safe. We are creatures who are hardwired for connection. So starting each morning off bonding with those we love increases our happiness.
Since mornings are busy, this doesn’t have to be time consuming or intricate. But be fully present and intentional with this time.
Time with loved ones can be as simple as:
— a family group hug
— 5 minutes of cuddles in bed
— a one-song dance party
— reading a book together
— sending a text to a family member/friend
— praying together
— eating breakfast together
— taking a quick walk together
“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
We had a dance party.
Waking up and dancing to your favorite song is a great way to lift your spirits. Exercise boosts your mood and improves both your mental and physical health. So do a quick dance around your room every morning to tap into these benefits.
Pick your favorite song that energizes you, blast it, and just move your body for the entire song. This is a fun exercise to get your body moving, your blood flowing, and your energy levels up.
We use this tactic when our kids wake up grumpy or if we know it’s going to be a long day. We turn on “Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy and everyone dances in their own way. It really works.
7. Prepped Breakfast
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” — Virginia Woolf
We had a healthy breakfast prepped and ready to go.
Starting your day off with a balanced breakfast is a great way to add a boost of energy to your morning. It doesn’t have to be a big meal, although it can be if you want. Simple, nutrient packed meals like eggs or oatmeal are great easy options, too.
Having your breakfast prepped is an even better way to start the day off right. Waking up to a pre-made breakfast will eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress in your mornings, keeping your mood high.
Be sure to include an extra large glass of water with your breakfast. Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, increased heart rate, and more. All of which can zap you of your happiness.
Research on happiness found that being happy consists of two things: a positive mood in the present and a positive outlook for the future. The goal of these seven tactics is to boost your current mood and improve your outlook.
When we wake up happier, we feel ready to take on the day. We can be more present for our loved ones. We can be more energetic at work. We can make healthier decisions.