Not only does the morning set the tone and create momentum for the day, it is what starting the engine is to a race car…if your engine won't start or sputters, you can't win the race to be happy, healthy and productive in your life.
Yet too many times I see people wasting their mornings, lose momentum for the day and limp into their afternoon with a feeling of being stuck in a rut and simply "putting in" another day instead of taking control and making this day a happy one.
So how do you make sure you start each morning the right way?
1. It Starts With A Good Night's Sleep
Ok, so I cheated a little by going back to the night before, but waking up happy has a great deal to do with getting a solid, restful, quality 6-7 hours of sleep. Too many people make the mistake of irregular bedtimes, staying up late playing video games (where the mind cannot relax or rest), struggle with digestive problems such as heartburn and acid reflux or simply have too much stress to manage in their lives resulting in a poor sleep. It's very tough to wake up happy and get your day going by 8AM if you struggled to get rest the night before.
2. Give Yourself Time To Wake Up Slowly
Nothing gets my day off to a worse start than waking up too late and having to rush to get out the door. You simply add to the stress of the day, haven't let your body adapt to being awake, probably have not nourished your body properly and now head out the door in a state of frustration, anger, stress or even fear of being late for work or an appointment. Whatever the sensation is, it certainly is not happiness. Setting your alarm to allow you an extra 10-15 minutes helps offset any surprises in your morning routine and keep most mornings peaceful and happy.
3. Meditation and Relaxation
In Attracting Greatness I share the story of how I went through some major health challenges in my mid-twenties (since then discovering that MANY others have gone through similar experiences) where my body was so weakened with stress that it attracted nearly every bad thing going…a near non-existent immune system, parasite and yeast overgrowth, chemical imbalances, sudden allergies that I had never previously had, fuzzy brain, and even partial paralysis set in not to mention the digestive disorders symptomatic of irritable bowel syndrome. After months of struggles outlined in the book, once we got hold of each imbalance, a morning ritual of 20-minutes meditating became THE most important change I could have ever made in my life. To this day, I owe incredible improvements in health, energy and happiness to the regular practice of meditation. Mornings are a great time to get that first session of meditation in helping you deal with whatever the day brings.
4. It's A New Day With New Chances & Opportunities
A wonderful thing I learned from my grandmother when I was barely 5-years old is to completely wash off the previous day each morning and treat today as a brand new day with new opportunities, new chances for peace and happiness. Getting into this habit is one of the most liberating practices you can learn in life allowing you to start each day happy regardless of what happened the day before.
5. What Are You Grateful For?
Have you ever noticed that left unaltered, your mind often automatically jumps to the negatives, the challenges and what may go wrong today rather than focusing on the positives and what WILL go right? One of the most destructive forces of human nature is how our minds jump to the negative instead of the positive – this is especially true when we start our day. You may even remember lying in bed, before you even get moving for the day fretting over a meeting, task or relationship that you will have to face that day. Instead, try substituting gratitude for those negative thoughts. What are you grateful for? Have a list nearby so that you can focus for 5-10 minutes as you wake up, take a shave, have your bath or shower or even on the drive to work to reflect on what you are gracious for. You will be amazed at how much better this will make you feel.
6. Start With The Most Important
I know that first thing in the morning is my chance to tackle the really important tasks in the day. The prerequisite is, of course, knowing what is MOST important to you and keeping that top of mind. If you fail to tackle the most important and instead get sidetracked by less important tasks, activities or thoughts then you will not be happy and will often lose ground through the day. To be happy, expand your energy and really make the most out of your day, grab the tasks that are most important first.
What About You?
Are you happy when you wake up in the morning? What is your routine and can you think of 1 change that may make the biggest difference in your happiness? Leave us a comment.