7 Ways To Start Your Day Off On A Positive Note
Written By: Melissa Fiorenza
Some of us wake up to the monotonous beep-beep-beep of an alarm clock. Some of us are stirred by the way-too-early “Mommmmy, Daddddy” shouts of an energetic toddler who’s ready to take on the world, or perhaps an adorably intrusive dog who’s eager to get outside. But however it is you wake up in the morning, there are ways to make it a more peaceful, positive experience that kicks off your day in the right direction. It might take a while to get into your new routine, or it may even mean trying something you once considered silly; but when you’re skipping out the door feeling good, it’s so worth it. Here’s what other people suggest.
1. Show off your pearly whites—to yourself.
You’ve heard it before: the most important person you should be kind to is yourself. But in the rush of frenzied mornings, that’s easy to forget. Arlene Dijamco, MD, an integrative physician based in Georgia, suggests, “When getting ready in front of the mirror, it’s a great idea to give yourself a big smile. Usually, we are critiquing our hair, or the circles under our eyes, or a new blemish that’s popped up overnight.” Instead, she says, look at your beautiful self and send yourself lots of love and compassion. Smiling never hurt anyone, right?
2. Get in some exercise.
That post-workout feeling is always amazing, so why not use it as a way to embrace the day? You could sign up for a 6am fitness class or click over to a YouTube video—or, do what Lori Cheek does, a NYC-based founder and CEO of Cheekd, a hyper speed Bluetooth mobile dating app that removes the “missed” from “missed connections." As soon as she wakes up, she starts the coffee maker, rolls out her yoga mat, and does 30 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 3 rounds of one-minute planks followed by a quick stretch. “It takes less than 20 minutes,” she says, “and not only does it get my heart pumping and immediately wake me up, it gives me a calm start to the day! Then I grab my coffee, crack open my laptop and begin the entrepreneurial grind already 200 calories lighter! So first thing in the morning, I’m already feeling healthier, stronger, and motivated to conquer the day with a fresh mind and body.” (Feeling ambitious? Hit up your staircase for these stair HIIT workouts.)
3. Say thanks.
An article on Harvard Health Publishing sums it up perfectly: “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” So, try starting your day with appreciation. Cassie Chilton, a bar manager in Brenham, Texas, told us, “Every day, I wake up and say thank you! Thank you to the universe. Thank you to my higher power. Thank you to Mother Nature, and thank you to myself.” She also tells herself three little things, that we absolutely love: 1) You are capable. 2) I love you and who you have become. 3) You are smart and I trust your soul. “I feel alive all day and I hope that I bring joy to those that I am around and serve each day.” What are you grateful you? Tomorrow, say it out loud and see how it makes you feel.
4. Wake up an hour earlier for “me” time.
Yes, an hour earlier! Take it from Darcy, an advertising executive in New York and mom of three very active girls who’s been waking up before everyone else since when her kids were very young. “I spend the hour before I need to be in the shower drinking my precious cup of coffee, reading my latest book, scrolling my Instagram, browsing Pinterest, or catching up on the news,” she says. “Allowing myself to have this time completely changes the way that I react to the mornings now. What was once a crazy rat race of rushing and extended sighs is now a slice of pure heaven.”
5. Put on some good music.
Take a second to think about what kind of music immediately puts you in a happy mood. Maybe it’s the soothing sounds of jazz, or the upbeat tempo of today’s latest pop hits. Whatever it is, turn it on in the AM. Studies have shown that the “feel-good” neurochemical dopamine is released when we listen to music—that same chemical that’s associated with feeling pleasure when we eat or sleep for example. Want a couple song recs? Jason Patel, the founder of college prep company Transizion, recommends "Right Above It" by Lil Wayne or "Summer" by Calvin Harris. “These are songs that will get your brain going. They're upbeat and will give you a good mood despite your groggy condition,” he says.
6. Look forward to something specific.
We love this tip from Lynn R. Zakeri, a clinical therapist in the Chicago area. For some of her clients with depression, it can be really difficult some mornings to get out of bed, let alone find a good reason to do so. One of the suggestions she offers them: Pre-plan the night before. “Decide before you fall asleep why you are looking forward to tomorrow,” she says. “What will feel good? What will you look forward to? What can you do that will be satisfying? That way, when the alarm goes off, and you are tired, you already have your ‘what's the point of waking up’ answer.” You can put this on a piece of paper right next to your bed as well, she suggests.
7. Turn off your brain.
Another strategy from Zakeri: stop thinking when you get up. “The mind is so powerful, and when it is warm and cozy in your bed, and cold and dark when you have to wake up, perhaps to a morning of stress, take the thinking out of it,” she recommends. “Set the coffee timer the night before. Put your clothes (or even better—workout clothes!) in the bathroom ready to put on without a decision on whether or not you should get dressed. Do actions instead of feelings,” she explains. “Once you are awake, and in a better mindset of committing to staying out of bed, you can then access your feelings about the day. Then ask yourself how you can make the day a better day based on what you have to do vs. what you can choose to do for pleasure.”
Intrigued on this topic? Read more about the power of positivity.