8 Things Happy & Healthy People Do Every Morning
For many of us, mornings begin in a rushed panic. We allow our alarm clocks to buzz at least a dozen times before we decide we have to get out of bed. Then we rush around our homes half-awake trying to get ready for our day. In a hurry, we stub our toe on the bedpost, forget to put on deodorant, and don't pack a lunch because we simply don't have time.
It's no wonder that so many folks despise the thought of being awake before 9 a.m.!
So it may not surprise you to know that the happiest and healthiest of people tend to actually enjoy their mornings. They appear to thrive on waking up with the sun and look forward to a new day of possibilities. These people have humble morning rituals that increase their own sense of well-being and give their day purpose.
Here are some morning habits that healthy and happy people tend to share:
They wake up with a sense of gratitude.
Practicing gratitude is associated with a sense of overall happiness and a better mood—so it makes sense that the happiest and healthiest people we know start the day with a gratitude practice. This means that they're truly appreciative of their life and all of its little treasures. They practice small acts of gratitude in the morning by expressing thankfulness to their partner each morning before they rise from bed. They may also write about their gratefulness for five minutes each morning in a journal that they keep by their bedside.
They begin anew each and every morning.
The happiest and healthiest people know that every day is a brand-new day—a chance to start over and do something different. Yesterday may have been a complete failure for them, but today is a new day for success and adventure. Individuals who aren't ruined by one bad day are resilient creatures. Resiliency is a telltale sign of having purpose and happiness.
They take part in affirmation, meditation, or prayer.
Many of the happiest folks alive are spiritual. Affirmations are a way of reminding ourselves of all that we have going for us, and they allow us to engrain in our minds the kind of person we wish to be. Meditation helps keep our mind focused, calms our nerves, and supports inner peace. If you're already spiritual, prayer is a great way to connect and give thanks for whatever higher power you believe in.
Happy people even use affirmations to declare how their day will go. Steve Jobs' morning routine used to start by looking in the mirror and asking himself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" It's also said that Benjamin Franklin asked himself each morning, "What good shall I do today?" Take some time to figure out a question, affirmation, meditation, or prayer that resonates with you, and try to work it into your morning routine.
Some healthy and happy people read a bit of scripture each morning, while others read inspiring stories to get their day started. Either way, they make it a ritual to read self-improvement literature to stretch and grow their insight and knowledge. Not only does it start their day off on a positive note, but it also fills their minds with new ideas to guide them through their day.
They keep things simple and don't rush out the door.
Complex morning routines are difficult to stick to and set us up for failure. The best morning routines are simple and are able to be prepped for the night before. Picking out your work attire, preparing your lunch, setting your coffee to brew—these are all things you can do the night before that set you up for a calm, simple morning. A simple routine limits any multitasking that most people feel they must do in the morning to make it to work on time. Multitasking can create stress and anxiety, as well as steal your peace during your first waking hours.
Exercise boosts levels of health-promoting brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress and also relieve some symptoms of depression. Exercise is a big enough priority that healthy, happy folks tend to do it first thing in the morning so that they don't have to try to make time later in the day for it. (They also recognize that willpower is strongest in the morning.)
Plus, morning exercise gets the blood flowing and gives them more energy throughout the day. One study1 published in the Journal of Health Psychology discovered that working out improved how people felt about their physical bodies, even if they didn't lose weight or gain any noticeable improvements in their physique. Just one more reason to hit the gym!
They get some fresh air.
Morning walks are beneficial for all creatures. Walking is also proven to stimulate creativity in the brain, which isn't a bad way to start the day either.
If you have a dog, walk it. Walking your dog a mile or two in the morning is a form of much-needed exercise for humans and dogs alike. Not to mention, you'll get a much-needed dose of crisp morning air, which promotes a sense of vitality. If you're pet-less, take a stroll yourself! There's nothing like nature to soothe the mind.
They practice being present in the moment.
Whether they go on a morning walk with their dog or sit in their favorite chair by the window, taking the time to appreciate their environment can be invigorating and gets folks excited about their day. Being present connects and grounds them to what is really important in the moment. There is a certain kind of wisdom that comes with being a witness to your own life.
There you have it—a foolproof list of morning habits that will set you on track toward a healthier and happier you. And if you have other healthy habits in mind that you want to take on, go ahead—add them to your list!
Naomi Teeter is a nutritionist and health and wellness coach practicing in Spokane, Washington. She has a bachelor's in psychology from Gonzaga University, and is a former group fitness instructor. Teeter helps her clients heal their relationship with food, their bodies, and themselves while losing unwanted weight. She is the author of Transformative Tactics and creator of Inspire Transformation Academy. Teeter has been featured in publiciations like Runner's World, Cosmopolitan, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, People Magazine, Shape Magazine, and 50 other global media outlets.