How you spend your mornings has a big impact on your mental and physical well-being.
Making time for activities that bring joy and enrich your life sets the tone for a productive day.
On the other hand, if you repeatedly hit snooze and go through the motions in zombie mode, you end up feeling groggy for hours.
Which option seems preferable?
Here are 6 morning rituals of people who are happy and successful.
It’s never too late to incorporate a few into your routine.
1) They have something to look forward to
I hate getting out of bed in the morning.
As a night owl, I don’t function well in the first hours of the day.
Until recently, I used to drag myself from under the covers, pour approximately one gallon of coffee down my throat, cross my fingers, and hope that my foul mood would eventually wash away.
It rarely did.
What I found even more frustrating was that I knew better.
I’m passionate about self-development, and I love reading books or articles on how to improve your life.
But while I’ve had the same pleasant morning routine for years, I never cracked the code on how to actually want to jump out of bed and get on with things.
It all changed when I decided to schedule one activity every day that excites me.
I think about it the night before and find a way to pencil it in.
Sometimes, I write it on a Post-it note and stick it to the lamp on my nightstand, so it’s the first thing I see when I wake up.
Turns out, it makes a world of difference.
It doesn’t have to be anything monumental.
Drinks with a friend. Trying a new face mask. Ordering dinner from my favorite restaurant. Listening to a vinyl record while tuning out the world.
Knowing that I’ll be doing something that day that puts a smile on my face makes it easier to leave the comfy pillow behind.
Give it a go. It’s a small habit that helps you start your day more energized.
2) They don’t check their phone
Checking your phone immediately upon waking exposes you to anxiety-inducing information.
Work emails. News alerts. Social media updates.
Your brain isn’t properly awake yet, and you’re bombarding it with information, triggering a stress response.
No wonder your cortisol levels are through the roof.
Happy and successful people don’t do that. Instead, they give themselves time to wake up and start the day on their terms.
When you’re deep in emails 5 minutes after opening your eyes, you allow other people to influence your mood and schedule.
If you still use your phone alarm, you’ll be tempted to check those notifications. Don’t make it harder for yourself to stay away from the magical brick.
Get an alarm clock. It will change your life for the better.
3) They move their bodies
Moving your body in the morning increases blood flow and stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural mood elevators.
In other words, it makes you happier.
I’m not a fan of physical activity, but I found that even low-intensity movement has a remarkable effect on my energy, taking me from sluggish to perky in record time.
Schedule a workout class, hit the gym, or go for a walk in the first hour after waking up.
You can multitask and use this time to catch up on a podcast, listen to feel-good music, or immerse yourself in an audiobook.
If you don’t feel like leaving the house, stretch for a few minutes or do a YouTube workout.
You’ll notice the benefits in no time.
4) They make the bed
Making your bed seems like one of those mundane and repetitive chores that doesn’t add much to your life.
In my early 20s, when I first lived on my own, I rarely made it. Why bother when I would curl up into it in just a few hours’ time?
Fast-forward a decade, give or take, and I now religiously throw a duvet cover on it every single day.
Here’s the thing: starting the day with a small accomplishment boosts your motivation to tackle other tasks throughout the day.
It sounds silly, but it’s true. Ask any happy and successful person you know.
Moreover, making your bed reduces clutter-related stress.
I don’t know about you, but whenever my environment is messy, my brain feels messy, too. I find it more difficult to focus.
Making the bed creates a sense of order in my space. As I work from home, it’s one less distraction to worry about.
And if you go into the office, coming home to a tidy bedroom provides a sense of comfort and relaxation.
Isn’t that a treat?
5) They practice gratitude
The morning ritual that has the biggest impact on my mental health is journaling.
I’ve been doing it on and off since my teens, but I started to take it more seriously over the last few years.
Journaling allows me to empty my mind, relieve stress, get to know myself better, and put my jumbled thoughts into a resemblance of order.
I end my entries by listing three things I’m grateful for, which shifts my perspective away from negative thoughts and emotions.
While I know that journaling isn’t for everyone, I’m certain that practicing gratitude is.
Remembering that you have things in your life to give thanks for comes with numerous benefits:
- It increases feelings of happiness and contentment
- It helps you develop a more optimistic outlook on life
- It makes you feel more confident and capable
- It improves your ability to bounce back from adversity
- It can be a catalyst for personal growth
Incorporating gratitude into your life can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal or taking a few moments in the morning to reflect on the things you appreciate.
It’s easy to lose sight of what you have and focus solely on the things you lack.
Practicing gratitude prevents that.
6) They plan their day
Finally, an essential morning ritual among happy and successful people is planning their day.
Planning allows you to prioritize tasks and allocate the right amount of time for activities, which helps you accomplish more in less time.
When you have a never-ending to-do list, sitting down to figure out what’s urgent or important reduces the likelihood of last-minute cram sessions and missed deadlines.
It also keeps you on track to achieve both short-term and long-term objectives.
For instance, it would be more difficult for me to find time to read, connect with my friends, and work on my side hustles if I didn’t add those tasks to my to-do list.
As a freelance writer without a rigid schedule, I tend to get lost in the work.
I would simply wake up, write, have dinner, and go to bed. My work-life balance would be non-existent.
Planning my leisure-time activities in tandem with my work tasks reminds me to occasionally chill.
Some people like to plan the evening before, but I’m a fan of tackling this task in the morning.
It makes me feel better prepared for the day ahead.
A good morning routine is invaluable.
It also creates a sense of control, keeping your stress levels in check.
In the age of speed and distraction, starting your days slowly enhances your ability to think clearly and be more present.
A happier and more fulfilling life.