The art of happiness: 8 ways joyful people start their day

Happiness is an art, and like any art, it requires practice. We all know those people that just seem to radiate joy, don’t we?

Starting the day off on the right foot can have a profound impact on our mood and productivity. I’ve found this to be true in my own life, and as the founder of Hack Spirit and a devoted student of mindfulness and Buddhism, I’ve spent a lot of time studying joy.

I’ve discovered that joyful people often have certain habits they incorporate into their morning routine. They don’t just wake up happy, they set the stage for a fulfilling day.

In this article, I’ll share some simple yet effective strategies that can help you cultivate your own morning routine of joy.

Let’s get started. 

1) They rise with intention

Joyful people don’t just roll out of bed. They rise. They start the day with intention.

In mindfulness practice, intention is everything. It’s the difference between going through the motions and truly living. It’s the difference between a day that feels like a chore and a day that feels like a gift.

Starting the day with intention means putting thought into how you want your day to unfold. It’s about visualizing how you want to feel, what you want to achieve, and how you plan to interact with the world around you.

This doesn’t mean joyful people have every moment of their day planned out in advance. Far from it, in fact. But they do make a conscious decision to approach the day with positivity and purpose.

It’s a simple habit that sets the tone for the rest of the day. By starting off on a positive note, they’re more likely to attract positive experiences and maintain that joyful state of mind throughout the day.

Tomorrow morning, try it out. Rise with intention, and see how it changes your day.

2) They practice gratitude

Another quality I’ve noticed in joyful people is their active practice of gratitude.

I can vouch for the power of gratitude from my own experience. Each morning, I make a point to think of at least three things I’m grateful for. It helps me start the day with a sense of abundance and appreciation, rather than focusing on what’s lacking.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Buddhist monk and mindfulness advocate, once said: “Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others.”

Gratitude is about acknowledging that gift. By recognizing the good in our lives, we create a positive mental space that fosters happiness.

It’s a small habit with big payoffs, and one that’s worth incorporating into your morning routine.

3) They embrace impermanence

There’s a powerful concept in Buddhism known as ‘anicca’, or impermanence. It’s the idea that everything in life is temporary and constantly changing.

Joyful people understand this profound truth and integrate it into their morning routines. They don’t cling to the way things were yesterday or worry about what tomorrow might bring. Instead, they focus on the present moment, embracing each new day as a fresh start.

This acceptance of impermanence allows them to let go of expectations and approach the day with an open mind. They understand that each morning offers new opportunities and challenges, and they’re ready to adapt and flow with whatever comes their way.

This mindset isn’t about ignoring difficulties or pretending that everything is always perfect.

It’s about accepting the reality of change and finding joy in the ability to continually grow and evolve. It’s a raw, honest approach to life that breeds genuine happiness.

4) They live in the moment

Living in the moment – it’s a phrase we hear often. But what does it really mean?

In mindfulness practice, it means fully engaging with the present, instead of getting caught up in thoughts about the past or future. It’s about focusing on what’s happening right now, this very second.

Joyful people have mastered this art. They start their day by truly experiencing the little moments, whether it’s the warmth of the morning sun on their skin, the taste of their breakfast, or the sound of birds chirping outside their window.

They don’t just rush through their mornings in a haze, thinking about the tasks that lie ahead. Instead, they take time to savor each moment, finding joy and contentment in the now.

This practice of mindfulness can transform ordinary moments into extraordinary ones. It lets us experience life more fully, and in doing so, enhances our overall happiness and well-being.

5) They practice self-awareness

Self-awareness is a cornerstone of mindfulness and a key to happiness. It’s about understanding our thoughts, emotions, and reactions, and how they shape our experiences.

As someone who has spent years studying and practicing mindfulness, I can tell you that the journey to self-awareness is fascinating, though not always easy. But it’s absolutely worth it.

In my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego, I delve into this concept further and provide practical guidance on cultivating self-awareness.

Joyful people make self-awareness a priority every morning. They might meditate, journal, or simply reflect on their feelings and intentions for the day. By doing this, they cultivate a deeper understanding of themselves, which in turn leads to greater happiness.

Happiness isn’t a destination – it’s a journey. And self-awareness is an essential part of that journey.

6) They cultivate compassion

Compassion is a fundamental tenet in both Buddhism and mindfulness. It’s about recognizing the suffering in ourselves and others, and actively seeking to alleviate it.

Joyful people understand that their own happiness is intertwined with the happiness of those around them. They start each day by practicing compassion, whether it’s through meditation, acts of kindness, or simply sending good thoughts to others.

But this isn’t always easy. Compassion requires us to confront suffering, which can be uncomfortable and difficult. Yet, it’s in these raw and honest moments that we often find our deepest joy.

By fostering compassion, we not only help others but also cultivate a sense of inner peace and contentment. It’s a powerful way to start the day, and a habit that can profoundly impact our overall happiness.

7) They practice acceptance

Acceptance is a key principle in both mindfulness and Buddhism. It’s about acknowledging reality as it is, rather than how we wish it to be.

Joyful people don’t waste their mornings resisting what they can’t change. Instead, they practice acceptance. They understand that not every day will be perfect and not every situation will go their way. And that’s okay.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a renowned mindfulness expert, once said: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

This quote beautifully encapsulates the idea of acceptance. Life will throw challenges our way, but instead of fighting them, we can learn to navigate them.

This doesn’t mean being passive or resigned. It means recognizing what’s within our control and what isn’t.

It’s a raw and honest approach that allows us to live more fully in the present and find happiness despite life’s inevitable ups and downs.

8) They make room for silence

In a world that’s constantly buzzing with noise and distractions, this practice might seem counterintuitive. But joyful people understand the power of silence.

Mindfulness teaches us that silence isn’t empty. It’s full of answers. It’s in those quiet moments that we can truly tune into our thoughts, feelings, and intuition.

Joyful people consciously carve out time for silence each morning. This could be through meditation, a quiet walk, or simply sitting with a cup of tea. These moments of stillness allow them to connect deeply with themselves and set a peaceful tone for the day.

So, don’t be afraid of silence. Embrace it. You might be surprised by what you discover in those quiet moments.


Happiness isn’t something that happens to us. It’s something we cultivate through our thoughts, actions, and routines. And starting our day off right is a big part of that.

Remember, these aren’t just habits. They’re ways of experiencing life more fully. They’re about connecting deeply with ourselves and the world around us.

I delve deeper into these practices and their roots in Buddhist wisdom in my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego. If you found this article helpful, I believe you’ll find the book enlightening.

So tomorrow morning, give these practices a try. You might just find that they transform not just your mornings, but your entire approach to life. Here’s to living with joy!

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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