If you’ve ever gotten out of bed feeling sad, angry or frustrated—thinking about how poorly you slept, what’s on your agenda or people who are bothering you—you know it’s the worst way to kick off the day. According to a SleepCycle survey, men across the world wake up in better moods than women. However, women do experience their most joyful mornings on Saturdays. To carry that cheery weekend vibe through the rest of the week, we got happiness gurus to share their insights. Learn to smile when the sun comes up with these tips.
Go to bed earlier.
The best thing you can do for your morning mood is to actually get enough shut-eye, says Christine Carter, PhD, author of The Sweet Spot and Raising Happiness. Shut down your screens just a half hour to 45 minutes earlier than you normally do. That way, you’re more likely to get those seven to nine hours and you won’t wake up feeling groggy and irritated.
Open the shades.
If you sleep with your blinds partially open, like Carter, your circadian rhythm will sync with the sunrise. The light will cue your body that it’s time to get up, which is a peaceful way to awaken. If brightness keeps you from getting sound zzz’s, pull back the shades when your alarm goes off so you still get some natural sunlight before you start moving.
Set encouraging goals.
While lying in bed, take a minute to think about what you want to happen in your day. “Your intentions create your reality, and what you focus on first thing in the morning can have a powerful impact on your day,” says Gabrielle Bernstein, motivational speaker, life coach and author of Miracles Now. You might aim to have a positive chat with your husband, share stellar ideas at work or just make your kids laugh. Whatever it is, say it out loud or write it in a journal.
“Starting your day with gratitude can also increase your happiness,” says Carter. So besides stating your daily goals, mention or jot down what you’re thankful for in the a.m. The challenge is to appreciate something different each morning.
Send love to your foes.
It may sound difficult to wish the best for coworkers or friends who cause you stress, but Bernstein promises it’ll give you a more upbeat outlook on life. Say a silent prayer for the people you’ve been resenting and wish them success and happiness.
If you check your work email or worldly news prior to putting your feet on the ground, you’re bound to feel some anxiety, says Bernstein. “Give yourself time to begin the day with clarity and peace,” she says. Refrain from picking up that smartphone for the first hour after opening your eyes.
Establish a routine.
People tend to feel calmer when they follow the same schedule every day, says Carter. Create one that works for you—and gets you out the door without rushing. You should do the same activities in the same order, so you can work on autopilot during those early hours.
Mind your nutrition.
Most people wake up dehydrated, which can put tension on the body and leave your mind more prone to angst. Carter suggests counteracting that response by downing a full glass of water. Eating within an hour of waking up will also stabilize blood sugar levels, which helps elevate your mood. But hold off on that cup of coffee until midmorning (around 10 o'clock) at the office. “This will increase concentration, without causing the body stress,” Carter says.