We all need some help feeling upbeat and energized these days, when every piece of news seems increasingly gloomy. That’s why we asked experts for their best advice about resetting our attitude and spirit first thing in the morning for a more positive, productive day.
1. Take five big breaths.
If she wakes up in a bad mood, Alionka Polanco, a life coach in New York City, says “I don’t get out of bed without trying to change that.” And what she does is simple. “Take five deep breaths while thinking of your body and how lucky you are to be alive,” she says. “Then forgive yourself for anything that’s causing you stress or that you’re hanging on to.”
2. Scream and/or shout.
As a respectable adult, you probably try not to raise your voice. But sometimes it can be cathartic (especially when no one can hear you). Carmen Parks, a life coach in Arizona recommends, “Do whatever you need to do to express every bad mood, bad attitude and bad feeling you’re experiencing. Get it out of you as soon as possible. Expressing how you’re feeling allows you to feel it, validate it and then move on. If you allow those thoughts and feeling associated with a bad mood to fester, they block everything else and just get trapped in your head.”
3. Give your bad mood a time limit.
It’s almost like giving yourself a time out. Life coach Sarah Stewart, MSW, CPC, says, “By setting a time limit to feel and experience your bad mood and then letting it go, you’re taking back your own power.” “The trick is to not go too long, typically no more than 5 or 10 minutes. And don’t feed or fuel your bad mood with more negative energy. Recognize it, set a time limit and then let it float away.”
4. Think of two reasons you want to get out of bed.
It might be tempting to pull the covers over your head, permanently. On those mornings, Jennifer Coleman, a life coach in North Carolina, suggests focusing on two specific things you’re excited about, even if it’s as small as a breakfast muffin and calling a friend. Those simple incentives can help propel you out of bed and trick your mind into positivity.
5. Hold a real smile for 20 seconds.
Consider the last time someone really made you laugh. A genuine full laugh boosts your endorphins and that good feeling can last for hours. Parks says thinking about one of those memories and holding a smile for 20 seconds will spill over into the rest of your day. “The act of smiling reminds your brain of enjoyable experiences and happy memories,” she notes. “You can change your mood or attitude by changing your body language or behavior.”
6. Smell something that makes you happy.
Scent can bring you back to a time when you were comfortable and at ease. It may be your mother’s favorite scented candle, your best friend’s room spray or the reed diffuser at your favorite spa. Light the candle, spray the room, inhale the scent first thing in the morning—even if you usually reserve these things for special occasions.
7. Do 15 jumping jacks.
Or hold a plank for a minute. Or live-stream a new workout. Anything that’s active and will perk you up. “This has a couple of benefits. First, it gets your blood flowing and wakes you up before your shower,” Parks says. “It also helps your brain produce endorphins: those feel-good, mood-boosting hormones.” Researchers have found that even short bursts of intense exercise—as little as seven minutes a day—can improve your mood and your fitness.
8. Eat a healthy breakfast.
According to The Harris School of Business, a healthy breakfast is crucial for re-energizing your body after a night of slumber. Whether you opt for eggs, fruits or whole grains, breakfast gives your brain and body the essential nutrients it needs to perform throughout the day. Another benefit of having breakfast is that it can drastically improve your mood. When you fuel your body with nutritious foods in the morning, this will kickstart your mind to begin each day with a happier attitude. That being said, don’t forget to give your body a stretch after your food digests!
9. Notice the beauty around you.
“My favorite mood booster is beauty. By beauty, I mean things that tickle your senses and make you feel good,” says Pam Bauer, a life coach in Texas. “Do not underestimate the power of beauty to lift your spirits. The best part is that there are no rules—you get to choose your favorites.” When you wake up, look out the window. Take a moment to absorb the beauty of the world outside and encourage your mind to focus more on what you do have instead of what you don’t.