Blame it on a bad night’s sleep, too many cocktails last night or just that you’re feeling a little less like yourself, but sometimes we all wake up on the wrong side of the bed. While no one expects you to be fully positive and happy 24/7, there are key benefits to making sure your mental health and clarity are at the top of your priority list. And just like breakfast can set the tone for your eating habits, where you focus your mind and attention sets the tone for your entire day.
“Feeling positive in the morning sets the foundation for your day,” certified life coach Pam Bauer says. “Beginning your day in a good mood will make you feel more motivated, open, optimistic, creative and ready to make a difference in everything you do.”
If you need some help getting there, don’t worry. Here, life coaches and experts share their best advice for boosting your mood before 8 a.m.
1. Smell something that makes you happy.
Scent is often referred to as the strongest sense tied to your memories—and for good reason: It can bring you back to a time in your life when you were comfortable and at ease. Bauer says taking a moment to revisit a happy place via your nose will help calm and renew you. Maybe you still buy the same fragrant candle, room spray or reed diffuser that your mom used when you were a kid or the aroma of fresh-baked bread takes you back to afternoons you spent with your grandfather. Whatever it is, keep it handy in your house as a mood booster when you need it. Or, if you can find an essential oil that reminds you of a happy time, make an investment in the fragrances you love the most.
2. Hold a real smile for 20 seconds.
Consider the last time someone really made you laugh. Maybe it was a friend who sent you a ridiculous (but so timely and appropriate) GIF via Gchat. Or when you watched your friend’s baby topple over when trying to walk. Those belly laughs boost your endorphins because they come from a genuine, unexpected place. Life coach Carmen Parks says thinking about one of those past memories in which you were truly happy and content and holding a smile for 20 seconds will make you want to keep on smiling. “The act of smiling reminds your brain of enjoyable experiences and happy memories. You can change your mood or attitude by changing your body language or behavior,” she explains.
Related Read: 7 Things That Could Be Aging Your Smile
3. Watch the beauty around you.
“My favorite mood booster is beauty. By beauty, I mean things that tickle your senses and make you feel good,” Bauer says. “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 first wake up, open the blinds and look around. What do you see? You could put a bird feeder outside or an indoor plant on your ledge. Anything that’s full of life and reminds you of the beauty around you can help encourage your mind to focus more on what you do have instead of what you don’t.
4. Take five big ol’ breaths.
“Some days, waking up in a funk is inevitable. This goes for everyone—me included! When this happens, I don’t get out of bed without trying to change that,” personal life and success coach Alionka Polanco says. Her key to getting out of her head and back into her life? She breathes! Yep, it’s as simple as that: “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.” By putting your focus on your breath and these positive, reinforcing thoughts, you stop coming up with reasons about why your day is going to go poorly, and instead set yourself up for an upbeat day.
5. Eat something healthy for breakfast.
A recent study that looked at what and how often school-age kids were eating found that breakfast is so important that it’s healthy to eat it twice—once at home and once at the office. Life coach Jennifer Coleman echoes these findings and suggests to get your mind on the right track, you can start with your body: “Choose to feed your body healthy proteins, grains and fruits,” she recommends. “After you let your food digest, give your body a stretch and a shake and get moving.”
Related Read: 5 Foods You Didn’t Know Are Great for Your Skin
6. Scream it out.
Remember when you lived at home with your folks and you couldn’t actually scream or you’d get grounded? As an adult, you likely don’t even consider letting out a blood-curdling scream or having a temper tantrum. But why not? Parks says releasing your tension by just doing what you really want to do can help. “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 fester, they block everything else and just get trapped in your head,” she says.
7. Think of two reasons why you want to get out of bed.
So on some days—like when it’s pouring outside and you have back-to-back meetings all day—it might be tough to think of two reasons why you want to leave your mountain of pillows. But Coleman says that stretching your mind to focus on gratitude or things you’re excited about can help get you thinking about things that bring you joy. Even if your only reason to move is to not leave your co-worker hanging or to splurge on something unhealthy for lunch—that’s enough to trick your mind into positivity.
8. Do 15 jumping jacks.
Or go for a run! Or hold a plank for a minute. Anything that’s active and will wake 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 that your brain naturally produces during exercise.”
Related Read: 4 Great Workouts That Support Skin Health
9. Give your bad mood a time limit.
Seriously though: Put yourself in time out! Life coach and author Sarah Stewart, MSW, CPC, says sometimes you need to feel your way through your sour attitude before you can truly let go of it. But you can’t do that all day or you’ll waste energy that could have been used to make you happy and productive. “By setting a time limit to feel and experience your bad mood and then letting it go, you’re taking back your own power,” she explains. “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.”