7 tips for happier mornings
There are plenty of good reasons for starting each and every day as well as you possibly can. Here are some ways to make sure you get out of the right side of the bed and ease yourself into things with a positive, calm attitude
Sleep with the blinds halfway open
The natural light of the rising sun will send a signal to your brain to slow down its production of melatonin and bump up your levels of adrenaline, an indication that it's time to wake up. When the alarm goes off, you'll already be half awake.
Set your alarm 15 minutes ahead
That way you don't have to jump out of bed and rush through your morning. You can begin the day instead by lying in bed, slowly waking up. Have a stretch, listen to the news headlines and mentally run through what you're going to have for breakfast. It's just as important to prepare yourself mentally as well as physically for your day. These few minutes in bed, before anyone else is up, are all yours.
Stretch your entire body
Stretch every extremity on your body for at least 15 seconds. Try this even before you open your eyes. Lift your arm and begin by stretching each finger, then your hand, then your wrist, then your arm. Next, move on to the other arm. Then your toes, feet, ankles and legs. Finally, end with a neck and back stretch that propels you out of the bed. You've just limbered up your muscles and joints, and enhanced the flow of blood through your body, providing extra oxygen to all of your tissues.
Read a motivational quote first thing in the morning. This can provide a frame for the day, a sort of self-help talk that keeps you motivated, unlike the negative impact of the morning news. Another option: use a motivational mantra that provides a meditation-like burst, or read or recite a poem that helps you to focus.
Take a vitamin
If you have a well-balanced diet and are generally healthy, taking a multivitamin may offer no additional benefits, but if you are in the habit of skipping meals or are going through a period where you're not eating healthily, a daily multivitamin and mineral pill will ensure you get all the essential micronutrients your body needs. Think of it as a sort of insurance policy. Keeping a supply visible on the kitchen worktop will remind you to take one every morning.
Avoid making decisions
For truly relaxing mornings, reduce the number of choices and decisions you make to zero. Go about this in two ways: first, make your morning decisions the night before - what clothes to wear, what to have for breakfast, what route to take to work and so on. Second, make as much of your morning routine as possible. Really, there's no need to vary your breakfast, timetable or bathroom ritual from one morning to the next.
Cuddle your kids
Few things are more stressful in the morning than waking up an overtired seven-year-old or a snoring teenager. Yet this is one of the few times when you can catch your children still vulnerable. Sit beside them and gently smooth their hair as you softly waken them one by one. Or, if you're dealing with very young children, gently hug them awake. Such moments will send a quiet surge of joy through your entire day and will become all too rare in much too short a time.