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Ever have one of those mornings when you just bounce joyfully out of bed, bursting with vigor and breathless anticipation for a new day? No? Well, you’re not alone. But if you, like most of us, are more of a burrow-under-the-covers-and-hit-snooze-one-last-time person, you might want to rethink your morning routine. Why? Because your attitude in the morning sets the tone for the next 10 to 12 hours. In fact, research shows that people who arrive at work in good spirits stay that way throughout the day, while also being more productive than their gloomier co-workers. Here are eight ways to start your day the happy way.
Get Out On the “Right” Side of the Bed.
And by “right,” we mean left. Literally. People who get out on the right side of the bed are more likely to wake up feeling tired and grumpy than those who get out on the left side, according to a poll of 2,000 adults commissioned by U.K. iron supplement company Spatone. It’s not just in their heads, either: Right-siders’ bosses and colleagues were also more likely to comment that they seemed to be in a funk.
Pack a Healthy Snack.
Toting a smoothie to work can be a hassle (and who has time to make one?), but there are plenty of benefits to consuming fruits and veggies through the day: People who eat high quantities of fruit and vegetables reported being happier and more satisfied with life in general than those who munch on less healthy fare, according to a 2016 Australian study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Nothing is easier for a grab-and-go treat than a Del Monte® Fruit & Chia™ Fruit Cup®, which contains luscious chunks of real fruits, such as peaches, pears, pineapple and chia seeds. Each delicious and satiating cup contains four to five grams of dietary fiber, 800 milligrams of omega-3s and a 100 percent of you daily value of vitamin C.
Text Your Mom That You Love Her.
Whether it’s shooting off an “I’m thinking of you” message to someone you love, posting a feel-good photo on Facebook, or stopping by your elderly neighbor’s house to check in and offer her a cup of coffee, these little good deeds you do in the morning can have lasting benefits throughout the day. Being kind to others will make you happier, according to a 2016 review of more than 20 studies from the University of Oxford. The rush of knowing that you’ve done a good deed can keep you pumped up and energized throughout the day.
Let Some Sun In.
As soon as you hop out of bed, open up your curtains and blinds to let in some bright outdoor light. This simple move stimulates photosensitive cells in your eyes, which in turn send a signal to your brain letting it know it’s time to wake up. It also boosts serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood and energy. Another unexpected benefit? Regular exposure to morning light has been linked to lower body weight, according to a 2014 study published in the medical journal PLOS ONE.
Get Moving Right Away.
People who work out in the morning are more likely to stick with it, according to the experts. Not only do you get it out of the way before distractions can take over, your morning sweat session releases feel-good endorphins, which makes tackling the day ahead feel a lot less daunting. What’s more, you’ll also be less inclined to nosh and more physically active throughout the day, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Of course, if you just can’t get out of bed early enough to make it to that 6 a.m. Spin class (we’ve been there), try stretching for a few minutes to get rid of any muscle stiffness and boost circulation. This delivers a healthy dose of oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind and better mood.
Listen to Some Happy Tunes.
Want a pick-me-up that’s even more energizing than your morning java? Rather than setting the radio to the news on the drive to work, switch on your favorite music station. People who listened to upbeat tunes reported better moods after just two weeks, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. It turns out that hearing music stimulates the reward center of your brain, triggering the release of feel-good dopamine. Rock on!
Wash the Dishes Before Heading Out.
If you’re trying to get out of the house, chores like doing the dishes or dusting can seem like a major distraction. But if you tackle them correctly, they can actually be a calming way for you to start your day. Washing dishes mindfully — focusing on the smell of the soap, the sensation of suds touching your skin, feeling the shape of the plates and glasses — led to significant improvements in well-being, including a 25 percent increase in inspiration and a 27 percent decrease in nervousness, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Mindfulness. It’s not just dishwashing, by the way: The study suggests applying mindfulness to any cleaning routine (scrubbing the counters, vacuuming, folding laundry) may also relax you and boost your mood.
Hug Your Loved One.
Whether it’s your partner, your child or even your roommate, taking a minute for a quick squeeze will do more than just leave you warm and fuzzy: It triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that’s been shown to lower your blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the stress hormone cortisol. Hugs may also keep you healthy, making you less susceptible to respiratory bugs like the common cold, according to a 2014 study published in the journal Psychological Sciences.
What Do YOU Think?
Do any of these morning hacks help you to have a better day? What things do you do for an early-morning mood boost?
Read more: 8 Tips for an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up