18 Ways To Make Your Mornings Infinitely Better News


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Every morning, we wake up with the promise of a
fresh start.

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New opportunities and experiences await, and that’s
something to be excited about.

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Only, it’s hard to look forward to that if you’re
constantly waking up in a terrible mood.

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Maybe you wake up stressed about all the things you
need to get done that day. Maybe you feel anxious
about something, but can’t quite put your finger on
it. Or maybe you’re just too tired to deal with any
of it, and wish you could go back to sleep.

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It turns out there’s a biological reason for that
shitty morning feeling.

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You can blame it on your brain, Dr. Amit Sood,
professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and author
of
The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness,
tells BuzzFeed Health.

When you first wake up, your mind is wandering.
Then, something called
negativity bias usually kicks in — it’s a
little neurological quirk that predisposes us to
remember the bad/anxiety-inducing stuff, explains
Sood. So we end up very quickly focusing on all of
the undone tasks lurking over our heads, or how
crappy your commute might be, or that vague thing
your boss said yesterday.

Add on to this the fact that our adrenaline and
stress hormone levels rise in the mornings,
boosting heart rate and blood pressure (both
symptoms of anxiety, too), and mornings become the
~perfect time~ to feel anxious and uneasy, says
Sood.

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So if you’re a member of the I-hate-mornings club
(and it’s starting to affect how you feel about the
rest of the day, too), here are some tips for
waking up in a much better mood.

So if you're a member of the I-hate-mornings club (and it's starting to affect how you feel about the rest of the day, too), here are some tips for waking up in a much better mood.

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1. First of
all, make sure you’re actually getting enough
good-quality sleep.

First of all, make sure you're actually getting enough good-quality sleep.

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Without a good foundation of sleep (which is 7-9
hours for most adults), you’re just going to be
fighting an uphill battle. And no amount of coffee
or advice is going to help dig you out of that
grogginess. So, before trying the rest of these
tips, try adjusting your sleep schedule so that
you’re getting enough quality hours of rest.

That might mean limiting caffeine and technology
before bed, having a consistent sleep schedule, or
even talking to your doctor if you’re really having
trouble staying asleep through the night.

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2. Open your
blinds so you’re waking up with natural light.

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Open those curtains — either before you go to bed
or as soon as you wake up.

You know how we’re told to avoid the blue light
that comes from our phones and screens at night,
because it keeps us up? Well, the strongest source
of that blue light is the sun, sleep expert Michael
Breus, PhD, author of
The Power of When
, tells BuzzFeed Health.
So if you let sunlight into your room first thing
the morning, it can reduce your level of melatonin,
which will make you less sleepy and more energized.

Even better, sunlight also raises levels of the
neurotransmitter serotonin in your body, which has
been
linked to a better mood and a calm demeanor.
“If you get up in a bad mood in the morning, the
light really does make a difference,” Dr. Jess
Shatkin, professor of child and adolescent
psychiatry and pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical
Center, tells BuzzFeed Health.

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3. Take a
warm shower.

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Though warm showers probably won’t wake you up
(you’ll need cold showers for that), Breus says
that the warm water will help your improve your
mood “in the moment” by relaxing tight muscles.

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4. Try not to
look at news first thing in the morning.

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Just three minutes looking at news can contribute
to stress, psychologist Elizabeth
Lombardo, PhD, author of
Better Than Perfect
, tells BuzzFeed Health.

“Most news is negative news, and it’s stressful
even if it doesn’t impact us directly. It just gets
into our subconscious,” she says. So resist the
urge to check your Facebook or Twitter feeds first
thing in the morning — they’ll be there for you
later on and you’ll have more time to fill your
mornings with positivity.

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5. Instead,
spend that time listening to a podcast, reading a
book, or watching a show.

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In the mornings, you should be focusing on getting
into a positive headspace that will stay with you
throughout the day, Sood says. So spend 15 minutes
finishing that chapter of the book you fell asleep
reading, or watch a show you really enjoy while
eating breakfast. Maybe even listen to a
podcast while you get ready.

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6. If you
have time for a quickie, DO IT.

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Sex feels good, obviously. It can also trigger the
release of a bunch of feel-good chemicals, like
dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. But Breus says
it’s the oxytocin (aka the ~love hormone~) that has
a particularly calming effect. So, if you’re
feeling anxious in the morning and you and your
partner are both up for it, get it
ON
.

Even if you don’t want to have sex, simply having
your partner around for a comforting hug can
promote more positive feelings, Lombardo says,
because this will also promote the release of
oxytocin.

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7. Keep a
positive mantra where you’ll see it every morning.

Keep a positive mantra where you'll see it every morning.

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Don’t let negative thoughts get the best of you.
Find a positive mantra (or quote or statement) that
reflects how the mindset you want to have every
morning, and write it down on a post-it note so
that you can put it on your bathroom mirror or
cabinet — somewhere you’re guaranteed to see it.

This will help you change your inner dialogue,
Lombardo says, because you’re basically kicking all
the negative thoughts out of your head and
replacing them with positive ones. And just like
that song you’ve heard ~a million times~ (even
though you don’t like it) and now know the lyrics
to, these thoughts eventually stick, she says.

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8. Fill your
room with scents that make you feel good.

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Smell is the
only sense that’s directly connected to the
emotional centers of the brain, Lombardo says, “so
certain smells can bring about more happiness and
joy.”

So, if you love scented candles and there’s one
that you light up every time you take a bath, light
it when you get up in the morning, too — it’ll fill
the air with smells that make you feel good. “It’s
such a quick and easy way to change your mood,”
Lombardo says.

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9. Listen to
music that gets you hyped.

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Set up a playlist so that when you wake up, it’s
easy to just press play and get ready for the day.
Music has been
shown to reduce stress, Lombardo says, and it
really doesn’t matter what you put on as long as it
gets you energized and fills your room with “good,
positive energy.”

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10. Do a
super-quick workout.

Do a super-quick workout.

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Philip Friedman / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Literally like 20 push-ups or 15 jumping jacks. Or
maybe you want to jump on your bed a few times. No
matter what it is, exercise is
great for anxiety and depression in general,
Lombardo says. “Even just that little bit will help
you change the physiology of your body and help you
feel happier,” she says.

Here are a few to get you started.

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11. Practice
being mindful.

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That could mean deep breathing, meditating, doing
some yoga, or just reminding yourself of the things
you’re grateful for today — like the fact that
donuts exist. Doing so will externalize your focus
so that you’re not retreating into negative
thoughts about events that have happened or might
happen, Sood says. In other words, you’re living in
the present moment.

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12. Take a
second to think about what you’re giving to society
today.

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The thought of all those unfinished tasks may drive
you up a wall, but if you focus more on the impact
that will come from completing them, you might feel
better, Lombardo says. So, say that you’re a nurse
or a janitor in a hospital, focusing on the good
that comes out of these jobs — healthier people and
a safer environment — might keep your negative
feelings toward them from swirling around in your
head.

The same goes for all of your personal goals — just
think about how accomplished you’re going to feel
once you’ve taken a step toward reaching them.

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13. And if
you’re currently pissed off at anyone or anything,
try to mentally let that go.

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While this might not be the easiest thing to do,
forgiving someone who’s done you wrong and wishing
them well can lift some of the stress off your
shoulders, Lombardo says. Studies
also
show that stress levels — and the
higher-than-normal blood pressure and heart rate
that follow when they rise — drop when your
thoughts are focused on letting your troubled past
with someone go.

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14. Have a
game plan for the day and make sure at least one
thing you do is for YOU.

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A few hours before sleep, write down three to five
tasks that need to be done the next day, Lombardo
says. This way, you won’t feel stuck trying to
figure out what’s next. Your might also end up
having a more productive day, which will also feel
great. The list doesn’t have to be so detailed
either — think of it like an outline for your day.

That said, one of those tasks should be something
that will make you feel good. Treat yo’ self. Make
time to go to the park or get a manicure. Hang out
with friends or do some yoga. Whatever it is that
helps you decompress, having it on your list will
give you something positive to look forward to,
Lombardo says.

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15. Sign up
for an email newsletter so there’s something to
look forward to in your email.

Sign up for an email newsletter so there's something to look forward to in your email.

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It’s no secret that our email inboxes are
stressing us TF out. But while we might not be
able to control everything that drops in there, we
can control some of it. So try signing up
for a newsletter that provides entertainment or
inspiration, and make that the first thing you
check from your inbox every morning — that way
you’ll be checking your emails off on the right
foot, Lombardo says.

Need some? Subscribe to one of BuzzFeed’s
newsletters, like Dog a Day, here, or
a daily Dilbert comic here.
You’ll also find some inspiration with Happify
Daily.

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16. Move
anything that makes you anxious so that it’s not
staring you in the face when you wake up.

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Your bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex,
says Shatkin — anything else related to pending
tasks, like your textbooks or even your alarm
clock, can lead to unnecessary stress. He says that
if you wake up in the middle of the night and see
these things, you might get stressed out to the
point where your sleep suffers. And that’s that
shit we don’t like.

More importantly, these things will definitely be
there for you when you wake up, and they’re a
surefire way to stress you out when what you really
want to be doing is starting your day on a good
note.

So banish these objects from your line of sight as
much as possible. Keep your phone in Do Not Disturb
mode and face-down, move your clock so you can’t
see it from your bed, and keep your books on the
floor or in another room, suggests Shatkin.

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17. Have
breakfast ready to go before you even wake up.

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It really sucks when you’re rushing to get ready in
the morning and end up passing on breakfast because
there’s just no time. Having
make-ahead meals ready to go can make your
morning routine just a bit simpler, and help you
avoid being hangry — it’s a win all around.

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18. And
finally, just smile, because that alone can lower
stress.

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Think about all the crazy things you do with a
friend or look at something funny if you have to,
like
these gifs. Laughing will always make you feel
better. And hey, even if you find it hard to smile
in the mornings, just doing it anyway has been
proven
to lower stress.

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