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A Doctor's Drug-Free Prescription for Happier Mornings

Expert-backed ways to make getting out of bed in the morning a whole lot easier.
Image: woman stretching in bed
Those who have a strong sense of purpose are the happiest to peel back the sheets and start the day.Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock

If you're not a morning person, rolling out of bed each day is likely a battle of wills. Your alarm is determined to wake you up, and you're determined to keep hitting that snooze button. Your daily routine might serve no other purpose than to get you out the door and on your way to wherever you have to be. Efficient, maybe, but not exactly enjoyable.

The good news is that you — whether a morning person or not — can change the way you approach your mornings. I want you to be the architect of your health and happiness, so I'm sharing things you can do to enjoy happier mornings that leave you feeling energized, fulfilled and motivated for the day ahead.

1. Wake Up With Purpose

Before you can do any of the other things on this list, you have to get out of bed. Those who have a strong sense of purpose are the happiest to peel back the sheets and start the day. Your life purpose is the reason you get out of bed each day. It's a reason to begin your day with joy.

Do you remember the last time you woke up excited to jump out of bed and get started? You probably had something special planned. Maybe you were heading off to a week-long vacation with your family. Maybe you were starting your new dream job. Maybe you were meeting an old friend for lunch. You had something to look forward to.

Getting a good eight hours of sleep will result in more alertness, optimism and energy. Well-rested people are happy people.

Anyone can start the day with a sense of purpose and excitement. All you have to do is give each morning purpose. And on those days when you don't have something big planned (because let's face it, how often is that the case?), you need only a small goal to achieve that happiness. As long as it's something important to you, you'll start your day with more happiness and confidence than ever before.

2. Get Moving (and Not Just at the Gym)

One of the best ways to achieve a healthier and happier life is through movement. Exercising and moving with purpose relieves stress, increases positivity and combats depression. Starting your day with purposeful movement is a great way to instantly boost your mood. Feeling rushed? Even five minutes will get the job done! If you don't have a gym membership or get bored with the same exercise routine, you're in luck. Below are several options that will make your mornings happier.

  • Stretch soon after you wake up. Even gentle stretches and calming yoga movement will get your blood pumping. Feel-good endorphins will release, and you'll feel happier and less stressed. You'll gain a positive outlook that will affect your entire day.Pause and reflect. A Health Hero knows that your mind is your greatest power. Taking time to practice heartfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi or deep-breathing exercises can be transformative. I like to think of them as workouts for your soul. By “quieting” your mind, you focus on what is truly important to you. You'll reduce your anxiety, lower your blood pressure and cultivate strength and serenity.
  • Get intimate. If you want to get your heart racing, consider some morning intimacy with your partner (can you think of a more fun way to start your day?). Less stress, more relaxation and a boost of oxytocin (the love hormone) lead to a happier you. Orgasms, hugs and kisses give you a natural high and a feeling of closeness to those around you. A beautiful way to start your day.

3. Fuel Up With a Nutritious Breakfast

You’ve heard it a million times. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If mornings leave you in dire need of a pick-me-up, you can increase your energy and happiness with healthy, feel good foods that are proven to boost your mood.

Oatmeal, flaxseeds, eggs, sardines, broccoli, spinach, yogurt, cottage cheese, fresh fruit, whole grain toast and fresh fruit juices will leave you feeling satisfied and cheerful.

If your mornings are typically rushed, crawl out of bed earlier to ensure time to prepare and enjoy something healthy and delicious. A good breakfast fuels you for the day ahead and nourishes your body and soul.

4. Be More Social

Connection and social support are very important to your mental health and give you that needed boost. Make the effort to spend time with your tribe. These are the people you love - and are loved by - the most. Starting your day with a friend does wonders for your mood.

Make plans to meet for breakfast, take a walk or sweat your way through a group class at the gym. Even a morning phone call can do the trick. You'll feel happier and more confident the rest of the day.

5. Get Good Sleep

Sleep and your mental health are deeply connected. The less sleep you get, the more likely you are to feel depressed, anxious, irritable or downright cranky.

Getting a good eight hours of sleep nightly will result in more alertness, optimism and energy. Simply put: Well-rested people are happy people.

Try going to bed an hour earlier than usual. You might feel restless at first, but your body will catch on and realize it's time to settle in for the night. You'll likely wake up feeling purposeful, productive and ready to tackle the day!

Fill Your 'Happy Morning Rx' Daily

Make the commitment to change the way you approach your mornings. When your alarm clock is sounding off, it can be tempting to curl up under the covers for just a little bit longer (hello, snooze button!). But instead, choose happiness!

I encourage you to find that special purpose that will get you out of bed each day. Then, take some time to move with purpose. Throw in an energizing breakfast, some social bonding with those you love and a good night's sleep to prepare you for the next morning, and you'll become more of a morning person than you ever thought possible.

Dr. Partha Nandi is a creator and host of the internationally syndicated, award-winning medical lifestyle television show, Ask Dr. Nandi and author of the upcoming book, ASK DR. NANDI: 5 Steps to Becoming your Own #HealthHero for Longevity, Well-being, and a Joyful Life (September 12, 2017)

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