The morning is extremely important. It is the foundation from which the rest of the day is built. How you choose to spend your morning can often be used to accurately predict what kind of day you’re going to have.
Here’s how to make it a happy one…
1. A calm awakening.
In the space between the edge of the night and the chaos of the day, you have a chance to make a special space for yourself. In this space, thoughts and contentment neatly overlap, where past and future issues cease to exist, and time touches eternity. Hovering about your mind, as you gently begin to stir, there are beautiful visions no one has ever seen and soothing harmonies no one has ever heard.
These first few moments of the day are sacred. Savor them. Protect them. Awaken yourself peacefully, stretch fully and breathe deeply in them without rushing forward. Give yourself this time as a gift, to simply be and feel alive, to conquer the anxiety of life, and live in the moment breath by breath.
2. Meditate on the goodness.
Begin each day with love, grace, and gratitude.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a great privilege it is to be alive – to be, to see, to hear, to think, to love, to have something to look forward to. Happiness is a big part of these little parts of your life; joy is simply the feeling of appreciating it.
Realize that it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. Make a habit of noticing the goodness that’s already yours and you will see more of it every time you look for it. (Read The Happiness Project.)
3. Let go to begin anew.
Each new morning greets you with no restrictions except for the restrictions you place on it.
Don’t hold yourself hostage for the things that didn’t work out yesterday. Don’t let your history interfere with your purpose today. Let yesterday go. Every morning is the start of a new day with no mistakes, just possibilities.
Release and renew. Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.
4. Be right where you are.
Live now. Not before. Not later. Just NOW – in the moment you’re in. Inhabit your morning completely. Don’t rent it out to the past or the future.
Do you know what you’re doing to yourself when you wake up and start worrying about every other time and place?
You’re cheating yourself out of the moments we call “life.” Your real life – the here and now – is calling to you, trying to get your attention, but you’re stuck on another time and place, and so your life keeps dripping away moment by moment like fresh water down a dirty drain. You wake up the next morning and all those priceless moments of your life are wasted and gone forever. Some of those moments may have had magnificent experiences in store for you, but now you’ll never know…
Bottom line: Don’t be so worried about what’s ahead of you and behind you that you never enjoy where you are. Start your morning off right by paying full attention to it.
5. Find a little inspiration
Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration in the morning.
Read a motivational quote. Listen to a song that moves you. Watch a short video clip that inspires you. This can provide a framework for the day, a sort of positive pep-talk that keeps you motivated and heading in the right direction, as opposed to succumbing to the negativity spewing out of morning newscasters and radio talk show hosts.
Another option: Use a motivational mantra or affirmation that provides a meditation-like burst, or read or recite some prose that helps you focus. (And of course, if you’re looking for an easily digestible source of daily inspiration, look no further than our book, 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
6. Exercise your love.
Love is the foundation. Love is the board under the chalk, the ground from which giant trees and buildings arise, and the oxygen in the air. It’s the place you come back to, no matter where you’ve been or where you’re headed. Love is where life’s goodness begins.
Every morning, kiss all the people you love in your house (including your pets). And once you’ve done that, set ten minutes aside to do something you love – perhaps a hobby or a quiet morning walk. Doing something positive will help you set the mood you need to create a great day. When you smile, your body relaxes. When you experience a loving human interaction, or a deep connection to a passion, it eases tension in your body. Connecting with the right people and activities soothes stress and provides you with a positive foundation for your day, as well as keeping you focused on what’s truly important.
7. Follow a relaxing morning routine.
Morning routines are critically important. They help you focus and build momentum for your day, and they give you the freedom to be present and relaxed – to enjoy just being right where you are each moment, rather than rushing from somewhere to somewhere. Once you get your routine in order, for the first time in a long time, you will be able to, quite literally, smell the coffee.
For truly relaxing mornings, reduce the number of decisions you must make. There are two simple ways to do this: First, make your big morning decisions the night before: what to eat for breakfast, what clothes to wear, what you need to take to work, etc. Second, build a simple routine for as much of your daily morning tasks as possible.
Really, there’s no need to drastically alter the simple things like how much time you give yourself to get ready for work, how complex of a meal you make for breakfast, or bathroom and shower rituals from one morning to the next. (Read The Power of Less.)
8. Move on to what’s most important.
Today is a golden opportunity to do something that matters to you.
When was the last time you woke up and said, “Today could be the best day of my life”? Participate in your dreams today. Your potential is limitless. Put first things first and take action on an important task that’s been lingering.
Success is not something you have; it’s something you DO. It’s something you experience when you wake up and act accordingly. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of proactivity and success that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no real start at all.
The floor is yours…
How do you like to start your mornings? What puts you in a happy mood when you first wake up? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Photo by: Aristocrats-hat
My husband likes to tease me because I set my alarm early so that I can get out of bed to go relax. 🙂 I love having the house to myself in the morning for thirty minutes or an hour, before the phone starts buzzing and the emails start piling up, to listen to the birds waking up and to see the sun begin to fill our house with warmth and light. I make my cup of coffee and I might read a few blogs or articles, I might poke around in our yard to see what our plants are up to, or I might look for a yummy dinner recipe. Sometimes I do yoga or meditate. Sometimes I exercise. I do whatever I feel like doing. It is definitely ‘my’ time and the peaceful start sets the tone for my whole day.
I love having a small vase of flowers in the bathroom by the sink. It is lovely to open the door and see a thing of natural beauty first thing in the morning. They make me happy every time I walk in there.
Early exercise and a big dose of gratitude just to be alive and healthy is always a great way to start the day. Love will follow!
My day starts with verbal gratitude affirmations. Then I meditate, state my intentions for the day and get to it.
I love that I am granted the opportunity to wake up every morning and to wake up in the arms of a special man, and with such wonderful children.
Angelique Tonge says
Thanks for an amazing article. It’s great to plan for the morning rather than let it just happen and get lost in the rush. I love starting with a kiss and cuppa with hubby, some exercise and then the mad rush to get the children ready. Children make things fast paced, but it’s a beautiful pace and it doesn’t need to be draining as long as I’m ready to roll with it. Lovely post! Here’s to tomorrow morning everyone x
I’m going to second a hot shower and add snuggling for a few minutes with my 6 year old daughter.
My most favorite thing to do is get up before the sun & take my dog for a walk while it rises <3
Sad Girl says
I wake up and remember that I am sick, I live in favor of another person and depend on the help of others to live …
This is my routine in the morning! …
These thoughts are beautiful. Thank you for sharing everyone.
I always make a cup of sweet tea for my lovely husband and kiss his hand before he leaves home for work 🙂
You are amazing… the way you are getting The Message out! Keep up the good work. Spread the Truth in any language so all can understand it within their own framework… and still recognize the Essence.
Put first thing first… Praying to my creator.
john hackleman says
I need help with my morning routines… help
I wake up at 6 am, have some cereal. After that I do my blogilates routine, it always makes me feel full of energy. And taking a shower after doing exercise is just amazing!
I’m surprised that no one mentioned sex… or is that taboo?
I love this post! It is a very timely reminder that I am in charge of the way my day turns out simply by choosing to be happy.
Exercising always kicks of a good start to my day. A refreshing, revitalizing swim in summer is especially good at getting the endorphin’s going!
I needed this today. I’ve been a funk for weeks and it’s frustrating me more than I can explain because I know how important it is to stay positive and not to focus on the negative. And I generally do a pretty good job of that. I’ve just been having a hard time following my own advice in recent days. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t insist on running/exercising every day, it would be even worse. So I’m grateful for that.
I like my morning routine: vitamin/fruit smoothie first thing! It’s better than coffee. Then spinach/onion/jalapeno omelet and grits. I love my quiet breakfast. It makes me feel good. But I think I will start to add that 10ish minutes of quiet (walking, sitting, stretching, meditating) somewhere in the mix to settle my mind before heading off to work. It can’t hurt, right?
Thanks for these reminders.
anon e moose says
As an ex-con and recovered alcoholic, most people are amazed to see such a happy person in myself. I’ve come to the realization that we all have the option to choose to be happy or miserable in life – my life is a great example! Ironically, about 3 years ago I started doing the majority of what was recommended above – and I choose to do this on a daily basis and am a very happy person, even though I struggle financially (my income puts me below the poverty level), I’m physically disabled, and have no intimate partner in my life. I hope you all will choose to start following these suggestions and lead a much happier life!
Love this… going to post it someplace where I see it every day “it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”
I love mornings! My family and the people I see first thing in the morning unfortunately do not. I would add to this list that it is important to not let those around you bring you down in the morning.
I think it’s really important for me to bring calm to the chaos that surrounds me in the morning and help those around me start their day in a positive way.
Say “good morning!” as many times as possible and mean it.
Kevin Halls says
I’ve never been a morning person but since I’ve got older I find myself getting up earlier and making that time more productive. When I was a drinker the mornings were a blur and a pain and everything was done with a moan and a groan. But these days I find mornings enjoyable most of the time, as I feel fresh and my brain is open to positiveness instead of the opposite. I love walking… in fact I walk everywhere if I can. So after a nice breakfast it’s a stroll to get a paper then back to do some writing as I’m now more creative earlier in the day than years ago. And some positive thinking I’ve learnt from your articles and The Secret help me to face the day with confidence. And of course having faith in a higher power is a must!
I like listening to music while getting ready for work and if the right song come on, I sing & dance.
I’ve been a morning person all of my 77 years and can vouch for the importance of a slow relaxed awakening even if it means an early rise.
Shelly Miller says
Saturday mornings are my favorite, I spend them doing many of the things you have listed. I need to make every morning feel like a Saturday morning.
Thanks for your post, as always, it’s wonderful.
@Anon: It’s a true privilege to hear that we have had positive impact on your life. Thank you!
@Shirley: Whatever it takes to get you smiling that early. =)
@Vincent Nyguyen: What’s stopping you? I challenge you to attempt to merge the two next week. 😉
@Nang: We’re honored. Thank you!
@Sheila: I love the addition of visualizing your day. I’ll have to add that to my morning wake up routine.
@Shirley: Great input, and I love that you and your daughters read our blog. Thanks for sharing that. It means a lot.
@Bob: Thank you for the extremely kind and loving words. =)
@David Rapp: Thought-provoking, as always. I’d say, from the article above and from all the other comments you have tons of starting points. Choose one and look forward to a brighter morning.
@Hill: Congratulations! I love your story of compromise. True love. =)
@Jen: Great addition, thank you.
@Sad Girl: Our thoughts are with you in these hard times. Please read this article: 6 Reasons You Aren’t Dead Yet. I hope you can find some inspiration in it. Thank you for being apart of the community and sharing your vulnerability with us.
@Anon e Moose: Happiness is a choice. I am thrilled to hear of your success. =)
@Elizabeth: Thank you for the positive input.
@All: Your added insight gave me a huge list of new ideas I want to implement into my mornings. I’m going to read-read these comments with Angel and we’re going to pick a few to implement starting tomorrow. And as always, thank you, thank you. We love the comments and value in each and every one of you for sharing your thoughts. Have a great day!
Edited it with some minor changes and I’m about to print this out to have as a reminder for my new morning routines.
Your site has always helped me grow further into the man that I will be today, tomorrow, and so forth. Thank you for contributing so much to life and everyone I have shared your words with. My blessings are with you Marc and Angel.
Now that I don’t have to I get up early, I do – most days (5:00 am). I take a cup of coffee and my iPad and sit peacefully and quietly. My husband’s asleep as are the dogs so the time is mine. I read the news from all around the world (love this technology); check out Pinterest (hopelessly addicted); catch up with my turns on Words With Friends, see who’s doing what on Facebook and what I might add; find something inspiring or funny or sweet to send to my daughter for her morning wake-up (at least 3 hours away); listen and watch the morning awake… I just appreciate the morning, the coming day, what and who I have in my life and time. Now that I’m older I have more time to take some time and really appreciate its value.
My mornings are full of rituals… Exercise by walking, meditating and getting ready for the day with some goals. I’m 81 years old.
Always thankful for Marc And Angel!
My alarm is set to “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band. I smile (someone, somewhere, many years ago told me if your smile is the first thing you accomplish your day will be happy). I open my curtains, blinds and windows. I praise God for the beauty around me, the health of my family and all of my blessings while I listen to the entire song, sometimes more than once. I almost always lay in bed while doing this. I listen to the birds and the quietness of my home. Morning stretches, shower. Wake my daughter. Morning hugs after she’s ready and awake! And off to work. I smile and greet everyone in my path regardless of a response! Life is always good if we allow it! Happy mornings all!
Anthony Hodes says
I have been waking and greet the four directions and earth and sky. It is a simple ritual where I face each direction breathing in all that is and out all that is not. In three breaths, out 3 breaths facing each direction and then earth and sky. Then I settle into the marrow of my bones, feel them resting firmly on the ground of compassion.
When I wake up, I turn on some really happy music and dance around. It sounds silly, but it’s something that I can do WHILE I am getting ready, and it helps give me energy and put my in a positive frame of mind.
I like to start every day with a nice cup of green tea, listen to “Early Birdie” by Owl City, and go for a walk.
Older living with arthritis as many do I wake up lay still and just feel how good my body feels before it has to move stand walk. I feel how soft the bed feels, the sheets, how quiet and totally still it is as dawn begins and before all my many animals hear me awake and demand in barks meows and cock a doodle dos to start their day.
BUT first, I lay and just “BE”, FEEL and be grateful for “this day of all days” and think; Lucky me…! I’m ALIVE to enjoy today.
Life is WAY too short to not stop and smell the roses EVERY day.
I hug my wife. Every morning without fail.
I have printed this article along with all of your comments and plan to discuss it with my daughter tonight.
Though I have no ritual per-se at the moment to share, stumbling upon your blog today has inspired me to create one.
Thank you ALL 🙂
Love the article…love the positivity!
The mornings used to be my arch nemesis, but I have turned them into my own little oasis (most mornings). I like to get up around 5:15-5:30…get a good stretch in…put on a cup of coffee…spend a few minutes thinking about what I’m thankful for…read about 20 minutes…work on my blog for about an hour…exercise at 7:00 and leave for work at 8:00.
That’s ideal, but I do have 3 children under the age of 5…so sometimes it doesn’t happen. BUT most days it does. It really starts my day on the right foot and makes me more productive.
Again, another great article!
I let my young dog out of his crate and watch him dance in circles around me. He has so much fun just being a dog his happiness is contagious.
Thank you! Beautiful. I share so many of your posts on my Facebook page. You get great response.
Mornings! A cup of tea, grab my sketch book and head outside. Listen to the birds. Simple beginning then to my hammer and chasing tools to work.
Great advice! I switched jobs last year and went from waking up by my alarm to waking up on my own. It’s been great. I walk 4 miles most mornings before work and I have time to relax and talk to my wife without rushing to get ready for work.
These are all awesome and I love your work. But what I find hard is to put these practices into place given I have 4 children under 4 who are constantly in my space and face from the moment I even contemplate sliding into morning consciousness! That said: amidst the fog of exhaustion and chaos, I still find a moment to be grateful for having 4 healthy, beautiful girls. I just look forward to the day I can stretch out and reflect on how marvelous it is to have a day of sleeping in! 🙂
“Today could be the best day of my life” is written on my fridge and I repeat it every morning! Thanks for this amazing post. It is so refreshing! Tina
At least 15 min of meditation every morning to start the day right is everything that I need. Starting the day in a mentally ready state is crucial for entrepreneur.
Meditate on the goodness is going to be my new morning routine! love this whole post!
Dineo PATRICIA says
I like reading a bible each an every morning in my spare time.