Early morning hours are a wonderful time. It is the time when our bodies and mind usually tend to be clear of all the clutter, stress and anxiety. Mornings are meant to be quiet, a time when you can hear the birds chirping and see the golden light of the sun slowly lighten up your windows and your rooms. It’s a time when you should take two minutes to stand at your window or the balcony and enjoy the beauty of the early morning sky and savor the calmness that surrounds the environment.
“Early to bed, early to rise – makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”
If you were to find one common thing among a lot of the successful people, it would be their habit of getting up early in the morning. Studies have shown that there is a definite correlation between waking up early and success. Early risers tend to be better planners, more proactive and enjoy a better sleep cycle as their bodies tend to be more in tune with the earth’s circadian rhythms.
Are You Happy or Grumpy In The Morning?
Now take a minute or two to review your usual behavior pattern for the first hour or so after you wake up. Are you in a good mood, up and about – going for your morning exercise or getting things things in the house? Or are you the kind of person who hates early mornings, wants to curse the alarm clock for going off when it was supposed to or are you basically in a bad mood most of the mornings?
Getting up early is not some kind of a magic potion that will automatically drive away all of your problems. There certainly are a few things that you could do to make your morning better for yourself and for the people around us. After all, a day well begun is definitely half the battle won or as Aristotle put it, “Well begun is half done”. So, let’s spend a few minutes to understand some of the early morning habits of happy people!
6 Early Morning Habits of Happy People
1. Express Gratitude – Look around yourself at people who are happy and content in life. Usually, these are the kind of people who complain less and thank more. Learn from them. Everyone has problems, but don’t place all of your focus on your problems, especially not when you wake up in the morning.
It’s not easy all the time, but make a habit of reflecting on some of the good things that you have in your life. Take five minutes to thank god for 5 or 10 good things in your life, things that make your life more meaningful. Do this right after you wake up, before any other thoughts start building up in your mind. Some days, it will happen easily – on other days it may require a lot of effort. But if you do this everyday – very soon, it will become an habit.
2. Me Time – We have a lot of things going on in our lives and lot of it is driven by our desire to remain connected with the outside world at all times. Do yourself a favor – everyday morning, keep some exclusive time for yourself. Keep this time to enjoy a hot cup of tea, go for a jog, or simply sit in your room and meditate. I start all my mornings at 5.30 am with an exercise routine that includes yoga on some days and running on others.
‘Me time’ is possible only if you wake up a little earlier than everyone else – especially if you have kids in the house. Whatever your morning schedule – keep time aside to put yourself first. This is definitely not possible if you wake up so late that the only thing possible is a quick shower before you head out of that front door!
Give yourself an initial goal of waking up 15 minutes earlier than your usual time and see the kind of difference it makes to your schedule. Every 10 days or so wake up an extra 15 minutes early until you get into the 5am-5:30am time frame. You’ll be ecstatic at the extra time and productivity you have throughout the day!
3. Make Time for Exercise – You can’t be happy if you are not healthy, some wise man somewhere probably once said. One of the most important contributors to a healthy body is a daily exercise routine. Exercising can do wonders to your body – from building stronger muscles to boosting your immune system to keeping you in better spirits, the list is endless!
Determine what kind of exercise routine suits your goals and interests the most. Once you’ve made that determination you have one more goal: Stick to it! One study by Philippa Lally from the University of London, which was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology determined that it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. So set your watches for 66 days and be sure to incorporate some type of exercise every day.
When in doubt, nothing beats a good morning walk when the streets are quiet and everything looks calm and serene (let’s assume we’re not talking about those 12 foot tall snow banks being present like they were this year).
Another option is to check out my article on Benefits of Surya Namaskar. Do 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar early in the morning, and you are done for the day!
4. A Healthy Breakfast – How can anyone remain truly happy on an empty stomach!? Happy people know this and make it a point to plan their breakfasts at least a day in advance so that they don’t miss this most important meal of the day. Morning schedules are usually tight for most of us and if we don’t plan, we most likely will fail. You want to have eggs for breakfast today, you walk up to the kitchen – open the fridge and surprise, surprise – there are no eggs in the house!
Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure your stomach is full and you have given yourself a good dose of important nutrients and minerals before you head out for the day.
5. Phone Calls and Emails Can Wait – Take out all the unnecessary distractions from your early mornings. Happy people know that the world will not come to an end if they didn’t check their emails first thing in the morning. Get your priorities straight. Don’t ruin your morning workout because your upset client sent you a nasty-gram at 2:38am.
On a handful of occasions each year you might have to check your email first thing in the morning. I stopped checking email first thing in the morning in 2015 and my morning productivity has increased, while my workouts have gotten better. Simply put – Prioritize.
6. Smile – Or better still – laugh! Frown less and smile more, you know its’ so easy to smile that we actually forget to have it on our faces:)
Wish your partner or kids a good morning with a bright smile! Try smiling for no reason, do it as you are reading this or on your next run – see how it will relax your muscles immediately. Make this effort – you will be making a huge difference to yourself and your loved ones!