10 Morning Mood Boosters
By Tori Rodriguez
Guarantee a better day by starting your a.m. off right with these easy tricks
Have you ever noticed that what happens during the morning hours often sets the tone for the rest of the day? When things go smoothly, you tend to feel more relaxed and ready to face whatever the day may bring. However, when things get bumpy before you’ve even managed to get dressed, you’re more likely to remain grumpy until bedtime. While some hassles can’t be avoided, you can make mood-enhancing decisions during the a.m. hours that will set the stage for the next 16 or so. We spoke with the experts and combed the latest research for 10 pick-me-ups that will have your mood rising like the morning sun. Try one (or all!) of them for a happier and healthier you.
1. Pick one “spoil-me” task to do.
When you wake up, give yourself 30 seconds to think of at least one nice thing you can do for yourself that day…and then do it. When Alice Domar, PhD, psychologist and coauthor of Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won’t Break Your Health, was in Los Angeles for a book tour one winter, she woke up much earlier than usual. But instead of fretting about lost zzz’s, she realized with excitement that she could score some fresh fruit at the nearby farmer’s market, which would’ve been impossible if she were back home in Boston. That impromptu side trip kept her mood lifted throughout the day.
2. Eat a well-balanced meal.
Start your morning with a nutritious mix of complex carbohydrates and proteins that will last you until lunch, such as oatmeal or toast with peanut butter (include a sprinkle of cinnamon, which one study linked to improved mood and alertness, for an extra boost). Other research found that a moderate amount of caffeine (200 mg, or the amount in about two cups of coffee) elevated mood and mental sharpness, so enjoy some joe or black tea with your breakfast.
3. Get some fresh air.
Head out for some “green exercise”—physical activity performed in an outdoor setting—even if you only have a few minutes to spare. Researchers found that people experienced an enhanced mood and higher self-esteem after just five minutes of various types of green exercise, including walking and gardening. The study also found that exercising near water amplified the effects, so if you live near a lake, river or waterfall, even better.
4. Listen to the sounds of nature.
Capture the benefits of the great outdoors, even if you can’t get outside, by listening to recorded nature sounds. In a recent study, participants recovered from a stressful situation more quickly when they listened to a recorded combination of running water and bird sounds. Open your window in the morning so you can hear Mother Nature’s music as you get ready, or invest in an alarm clock that eases you awake with nature sounds.