10 Morning Mood Boosters
5. Focus on feeling good.
Right after waking up, Robyn McKay, PhD, a psychologist based in Tempe, Arizona, and founder of the Smart Girl-Modern Goddess coaching program, recommends taking five deep breaths and making the decision to feel good for the day. “Imagine that, even when you encounter frustrations and surprises, you will remember to breathe and respond mindfully—rather than react mindlessly—to your circumstances,” she says. Dr. McKay also suggests that, throughout the day, you “take five deep, intentional breaths and remind yourself of your decision to feel good.”
6. Drink hot chocolate.
A recent study found that sipping a drink containing cocoa flavonols improved participants’ moods and levels of alertness—even as they worked on a series of challenging math problems. So go ahead and savor some hot cocoa made with lowfat or skim milk and dark chocolate. The protein and carbs in the milk will help keep your blood sugar levels stable until lunch, which will help you hold on to your mood momentum.
7. Take a moment to assess yourself.
Don’t jump out of bed right when you open your eyes in the morning. Instead, take five minutes to pay attention to your body and notice if you feel any stiffness, then do some light stretching while breathing deeply, suggests Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, RYT, a psychotherapist and yoga teacher in Marietta, Georgia. She notes, “Before racing off to the hundred things on the day's to-do list, it can be tremendously beneficial to claim these five minutes to tune in to your body and your breath. You'll find that you are more ‘present’ and better equipped to deal with the busyness of the day ahead.”
8. Envision the negative.
You’ve probably heard that gratitude is a mood elevator, but here’s a surprising twist to that tactic: Think about a positive event from your life—how you got your dream job or met your ideal partner, for instance—and then imagine what your life would be like if the event hadn’t happened. Though it seems like this would have the opposite effect, it actually improved the mood of one study’s participants more so than simply thinking of the positive event itself.
9. Breathe in some mint.
Researchers found that sniffing peppermint enhanced mood and attention while also fighting fatigue. Try keeping a bottle of peppermint essential oil or bag of peppermint tea on your nightstand so you can inhale the positive scents right as you wake up. Another happiness helper is chewing gum, which elevated the moods, alertness and attention spans of another study's participants. Pop a piece of peppermint gum after breakfast for a double-duty perk-up.
There’s one thing you can do just about anywhere: Smile. “Remember,” says Dr. McKay, “smiling is a simple way to change your mood—and the mood of those around you, too.” So spread your good-mood wealth by baring those pearly whites as often as possible in the morning as well as throughout the day.