5 Science-Backed Tips for a Happier Morning

Not a morning person? Here's your well-being wake-up call.




Not all of us are born with the urge to wake up and carpe diem. Some of us would rather seize the covers and pull them right back over our heads where they belong.

The way we feel when we wake up can set the tone for the whole day. If you wake up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed—feeling tired, stressed or harried, chances are you’ll feel that way for at least the next few hours.

How to turn things around? First, make a conscious decision to start your mornings differently. Start the night before by going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting a good night’s sleep. Then, when the sun comes up, you’ll be ready to greet it with a smile.

Here are 5 scientifically proven ways to bring more happiness to your morning.


Do you bolt out of bed to the sound of an alarm that sends your cortisol levels skyrocketing? While it may be effective in waking you up, it’s not necessarily the best way; Japanese researchers are even investigating the correlation between heart attacks and alarm clocks. Instead, try waking up to a favorite song programmed into your phone. No need to have it blaring, either; the idea here is not to jolt you awake, but rather to invite you to start the day. Listening to an uplifting song first thing in the morning can not only put a positive message in your mind, but also can help lower your stress and anxiety levels.


One of the big stressors of the morning is simply trying to get everything done and get everyone out the door on time. Getting up a few minutes earlier and investing that time in yourself can help you feel calm and centered for the day. Creating a morning practice, whether that means meditating, writing in a journal or doing yoga, is a way to put yourself first every morning.


Gratitude is one of the best ways to shift your attitude. On those days when getting up and going to work feels like the last thing you want to do, write down five things you appreciate about your job. (Even if the best you can come up with is “the coffee in the break room is always hot.”) Practicing gratitude has many benefits, including flooding your brain with positive emotions—and who doesn’t want that first thing in the morning?


It has become a habit for many of us to reach for our phones first thing to check email, texts or catch up on social media. Or we may switch on the TV to find out the latest news. Well, here’s a news flash for you: None of those things are going to add joy to your morning. Take this time to be mindful of your morning and make time for yourself. Seeing what you’ve missed (or what you need to do) creates instant stress, so ignore it for as long as you possibly can.


Going for a morning run (or walk) to start your day has dual benefits. First, there’s the benefit of the exercise itself, which releases feel-good endorphins in your brain for an instant boost. But just taking your movement outside is good for you, too. Research into biophilia, that emotional connection we have with nature, shows that getting outside for even a few minutes can reduce cortisol and enhance our overall mental health.


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This article by Paula Felps was originally published on Live Happy and appears here with permission. Click here to read the full happier morning list.