You’re sprinting down a shadowy corridor of the abandoned hospital. When you reach a door, you grasp the knob, twisting it without pausing as you scramble to get inside. Once safely inside the room you lean back against the cool brick interior, pausing to catch your breath. Your eyes adjust slowly and you make out a dream catcher adorned with locks of human hair hanging from the ceiling. As you consider your situation an alarm blares—interrupting your thoughts. The piercing sound reverberates through your skull, and you try to press your hands against your ears. Something is stopping you. The sound is becoming too much. You are drawn from the room as your new surroundings register: pillow, sunlight, alarm clock, six a.m…
Increased Age could mean Increased Preference for Morning
You are not alone if you cringe at the thought of waking up. In 2007, CBS News reported that a Gallup Poll of approximately 1,000 U.S. adults found: 55% preferred the morning, 15% preferred the afternoon, 20% preferred the evening, and 6% preferred late night. If this percentage of morning people surprises you it may be because you spend a lot of time around younger people. The poll found increased age could mean increased preference for the morning. According to CBS news, 59% of adults aged 55 and older favored the morning, but only 43% of adults aged 18 to 34 felt the same way.
Consciously Set a Positive Mood
While you may never prefer the morning over all the other times of day, you should not detest waking up either. Consciously starting each day in a positive mood can set a healthier tone for the day ahead.
In a passage from the book Authentic Happiness, by Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., Seligman says
“A chilly, negative mood activates a battle-stations mode of thinking: the order of the day is to focus on what is wrong and then eliminate it. A positive mood, in contrast, buoys people into a way of thinking that is creative, tolerant, constructive, generous, undefensive and lateral.” (p. 39)
Ideas for a Good Morning
Practicing a positive mood when you awaken can help you reap benefits throughout the day. While this might be challenging for many of us, here are a few suggestions (inspired by various books, articles, and personal research) over the years to help you get up on the right side of the bed in the morning.
Make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time to get enough sleep. Research has shown a correlation between sleep deprivation and depression, anxiety, and negative mood states. Most people need around 8 hours of sleep a night.
If you’ve gotten enough sleep, wake up a half hour earlier and spend the extra time doing anything that makes you happy.
Rather than fretting over the things you need to get done, spend those thoughts asking yourself what you can do today that would give you a sense of meaning.
Do a small task in the morning that gives you a sense of accomplishment, such as making your bed.
Replace the time wasters in your current morning routine.
Be mindful of the thoughts you are repeating and whether they are good for you or not.
Find a quote or idea that speaks to you and put it on your mirror where you will see it when you brush your teeth.
Use your senses to remain aware of your surroundings. Be it a walk to class or a long shower or whatever else you might do, take a moment to breathe in the aromas, feel the leaves crunching beneath your feet, the sensation of shampoo in your hair, the taste of mint toothpaste, etc. Such mindfulness practices can help us get out of negative and unproductive thought loops.
While it is difficult to change old habits, the effects of taking a little time and effort to tweak your morning routine can brighten the course of your entire day.