‘Please don’t whinge at me first thing in the morning.’
I need space. I need solitude. I need to come to terms with my day. I need music. I need a cup of tea.
What I don’t need is bad news and complaints. A child who doesn’t like the breakfast choices. A husband bemoaning politicians. A miaowing cat.
I am not a morning person but it’s more than that. It’s not good for me, for my mind, my productivity, my stress levels or my relationships to start my day with negativity.
It’s not good for anyone.
Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage) and Michelle Gielan (Broadcasting Happiness) teamed up with Ariana Huffington to research the impact of news on wellbeing and performance. They found that watching positive news stories about resilience (reminding us that our behaviour matters) has a big impact on our happiness and wellbeing later in the day.
Start things badly and the ill wind lingers. Look for the bright side and the sun will shine.
In my last blog post I asked you to unearth your motivation by exploring your little wins – the small (or big) successes that you’ve had this year. When we look for life’s high points our mood lifts and our minds open. We see possibilities to do more and be more, and our motivation rises to the occasion. It’s a simple and effective alternative to the slog-it-out mental battle of will power and determination.
Focus on the positive at the start of your day and you get the same sense of wellbeing and possibility.
Try this to get your day off to a great start.
- Listen to upbeat music. We keep the screens off in the morning. My husband listens to news but the kids and I stick to music. The more upbeat the better. I have a Pandora playlist up loud while I shower and we crank up the local music station on the school run.
- Begin with gratitude. Look for the good things in life before you get sucked into trouble and worry. I like to get outside, enjoy the morning air and look to the sky. I let the chooks out (they’re always happy to see me) and appreciate a moment of solitude before the chaos begins. I’m grateful for those few moments and the opportunity I have to enjoy them.
- Start every interaction with a positive statement. Michelle Gielan, a positive psychology expert and former CBS newscaster, calls these ‘power leads.’ She says that opening a conversation with a genuine, positive statement transforms the way people respond to you. When someone says, ‘How are you?’, don’t complain about your busy day or lament the weather. Tell them something great that has happened. Watch how it transforms their mood and yours.
- Smile. When we’re happy we smile but did you know that smiling can make you happy? Studies have shown that smiling while you undertake mundane tasks lowers your heart rate and stress levels. The bigger the smile, the better you feel. Scientists believe that smiling tricks your brain into thinking that you’re happy and the rest of your body plays along. It might be time to start your day with a smile.
How do you like to start your day? Are you a morning person, or a moaning person? ;-)