Are you a morning person or a night owl? Morning people are generally happier than night owls, according to a study. Night owls tend to become morning people as they age. Whichever one you are, it is fascinating to look at the morning habits of happy people because you can be inspired by them. You can also reject what does not suit you at all, of course.

Everyone approaches mornings according to their character. Winston Churchill had a rather lazy morning routine but he still managed to lead the Allies to victory. He used to wake up at around 7.30 a.m. but would stay in bed having breakfast, reading the newspapers and dictating until 11.a.m.

Anne Wintour (editor of Vogue) has a very different morning routine in that she always gets an hour of tennis in before 6.45.a.m.

Here are 10 morning habits of happy and successful people. Choose the ones which appeal to you and fit your lifestyle.

1. They wake up feeling grateful

As they wake up, they always feel grateful for being alive, for the gift of life and for the joy of a new day. When things are bad, make a list in your mind of all the positives.

Research shows clearly that people who regularly express gratitude are less likely to suffer from loneliness, anxiety, depression or envy.

2. They never skimp on breakfast

They know that this is the most important meal of the day. It provides you with all the essential nutrients, minerals and energy you are going to need for the day. Planning a good breakfast the night before is also a good idea. You will be able to get some of the things ready so you can save time when you are under pressure during your morning schedule.

3. They never forget the spiritual connection

“The morning wind spreads its fresh smell. We must get up and take that in, that wind that lets us live. Breathe, before it’s gone.” – Sufi, 13th century poet

As they wake up, they dedicate some time to mindfulness, prayer, meditation, yoga, or offerings to Buddha. These are all valuable ways of connecting to the present reality and savoring these precious moments before going on auto-pilot.

4. They get exercise before they start work

“I ride my bike to work because it creates a stress-free time. I get my best ideas on my bike” – Tania Burke, President of Trek Travel

Some people prefer to walk the dog early in the morning or cycle to work, if that is feasible. Other people, like President Obama, start their daily workout at 6.45.a.m. One study reveals how much more beneficial pre- breakfast exercise can be although it might not suit everybody.

5. They plan their good deeds

“The morning question, what good shall I do this day?” – Benjamin Franklin

It should come as no surprise to learn that when happy people help others it increases their happiness, rather then being a burden. Studies published in the Journal of Happiness Studies illustrate this clearly. Other studies show that these happier and kinder people will live much longer.

“Money doesn’t make people happy. People make people happy.” – Steve Wynn

6. They rarely ruminate about the past

Happy people have one thing in common. They very rarely express regrets about the past. They know that life is for living now and that to-day is the main event. They never let it be hijacked by the past or yesterday’s failures.

7. They make happiness a habit

Did you know that as much as 40% of your daily activities is sheer habit or routine? You are on auto-pilot half the time. Happy people make gratitude, joy and mindfulness a part of that habit and it always works for them, espeacially in the morning..

8. They reject the morning distractions

Happy people know that they do not want those distractions form news, emails and text messages muscling in too early. They will damage their early morning serenity in getting their gratitude and mindfulness act together. This is what is important. Those messages can wait till much later. This also helps them to approach all the deadlines, meetings and tasks with much more serenity.

9. They have set their daily goals

Happy people know what when they do start work, they should try and get the most difficult task done first. It is just part of a list of objectives but they have always clear goals and have prioritized what they want to get done. It increases their happiness.

Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin has researched all this. He found that when you see progress towards achieving a difficult task or goal, this increases happiness and also suppresses all the negative emotion.

10. They have taken out a happiness subscription

When you meet happy people, they give you the impression that they have opted in for a happiness subscription. They are not waiting around or hoping vaguely for random happy events to knock on their door. They are making happiness and spreading it around. That is why they always stand out in the crowd!

“The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves they don’t give a damn.” – Agatha Christie

Featured photo credit: Happiness is excitement……/Marcy Kellar via flickr.com

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