Sometimes, it’s hard to know what’s needed in order to begin your day in the best way possible. Doing exercise, checking your emails, not checking your emails, having a shower, sleeping in, having a light breakfast, having a full breakfast…the list goes on and on until it’s an unmanageable mess and you can’t decide what to do one way or another.

Want to know how to begin your day? We’ve compiled some of the best things to do and remind yourself of to make sure you begin your day on the right note and keep having a great, bright, and positive day.

1. Remember that it’s a brand new day

Upon waking up, a positive way to begin your day is to simply acknowledge the fact that this is a brand new day, unlike any you will ever have again or will have ever had previously. Some days, the bravest thing we can do is wake up and face the world, and it’s made much easier by the fact that every day is the chance to do something right, to be the best version of yourself you can be. You can work towards those goals of yours, those dreams, and you can achieve anything you want in those same hours as are available to everyone else. Begin your day with the knowledge of that fact and go forth into a brighter day feeling indestructible.

2. Have a proper breakfast

One of the best ways to begin your day is to actually sit down and have a proper breakfast, rather than rushing around and either skipping the meal altogether or grabbing something on the go. Wake up early and carve out the time for a breakfast that will act as the proper fuel for your day ahead. There’s something incredibly satisfying about sitting down with a full and enjoyable breakfast you can eat and savor—a full English, some yogurt and honey, scrambled eggs, orange juice—whatever really attracts your taste buds in the morning, and if you want to have a brighter day, go ahead and enjoy a piece of the day entirely for yourself.

3. Spend time in the sun

Or just generally outside, if preferable, because let’s be honest, the weather isn’t always pleasant. The point is that if you want to begin your day in a positive manner, you should spend time outside in nature or at least in fresh air. Numerous studies have shown that spending time out in nature, or even living close to nature, can positively affect a person’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It’s advisable for everyone to try and spend a little time with nature, even if it’s only for five minutes during a lunch break. Go sit out in a park or take a walk in a forest. It’ll be reinvigorating and rejuvenating and will help you continue your day.

4. Check your emails as little as possible

We’re all experts at checking our emails at numerous, regular intervals and often it proves to be such a disruptive time-vampire that it can make even the process of beginning your day much more broken. One of the best ways to have a brighter day is to make sure that you’re not constantly running back and forth from the altars of Outlook and Gmail. A lot of the time you won’t be needing something specific and it’ll be wasting time for the sake of wasting time, purely out of habit. Limit yourself to checking your emails every half hour, or even better, every hour. You’ll feel more freedom and will enjoy having more time and focus throughout the day.

5. Smile at everyone

Smiling is good for you. It’s a scientific fact that smiling helps improve positive feelings, mental health, and has plenty of physiological benefits, even if you start off faking that smile. Let’s face it, the world can suck a lot of the time, but putting a smile on your face can be the perfect way to begin your day on the right foot. Smiling encourages positivity and also helps affect other people. Several studies have shown that smiling at other people makes them much more likely to smile back, a reciprocal gesture developed to foster social inclusivity through our millennia of evolution. Essentially, smiling and smiling back helps you feel more positive and generally better, something we’re designed to do. What better way to begin your day?

6. Read something good

Begin your day by reading something good, something that makes you smile or makes you think, because nothing will wake up your mind and inspire you to have a great day more than reading something you love or that interests you. Reading widens your horizons, focuses your mind, and enlightens you to new ideas, new thoughts, and new stories that can help positively shape you. Read a chapter of a novel, read a magazine article that caught your eye. Read it on the bus to work, read it during your lunch, and use it as a break and as a way to have a brighter, better day.

7. Have something sweet

Having something sweet might not be the best idea first thing in the morning (see tip 2 for some breakfast suggestions, because three donuts does not a good breakfast make) but planning a treat throughout the day is a perfect motivator to help you begin your day. It doesn’t even have to be sweet—treat yourself to something nice and that is guaranteed to make you happy and smile. Keep it in your back pocket and make it a part of your schedule so that you get to begin your day in a positive way and with at least one treat set for later.

8. Use a to-do list

To-do lists are the new kind of social accessory that everyone seems to be carrying around with them, or at least the people I know. To-do lists are extremely useful, however, and they can certainly help you begin your day on a bright and positive note when utilized right. Preparing a to-do list the night before can be extremely beneficial, as it allows you to assess your goals for the day, state your objectives and determine which tasks need accomplishing. It also provides some much-needed mental space; once you’ve jotted everything down, it’s safe and on paper or electronically stored. Use that to-do list to begin your day right so that you wake up happier, more at ease, and in a much more relaxed state, allowing you to have a bright day.

9. Have fun plans

Getting off of work gives a rush of euphoria that nearly everyone feels, and one of the best ways to begin your day is to ensure you have some awesome plans lined up for when you get off work or finish all your duties for the day. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be base jumping or dinner with Beyoncé, but having something positive, fun and enjoyable waiting for you at the end of the day can make the beginning of your day infinitely easier. Make a date with yourself for an evening of reading, TV, and takeout; go out dancing and drinking with some work colleagues and friends; go see a film on a date; absolutely anything! It ensures you can begin your day with a positive end goal and a treat at the end of things to make it all worthwhile.

10. Get plenty of sleep

Lastly, the best way to begin your day brighter and happier is to get plenty of sleep. Yes, I know there’s a culture of ‘let’s see how little sleep I need to function’ and wearing your three hours of sleep like a badge of honor, but getting such a small amount of shut-eye can lead to a multitude of health problems and a complete shutdown of any sense of healthy productivity or well-being in general. The best way to begin your day? Make sure it’s been preceded by a good amount of restful sleep so you can ready yourself for a productive and brighter day.

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