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Science Has It: 10 Tricks To Have Happier Mornings You Should Try Now

Science Has It: 10 Tricks To Have Happier Mornings You Should Try Now
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So you finally decided to start waking up earlier after hearing early birds are happier than night owls, but you’re still not loving that morning alarm? These 10 tips backed by science will keep the beginning of your day bright and ensure you never wake up on the wrong side of the bed again.

Before Bed

1. Set a Bed Time

Adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep a night to be considered well rested. Getting the proper amount of sleep has numerous benefits such as lowering the risk of obesity and diseases, as well as increasing your learning and memory abilities. The takeaway? Set a bedtime that allows you to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night and stick to it.

2. Sleep on your right side

When you get in bed, aim to sleep on your right side. In a Turkish study, those who slept on their left side tended to suffer from a high rate of nightmares. Right side sleepers, on the other hand, gravitated towards feelings of security and safety.

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3. Workout

Numerous studies have found that exercise improves sleep quality and helps people fall asleep faster. This plus the numerous other benefits, makes working out a key part of any healthy lifestyle.

4. Keep a Journal

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    Keeping a journal is one of the greatest things you can do for your health. Not only have journal users been found to be much happier, the action of getting your thoughts onto paper can help clear your head before a night of sleep. This alone can make those late nights spent in bed worrying disappear.

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    5. Sleep in the Dark

    A study in Molecular Psychology found that chronic exposure to artificial light can make you less happy. By decreasing exposure to artificial light you can keep your sleep quality and mood up high.

    6. Turn Off Electronics 30 Minutes Before Bed

    Staying up late on electronics like cell phones, tablets, and TVs delay the release of the sleep inducing hormone, melatonin. This can impact both your ability to fall asleep as well as your the overall quality of your sleep. Researchers advise shutting down all electronics about 30 minutes before bed in order to avoid such negative effects.

    In the Morning

    1. Eat Greek Yogurt

    Yogurt is good for you – especially greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is loaded with more calcium, which causes the brain to release nuerotransmitters associated with happiness. Plus, greek yogurt has lots of protein to keep you happy and satisfied all the way until lunch.

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    2. Take a Cold Shower

    Cold showers have been shown to have some awesome benefits. For example, faster fat loss, quicker recovery, better circulation, clearer skin, and increased mood are all boons of turning the temperature down. Start the day off right and brave out the cold. It will be worth it.

    3. Set Daily Goals

    Setting your goals in the morning will help keep you motivated and in the right direction throughout your day – and it only takes 1 minute. Simply ask yourself, “What would make today great?” Then, write down 5 things on a piece of paper and keep it with you throughout the day. This tip alone can boost the achievement of your goals exponentially. If you want more tips on setting goals, check out this post on the science of setting goals.

    4. Log gratefulness

    Practicing gratefulness has shown time and time again to boost happiness. Even thinking about things you’re grateful for in the morning can have a positive effect on your mood. Make it a habit to write and think about things you appreciate – you’ll smile more as a result.

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    Keep these tips in mind and you will be on your way to happier mornings!

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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