Self Improvement

5 Ways to Refresh Your Morning Routine and Be Happier

Joel Lee 08-04-2015

The first hour of the day dictates how the remaining 23 will go. Lots of events and situations are outside of your control, of course, but your perception and attitude can be influenced by what you do when you first wake up. What do you do, anyway?


If you want to start on the road to self-improvement, you have to be aware of things like this. Take control of your day by taking control of your morning. Get into a groove and start things off right with a proper routine that’s mentally and physically refreshing.

It’s going to be tough, but you won’t regret it. I promise. Here are some ways you can change your morning around and become a happier you. These tips go well hand-in-hand with these ways to boost your mood in the morning.

Wake Up on Time

One major way to begin the day right is to wake up on time. The moment you wake up late is the moment you start rushing. Rushing leads to anxiety and recklessness. You lose control, so you sweat and stress.

There are two components to waking up on time. You have to address both.

Use an effective alarm. Whether you use a physical clock with an ear-shattering bell or one of many advanced mobile alarm apps 4 Yawn-Stifling Alarm Apps to Make Sure You Get Up in the Morning Tired of waking up late, struggling to pull out of bed every morning? You aren't alone. Read More , you’ll need to find something that works for you. If a traditional alarm app doesn’t cut it, you might want to check out these unique alarm apps Better Ways to Wake Up: Unique Alarm Clock Apps for Android Wake up! Isn't it great when someone shakes you up in the morning and makes absolutely sure you’re up? If you’re a serial snoozer like me, you know all about stretching your alarm from five... Read More instead.



Get enough sleep. Ideally we wouldn’t have to use alarms. Instead we’d wake up naturally as soon as our bodies and brains got enough rest, but that’s a luxury that most of us can’t afford. So we need to adapt, and that means deliberately going to bed at the proper time.

If you have trouble falling asleep, you may need to change your computer habits Sleep Better & Improve Your Health By Changing How You Use Your Computer Computer work must not be hard on your body. Simple changes that only cost you minutes each day can have a great impact. Here are some tools to help you out. Read More . Bad posture can tense up your muscles. Web browsing, video games, and caffeine can keep your mind active long after you’ve “dosed” yourself.

But most importantly, the screen glow from electronic devices and monitors can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, which is why you should always use a program like F.lux Use F.lux To Sleep Better After Late-Night Computer Activities If you look carefully, most of LCD monitors have a button to automatically change the attributes of the screen to adjust for the types of media which is being viewed. Read More or an app like Twilight The 5 Best Apps to Manage Screen Brightness on Android Improper screen brightness settings can cause your eyes to strain and fatigue. That's why you should be using one of these Android screen brightness apps. Read More to shift the light towards a warmer color at night.


Stretch and Stay Fit

You have to keep your body happy to keep your mind happy. They go hand in hand. Sitting in front of a computer 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long (And How to Avoid Them) Sitting too long at your desk or on your couch is a modern epidemic. Here are four deadly risks to a sedentary lifestyle. Read More all day long will kill your posture, strain your eyes, reduce your flexibility, and generally make you feel miserable Log Into Life: Top 9 Tips To Fight Computer Fatigue & Protect Your Health Did you know that your sedentary lifestyle could be killing you from the inside out? Ryan has already presented a case on potential health risks from sitting too long, and for those of us who... Read More .

On the flip side, a little bit of physicality — even if it’s just a bit of stretching and a brisk walk — can work wonders for your mental clarity. Fit it into your mornings and you’ll reap the benefits for the rest of the day.


For a healthy dose of at-home exercise, check out these YouTube workout channels 7 Best YouTube Workout Channels To Exercise at Home Home gyms and personal trainers help the moneyed get up straight from their beds and hit the gym. We lesser mortals have to call on our powers of self-motivation and discipline to trudge the few... Read More and consider reading some of the advice from these online fitness experts 8 Fitness Experts On The Web With The Best Health Advice For You The last thing you want to do is take fitness advice from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. These experts are the ones to follow for tested veteran advice. Read More . For something less intense, what about these YouTube yoga channels 5 Top Yoga Channels On YouTube That Help You Beat Stress After a stressful day, a few minutes of yoga can mean the difference between anxiety and rest. Load up these YouTube channels and don't be surprised when your stress melts away. Read More supplemented by these mobile yoga apps 10 Yoga Apps That Help You Workout Anywhere The world has taken to the benefits of yoga. With a smart yoga app, you can practice your favorite yoga poses anywhere. Here's some help finding a yoga app that suits your needs. Read More ?


And if you’re really pressed for time, these quick workout apps Stay Fit: The 5 Best Quick Workout Apps For Android Need to find the time to exercise? These apps can help you with only a few minutes of your day. Read More can get your heartrate up and your muscles limber in less than ten minutes. We also recommend switching to a standing desk From Sitting To Standing While Typing: Why You Need To Change Your Working Habit Writing full-time keeps me sitting at a desk nearly eight hours a day. My office chair is not one of those Lexus ergonomic models designed to take away the pain of sitting, and though I’ve... Read More and doing a few office desk exercises 8 Easy Exercises To Help You Stay Fit At Your Desk Staying fit at your desk is actually possible. Here are some exercises anyone can do. Some don't even require getting up, others take no longer than 10 minutes out of your daily routine. Read More throughout the day.

Think Positive Thoughts

While I don’t subscribe to the “think positive and you will prosper” school of thought, I do believe that your state of mind is heavily influenced by the company you keep. If you’re always around X, you’re bound to become more like X.

Therefore if you indulge in positive content, your mindset will gradually become more positive as well. You will still experience the ups and downs of life, but your perception and attitude will be different. In the end that’s what really matters, isn’t it?



Start with these TED Talks about human psychology 6 Mind-Blowing TED Talks About Psychology & Human Behavior The human brain is complex and confusing, which explains why human behavior is so complex and confusing. People have a tendency to act one way when they feel something completely different. Here are a few... Read More , particularly the ones by Alain de Botton and Richard St. John. Highly recommended by many.

Then, find some encouragement with the Internet’s friendliest websites Feeling Down? Find Some Encouragement On The Internet's Friendliest Websites It’s that time of year again! Joy and happiness everywhere. But perhaps with everything going on, you’re just not feeling yourself. Does that sound like you? Well, no matter the time of year, we all... Read More as well as these positive thinking websites Change Your Mind: 8 Really Inspirational Websites For Your Days & Life Inspiration is not so simple. It is a higher calling. If motivation is the push, inspiration is the pull. On a gloomy day, we need big doses of both. Even little slivers of either go... Read More . Need some more inspiration fodder? Continue on with these inspirational websites 7 Amazingly Inspirational Websites That You Forgot to Bookmark The websites below are a potpourri of interesting conversations, good news from around the world, uplifting advice, and thought provoking ideas. All of them are built around the hope that you will use them to... Read More and these motivational Android apps 5 Free Motivational Android Apps You Can Carry Around With You Everyday Mobile apps have ‘reformed’ us in more ways than we can imagine. Let’s think about our daily need to motivate and push ourselves into action. Thanks to the glut of motivational apps on the Android... Read More .

If you’ve gotten this far and you’ve skipped all of the links above, that’s okay. I don’t blame you. At the very least, however, do check out these motivational TED Talks 10 Motivational TED Talks To Help You Chip Away At Your Mental Blocks The valuable lesson from the lives of achievers is that they chip away at their mental blocks more consistently than others. Ten TED Talks underscore one simple thing – it’s all in the mind. Read More and these inspirational videos 8 Inspirational Videos That Will Instantly Pump Up Your Motivation How do you feel about motivational videos? You may think that they’re nothing more than glorified, digital pep rallies where overly optimistic people preach empty words of success, victory, and ultimately happiness. And to some... Read More . They just might change your life.

Meditate, Relax, and Enjoy

Are you the kind of person who reaches for your phone as soon as your eyes flick open? Or do you roll out of bed and sit down at the computer as if by reflex? Just because you’re up and awake doesn’t mean you have to start your day yet.

Why not take some time — maybe just a few minutes — to sit back and enjoy the morning? Perhaps you can watch the sunrise, sip a cup of coffee, meditate and/or pray, or even just listen to the silence of dawn. What’s important is that you slow down.


With an app like Stop, Breathe & Think, you can start practicing mindfulness meditation Learn Meditation On Any Device & Don't Spend A Dime Contrary to popular opinion, you can meditate without a yoga mat, religious guidance, a peaceful personal space, incense candles, and any other apparatus. Here's a simple tool to help you begin. Read More right away. Not only does it help set the tone of the day to come, it aids in developing self-awareness and focus. We also have several other resources for meditation Meditation Made Easy: Tools & Resources To Aid Your Well-Being If you have come to the conclusion that meditation is a method to calm your mind and achieve well-being worth trying, then we can help you with resources and tools. Read More that you’ll find useful.

For how long? For as long as it suits you. Seriously, it could be as short as relaxing for two minutes Take A Break: 10 Websites To Help You Relax For Two Minutes It's incredibly important to take the time to relax occasionally. It doesn't do anyone any good to constantly be ON, to be working, to be stressed by the rigors of everyday life. In the same... Read More or for as long as an hour. The right length is whatever time period fits into your schedule and gets you adequately prepared for the day.

And don’t forget the tea and/or coffee. If you don’t drink either, that’s fine! But if you find that tea and/or coffee helps to clear your mind, go for it. Supplement with these Android coffee apps 4 Free Android Apps For Coffee Lovers Humans have been drinking coffee since at least the fifteenth century, and the beverage is only gaining in popularity. Unlike coffee, smartphones haven’t been around since the fifteenth century – but now that we have... Read More and iOS coffee apps 7 Apps That Every Coffee Lover Should Own [iOS] Almost everyone loves coffee. It helps us get going in the morning when we do not feel like getting out of bed. In fact, I am sitting at my desk sipping on a cup to... Read More for maximum enjoyment.

Schedule Time to Catch Up

By now, you’re well into the morning and likely dying to check your email, text messages, RSS feeds, etc. If so, good news: now’s the time to catch up on everything that happened while you were asleep!

But there’s one caveat: you must set a time limit.


We’ve all been there. You wake up bright and early, you feel ready to take on the world, but then you sit down at your computer to “see what’s new” and before you know it a few hours have flown by. Time is slippery, which is why you must set a time limit. I recommend a maximum of 30 minutes.

Need help sticking to the limit? Check out these email productivity boosters 6 Simple Tricks to Reduce Email Stress Dealing with email is the best part of my day. Said no one ever. You need all the tips you can get to manage your email inbox? We can help you out! Read More along with these email efficiency tips 10 Tips To Help You Email More Efficiently The best advice I have heard about email and email productivity is – don’t answer emails first thing in the morning. It is a bit paradoxical but true that email and productivity are at loggerheads... Read More . Follow the advice thoroughly and you’ll be emailing like a pro How To Email Like A Pro There are a lot of factors that play into email efficiency – not just writing the emails, but setting up the inbox, managing emails, knowing when to check emails, and more. Boosting email efficiency means... Read More in no time.

If you’re still having trouble, try this morning email ritual Can't Put Off Email Every Morning? Try This Ritual Instead Starting your day the email way is regularly put down – even though most of us do it. Is checking email after waking up really so bad? Read More instead.

It Takes Discipline to Build Habits

No one said it would be easy. Falling into a new morning routine is just as difficult as — if not harder than — building new habits Trouble Reaching Your Goals? Form A Habit Streak [Android] Picking up new habits can be a difficult task, which is why numerous popular methods exist to help you manage it. If you regularly find yourself realising that your plan to take a daily morning... Read More . Are you quick you break your resolutions? Try using one or more of these habit-building mobile apps Resolutions, Accomplished: 9 Android Apps For Building Habits Resolutions can be good for you if you actually keep them, and there are plenty of Android apps available that can help you with that. Read More .

Just stick with it for a month and you’ll start seeing noticeable changes. Once you’ve conquered the morning ritual, you can move on to these daily productivity rituals 8 Daily Rituals You Can Create To Boost Your Geeky Productivity Habits are hard to hack. Daily rituals are way easier. You keep at something (good or bad) for several days in a row and it turns into a habit. Read More that many people swear by.

Are you a morning person? What does your morning routine look like? Do you see any areas where you could improve? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below!

Image Credits: Bedside Alarm Clock Via Shutterstock, Happy Morning Via Shutterstock, Morning Stretch Via Shutterstock, Relaxing Coffee Via Shutterstock, Checking the Laptop Via Shutterstock

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  1. dragonmouth
    April 10, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    If you are "not a morning person" working a morning job, no matter what you do you are going to be dragging until at least the late afternoon.

    • Joel Lee
      April 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Here's a question: Do you think people can be re-trained into being a morning person or night person?

    • dragonmouth
      April 17, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Yes, but it won't happen overnight. I started out as a night person. After working midnight to 8 AM for four years, I got "cured" of the night habit. Even though I was a "night person" staying up past 4 AM every day was very disorienting.

      The shift I liked working the most was the 2 PM - 10 PM. I had a chance to wake up like a normal human being, do whatever chores I had to, eat lunch and then drive to work without any traffic. I came home early enough that I still got to see my family. An the most important thing that lowered my stress level was the fact that I had to deal with my bosses only for a couple of hours a day because by 6 PM they were gone.

      Most of my career was spent working 6 AM - 2 PM. That has turned me into an early morning person. I rarely can sleep past 5 AM.