To create happiness, build positive emotions one by one, on top of one another in “upward spirals”, says positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson.
You can exponentially grow your health and happiness by layering positive choices on top of one another. The upward spiral you create pulls energy into your life, and your positive thoughts, feelings, and choices fuel one another, keeping this powerful energy spiraling up. If you feel your energy depleting, make restorative choices.
If you don’t have a morning ritual you love, try one of these 7 ideas or create your own. Practice the daily rituals for a month to see for yourself if they help you start—and stay—positive.
- Strike a “power pose” Stand in front of the mirror, smile, and raise your arms over your head like Wonder Woman. Say something positive like, “I am strong!” or “I will be kind to my body today!” 3 times. Change up the poses if you feel like it. Amy Cuddy, PhD, suggests power poses flip a switch in your brain to positive thinking. Your body stances can change your mind.
- Take deep breaths Find a comfortable spot to sit, then close your eyes. Inhale deeply, allowing your chest and abdomen to expand. Imagine the day’s new, fresh sunlight filling each of your cells. As you exhale completely and fully, imagine yourself cleansing within, creating space for whatever the day brings. Focused breathing elicits relaxation, impacting your heart, brain, digestive system, and immunity.
- Spread gratitude Thank your daily helpers—your childcare provider, the bus driver, your barista—for their hard work. Make a new friend while you’re in line for coffee. Say good morning to a stranger. Surprise the person behind you by buying their coffee. Human connections make everyone feel good.
- Take 10 minutes of stillness Snuggle with your partner or your pet, or relax by yourself. Breathe calmly, notice things. When you practice directing your mind in a relaxed state, you strengthen your awareness, which can save you from downward spirals.
- Inversion therapy Doing a headstand, handstand, or forward bend—even hanging your head off the side of your bed gives an invigorating, healthy head rush. Remember to get up slowly
- Let the sun shine in Eat breakfast by a window or outside to boost your brain’s serotonin, which is linked with improved mood. Listen to the birds chirping or other signs of an energetic, living world just outside your door.
- Seek to be inspired Start each morning with a quote or meditation that sets the tone for your day. The power of our thoughts leads to physical manifestations. Spend a few moments clearly deciding how you wish to shape your day, and then act as if your intention has already come true.
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