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Ever get up on the wrong side of bed? No worries. All it takes is five minutes to re-set your mind and give yourself an attitude adjustment.
“The way we live our mornings sets the foundation for the kind of day we have and the life we live,” says Kristi Ling, happiness strategist, life coach and author of Operation Happiness: the 3-Step Plan to Creating a Life of Lasting Joy, Abundant Energy, and Radical Bliss (Rodale, 2016). “We have to prioritize happiness from the moment we wake up or it stays at the bottom of the priority list.”
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So get ready to smile: these six simple tips from Ling can help you be happier in less than five minutes. Pretty good trade-off for a day full of sunshine!
1. Create a list of five or more things you feel grateful for.
“Numerous studies have shown the positive effects of gratitude on happiness, health, and overall wellness,” says Ling. Do this first thing in the morning and ride that wave of gratitude and happiness the rest of the day.
2. Practice the three “S’s” upon waking.
First, Smile. “The simple act of smiling itself will trigger brain chemicals that will boost happiness,” says Ling. Next, Say Thanks. Close your eyes (while smiling) and think of a few things you’re grateful for (see number 1) to boost positive feelings and uplifting emotions. Lastly, Set Your Intention for the day, whether it’s caring for your body by eating healthfully or helping your team at work with a big project. “Once you’ve done all three S’s, you’ll feel a great boost in your mood and renewed motivation for what lies ahead,” says Ling.
3. Practice Ho’oponopono
Ho’oponopono is the ancient Hawaiian act of forgiveness. “This helps erase negative energy and bring healing and good feelings around any situation,” says Ling. To do, picture a person or situation that’s been causing you distress and repeat these four powerful phrases over and over: “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” “Thank you,” and “I love you.” “These four phrases, when repeated for several minutes (no matter who was in the wrong), have an almost magical affect, bringing noticeable positive feelings, clarity, and energy around the situation,” says Ling.
“It sounds elementary, but most people are walking around mildly dehydrated,” says Ling. “Even a 1% drop in hydration is enough to zap your positive emotional energy, as well as drain your physical energy significantly.” When feeling sluggish, down a large glass of room-temperature water, then take a quick walk. “You’ll receive a dose of happiness both from the extra hydration and from the simple act of doing something healthy and caring for yourself,” says Ling.
5. Eat mood-boosting foods.
Items known to increase serotonin levels, such as dark chocolate, Greek yogurt, green tea, leafy greens, raw almonds, or eggs, are your perfect happy-making snacks. “Serotonin is the chemical messenger in the brain known to lift your mood,” says Ling. Double-dose your brain by pairing some of these foods, such as adding some slivered almonds to your yogurt or some spinach to your eggs.
6. Practice random acts of kindness texting.
Send a super positive text to a couple of people in your life about how much you appreciate them, or commending them on something they did, or just to say you’re thinking about them. “These small acts will bring instantly happy feelings for you and for those who receive your unexpected messages of joy,” says Ling. “Think of it as electronic fairy dust!”