10 Ways to Wake Up Happier (and Healthier)

woman-sleeping

I love reading my morning email from Oprah.com. They always have the best tips when it comes to living a happier, calmer life. They recently published an article "31 Days to Waking Up Happy for Life," which really caught my eye. I wanted to share with my Honey Good ladies the most important ones that I think everyone should try!

  1. Catch Some Zzz's—the Right Way Turkish researchers found that people who tend to sleep on their right side have mellower dreams, with themes of relief, joy, peace and love. They also report feeling better rested and less dysfunctional during waking hours.
  2. Don't Dream in Half-Light Four weeks of sleeping in a 5-lux glow—the equivalent of nightlights, streetlights, a TV or computer screen—suppressed levels of the feel-good hormone melatonin and shrank parts of the hippocampus, leading to moodiness and despondency. (Note: Depressive symptoms vanished after two weeks of pitch-dark slumber.)
  3. Rethink Your Shower Researchers theorize that ending your shower with a decrease in water temperature (to about 68°F), and staying under the spray for two to three minutes, may trigger neurotransmitters in the brain that produce a sense of well-being.
  4. Have a Little Tulip with Your Coffee In a study led by Harvard Medical School psychologist Nancy Etcoff, PhD, women who saw flowers when they woke up reported feeling happier (and less anxious) at home, as well as more energetic at work.
  5. Soak Up Antidepressant Rays Step outside for a half hour, or so, if you can. The morning light—especially from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.—may be more effective in curing the winter blues than late-afternoon or evening light.
  6. ...Just Don't Forget One Thing On the sunniest days, we squint; and squinting can make us angry, explains Daniele Marzoli, PhD, a psychologist at Italy's University of Chieti-Pescara. Since mood and facial muscles are linked, your face signals to your brain that you're irritated (even if you weren't...initially). To make matters worse, the tetchiness flares up almost instantly, explains Dr. Marzoli. Luckily, this one has a simple, fast-acting and potentially elegant remedy: sunglasses. 
  7. Get Your Heart Racing...and His, Too Schedule an a.m. tryst, and you'll not only feel more vital and alive but also more bonded to your partner for the rest of the day. Testosterone levels are highest in the morning. Having sex then also boosts your levels of the love hormone, oxytocin.
  8. Decorate Your Workspace with Help from Picasso Stoke creativity by introducing hints of blue into your workspace. Researchers at the University of British Columbia's business school found that people who used computers with a blue background came up with more imaginative ideas, possibly because the color is associated with openness and serenity.
  9. Snack on These Seeds A study found that post-grad students whose diets regularly met or exceeded their RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for magnesium (320 milligrams for woman, or roughly half a cup of pumpkin seeds) were less likely to be depressed than students whose diets contained the least amount of magnesium. Plus, the seeds pack in tryptophan, an amino acid that aids the production of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter.
  10. ...But Definitely Not These Foods No matter what's irking you—your partner's tap-tap-tapping foot, a snarky comment, a printer jam—the wrong type of popcorn may play a role in turning annoyance into full-blown rage. Other culprits can include: frozen pizza, crackers, canned frosting, coffee creamer...or anything else that contains high levels of trans-fatty acids (partially hydrogenated oils—see this list).