Try these 4 morning habits for a happy day

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s easy to overlook the importance of starting the day on the right foot, but it’s important to remember that how you start your day is how you end your day.

Source: Hello

As a happiness expert, I follow daily rituals to start my day in the best way possible, stepping into gratitude and toning my vagus nerve daily” says Caroline Strawson

Here’s how I start each morning for a happier day…

Breath Work and meditation

Before I even get out of bed, I start with some breath work and meditation to anchor me in the present moment and quieten the chatter of my mind.

As I am still lying in bed, I close my eyes and focus on my breath. An easy breath work technique is to breathe in for five, hold for two and then exhale for eight. This extension of the exhale completely anchors me into the present moment.

I do this for 10 minutes while listening to a guided meditation.

Research has shown that these practices can regulate the autonomic nervous system, specifically activating the parasympathetic branch responsible for rest and digestion and toning the vagus nerve. By tapping into this physiological response, I prime my body and mind ready for optimal functioning, laying the groundwork for a day of presence and peace.

Gratitude practice

Following my meditation practice, and whilst still in bed, I step into three gratuities about my life, however big or small. This is a positive psychology practice and helps me step into an abundant mindset.

Taking a moment to reflect on the blessings in my life, I express heartfelt gratitude for everything from the warmth of the morning sun to the unwavering support of loved ones.

Research has shown that expressing three different gratuities every day for 21 days can turn even a pessimist into a moderate optimist up until 88 years of age, so there is no excuse! By integrating gratitude into my morning routine, I not only shift my perspective towards the positive but also set the stage for a day filled with joy and appreciation.

Ice baths

As the final part of my morning ritual, I spend eight minutes in an ice bath. I have set my body up for my ice bath with my breath work practice and then I submerge myself in icy water at eight degrees. This not only awakens my senses and invigorates my body but also cultivates a sense of resilience and mental fortitude.

The benefits of cold exposure extend beyond the physical as we release a hormone called dopamine, a feel-good hormone associated with pleasure and reward.

Additionally, the shock to the system triggers the activation of the vagus nerve, a key regulator of the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and stress reduction and builds a bigger capacity in the nervous system to cope with daily challenges and stresses that may crop up.

Always seek medical advice before embarking on an ice bath routine.

Integrating positive psychology

At its core, my morning routine embodies the principles of positive psychology which is a branch of psychology focused on the promotion of well-being and fulfilment. It’s the science of happiness.

By incorporating practices such as breath work, meditation, gratitude, and an ice bath into my daily routine, I tap into a wealth of evidence-based strategies for enhancing happiness and resilience.

Through intentional and consistent effort, I’ve come to realise that happiness is not merely a destination but a journey. It has to be an intentional practice of self-discovery, growth, and self-compassion.

In conclusion, the pursuit of happiness begins each morning with a deliberate and intentional choice to prioritise my mental health and well-being with practices that nourish my mind, body, and spirit.

By embracing breath work, meditation, gratitude, and an ice bath, we can unlock the transformative power of positive psychology and cultivate a life of purpose, resilience, and authentic happiness.