You know those times when you wake up, jump out of bed, and SMASH - you knock your glass of water off the bedside table. All over your power board, no less. You try your best not to die while you clean that mess up, and then stub your toe walking to the bathroom. Then the kids start arguing. You take a deep breath and try to refocus with a nice cup of warm coffee… and spill it down your fresh shirt with the first sip.
Well, your kids probably experience mornings like this, too. You know, when their favourite cartoon plays an old episode, big sister is taking too long in the bathroom, or they just realised they forgot to do their homework (due today). I say that with a little sarcasm, but to kids, those moments are end-of-the-world type problems!
You and the kids'll probably be tempted to crawl back into bed and hide, because you just know – it’s going to be one of THOSE days. And with that mindset, it sure will be!
Before you leave the house in the morning, you need to know how to put a stop to the Negative Nelly Brigade and make the decision to turn your day around, right then and there. Better yet, start bringing morning routines into every day to reduce the possibility of Negative Nelly rearing her ugly head in the first place.
If you're just starting out, just focus on you first. Trying to get your kids to change their mindset from Day 1 might send you loopy, so focus on being the example and one day, the family will most likely follow.
Here are 8 scientifically proven ways to turn difficult mornings into positive days, or reduce the chances of a difficult morning before it even arises!
The 'natural antidepressant'. The right music can give you a euphoric high, just with the tap of a button.
Music can make anything better – whether it’s the housework, the commute to work, or a tough workout. Music can help to put you in whatever zone you need to be in to excel.
Scientists say that soothing beats encourage the release of serotonin - which fosters happiness and a general sense of wellbeing, and; dopamine - a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.
To do: Make a ‘feel good’ play list (with songs your kids enjoy too) for next time you or your kids are in a funk. Better yet, crank music every morning while you all get ready and see what changes it makes.
"Music is a piece of art, that goes in the ears, straight to the heart" - unknown
Gratitude – one of my three biggest game-changers when it came to transforming my life.
There’re simply not enough words in the world to explain how amazing gratitude is! I use gratitude daily, when I wake up, as I go through my day, and before I go to sleep. If you want to feel waves of joy rush over you, then you and your family should start practicing gratitude now.
To do: Stop, breathe, and find three things to be deeply grateful for before things spiral out of control.
Make it a daily habit when you see each other in the morning to express1-3 things you're grateful for. If the kids aren't in the mood, so be it. As long as you keep the habit up, they should jump back on the train in time. Sign up to my mailing list to receive your FREE IHH 10 Days of Gratitude workbook.
"Joy is the simplest form of gratitude." - Karl Barth
Being out in the sunshine makes me feel amazing. There's something about feeling the warmth on your skin and being outside in nature that makes everything just ooze energy and positivity.
Studies have found that people with depressive symptoms who spent more time in the sun than their primarily-indoors counterparts showed noticeably less symptoms of depression over a 7-week period. This is because vitamin D activates genes that release serotonin and dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitters.
To do: In struggle-town? Take your coffee outside into the sun for just a few minutes. Particularly in summer, encourage the whole family to eat breakfast outside under the sun. Open up all the blinds in the house. Let the light in! You'll be amazed at what the morning light can do to a person's mood.
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman
To get your mind off whatever went wrong, become more mindful, and truly appreciate the beauty in every single day, all you need to do is become more aware by using all your senses.
Listen to the music, the sound of the birds waking up outside, your kids laughing, or simply the sound of silence. We all know that can be a thing of myths in a bustling household.
Taste your breakfast and coffee. Don't just shove it down your throat as you're getting ready. Slow down, take 3 deep breaths before eating, and truly taste every single mouthful! Enjoy the meal, and feel satisfied that you took the time to appreciate every bite of the food that you went to the effort to make.
See things you wouldn't normally see. As you're walking around the house, look out the window, check out your indoor plants (unless they're half-dead like mine), admire the art on the wall or stuck to the fridge. Take the time to appreciate the good things you see around you.
Touch the things around you that you might take for granted. Give your kids a hug that's a little tighter than usual. Pet your furry animal friend and feel their soft coat under your hand. Feel the cool, refreshing air on your skin as you open the window, or feel the warm water rush over you. Not everyone has these little luxuries.
Smell your perfume and appreciate how nice it's making you feel. Smell the flowers as you pass by them. Take a whiff of your tea before you drink it.
All of these things only take moments out of your morning, but it's still near-impossible to be mindful when you're late every day. If you can, wake up 20 minutes earlier to take the pressure off. You deserve a calm, mindful morning, and so does the rest of your family.
"Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognise a condition of happiness that you have, more happiness comes."
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Remember, this is only Part 1, so see how you go with these four tips and tricks, take notice of how you felt before and after using each one, and start preparing your own ‘Crappy Morning Kit’.
Whip the tools out that work best for you, and crush negativity in its tracks! YOU are in control of your life, not outside influences. As I said earlier, be the example, and allow your children to follow in your footsteps when the time is right. Putting pressure on them to do as you say will only cause resistance.
Take it slow and see how you go. The fact that you've read this all the way to the ends shows you that you're on the right track.
Love & Happiness
UPDATE: Jump straight to Part two of '8 ways to turn difficult mornings into positive days' here.
P.S Do you know someone who could really benefit from reading this? To give them the motivation and push they need to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of the young people around them? Share this post with them. Even if they don't embrace it straight away, you've done your part. Thank you.
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