What’s your mood when you wake up each morning? Do you look forward to the day ahead, or are you hoping you can just get through it?
Admittedly, I am not a “morning person.” It takes me a while to get my footing after I wake, but I usually look forward to the start of each day. I have the same routine every morning—drink a cup of coffee with a blueberry muffin and/or bowl of cereal, watch a few minutes of the morning news, and then take our dog, Milo, for a long walk. This all happens before 8:00 a.m., leaving plenty of time for whatever I have planned for the day.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 defined as bursting with energy and optimism each morning and 1 as wanting to crawl back under the covers, I’m somewhere in the 6-8 range. I’ve known a few 10s. It’s best to avoid these people until at least noon, especially if you’re a 3. They act as if their morning coffee is laced with crack cocaine, talking rapidly with exaggerated inflection and arm movements. It is fine to be a go-getter in the morning, but please keep it to yourself until everyone else can catch up.
There are several factors that determine my morning mood and my overall outlook on life. I imagine these factors are consistent with most people.
· Health – If I feel well, I think and act with optimism. I believe good health is the number one factor affecting your quality of life and attitude. Everything else is a distant second. That said, I know individuals fighting severe illnesses who face each day with a smile. These are extraordinary people. I ask myself if I could do the same, and I’m not sure.
· Purpose – Your job or your hobbies may provide inspiration for the day. Writing is a big motivator for me. It keeps me thinking. It keeps me moving forward. I believe everyone needs goals to get them started in the morning, no matter how large or small.
· Family and Friends – Without good relationships, it is difficult to face daily challenges. When all is well with my family and friends, each day starts off a little better.
· Intangibles – I believe some people are predisposed to being positive and upbeat in the morning and some are not. This could come from a combination of genes and environment. If you come from a family of optimistic early risers, you have a better shot at being upbeat in the morning. Where you live may also play a role. There have been studies (1) showing the time people report to work varies greatly by city and region. For example, on average New Yorkers report to work 45 minutes later than those living in Phoenix. This isn’t to say Phoenicians are more upbeat in the morning than New Yorkers. It just says they face the day sooner.
One final note--It helps if your morning mood is shared by your spouse, or is at least in the same range. If not, evasive actions may be needed.