Handstands silhouetted against sunset Handstands silhouetted against sunset Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. (Photo: Protasov AN/Shutterstock)

Want to be happier? Do these 6 things every morning

There's a simple beauty in being grateful just to be alive.

Daily affirmations – reminding yourself of the positive aspects of your life, no matter how bad things get – has been scientifically associated with living longer, healthier lives. A recent study out of Tel Aviv University in Israel found that optimistic people are more likely to live longer after their first heart attack than people who have a more pessimistic disposition.

If you're a naturally optimistic person, this shouldn't be difficult for you. But even if you're not, there are a few simple things you can do as soon as you wake up to ensure a happier, fuller day ahead.

1. Expect the best, even in uncertain times.

Scientists say that most of the world's population is mildly optimistic.Scientists say that most of the world's population is mildly optimistic. (Photo: Marekuliasz/Shutterstock)

In the Tel Aviv University study, researchers looked at patients in Israel who had a heart attack 25 years ago. Of the folks who are still alive, the researchers found that optimism played a role.

You don't have to be Einstein (see below for more on our favorite genius) to understand the implication here. When you expect the best, good things happen. Not every day, not in every situation. But in the grand scheme. So go ahead. Tell yourself it's going to be OK.


2. Focus on the present moment. It's what Einstein would do.

Einstein worked on a new refrigerator design from 1926 to 1933.Aside from being a Nobel laureate, Albert Einstein was also pretty good at giving advice. (Photo: Central Press/Getty Images)

We can’t control the future, and as much as we plan as such, we don't actually know what will happen, or why. Same goes with our past – we all have regrets, we all have cringe-worthy moments we wish we could redo (or even erase) – but all we have is the present moment.

Don't believe us? Then we give you Albert Einstein, because why not? Not only was he a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who made some of the most monumental scientific discoveries in modern times, he also had plenty of inspiring musings from a life spent changing the world. One of them, fittingly, is about living in the now: "A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future."


3. Exercise.

Krav Maga Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art. (Photo: oneinchpunch/Shutterstock)

We often tell ourselves that tomorrow's the day, this time we'll make that gym membership worth the while. After all, that treadmill's not going to tread itself. Let this – today – be the day we finally stop talking and start doing.

And if the thought of traditional exercise sends us right back to the couch, remember that there are hundreds – maybe even thousands – of ways to exercise that don't even feel like exercise. One of them is Krav Maga, a form of martial arts invented in Israel, that's long been a popular discipline for building strength and getting fit. It's also an inclusive physical art, capable of transforming people of all sizes and weight classes into powerful self-defense gurus. And it's possible that there's a Krav Maga class near you this very morning.


4. Skip the news.

woman using remote control to turn off the tvTrust us, you've heard it all before. (Photo: 0meer/Shutterstock)

We'll keep this one short, because you've likely read a few tweets covering this topic already. Being up to date on current events is good. Being oversaturated with every angle of every issue from every media outlet on every social media network is not.

Don't click on every story in your feed (present company excluded). There's no need to comment on the latest controversy. You might even consider a news consumption fast for a few hours. Log off. Unplug. Disengage. Self-preserve. Look around. Go outside. Take a morning walk. Play a game. (Yes, the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar board kind.) Your mental health will thank you.


5. Set an intention.

Daily meditation doesn't have to take up too much time.Setting an intention takes only a few seconds. (Photo: Max Petrov/Shutterstock)

This is a common practice among yoga practitioners, but you don't have to be a yogi – or even like yoga at all – to start setting an intention for the day. Simply go to a quiet place, sit down, take a few deep breaths and begin to plant a metaphorical seed in your mind. It can be something as simple as reminding yourself to breathe, or it can be something more self-effacing, like letting go of grudges. Just keep it positive, leave it open to modification and don't set your sights too high.


6. Eat a nutritious breakfast.

spinach egg toastHot breakfast doesn't have to be complicated. (Photo: Jerry James Stone)

A lot of us would like to just eat chocolate cake for breakfast, instead of one packed with nutrients. There is a middle ground, we promise – and we bet you can find it in the recipes of the Israeli Kitchen, From The Grapevine's food channel. From wholesome veggie toast toppers to surprisingly scrumptious meat alternatives, there's surely something to start your day off on the best foot possible. This spinach toast, for example, is a recipe from vegetarian chef Jerry James Stone that literally takes 10 minutes to cook. Ten minutes!

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