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7 Morning Habits to Be Happier at Work

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 3/08/2015 BusinessCollective

© REX/JONATHAN FORD / Mood Board Author David Tomás is a young entrepreneur and Cofounder of Cyberclick Group, a leading digital marketing company. He likes talking about decision-making, new forms of creativity, personal and professional fulfillment, and how to build the best, happiest company in the world. His company was named Best Workplace in the 2014 Small and Medium Enterprise category.

During the starting phases of my business I realized how rushed my days were. I was continually running around trying to get more done than I possibly could. So I began researching solutions, and after reading hundreds of books and articles, I came up with a personal list to help with creating happiness and getting rid of the daily rush. I've since shared these ideas with my company, and witnessed many positive reactions after employees implemented them into their daily lives. Both they and myself have felt more fulfilled, calm and happy throughout the day.

It all starts with your morning: rather than waking up on the wrong side of the bed, start with calm positivity. Whether you're an early riser who finds enjoyment in the early hours of the day, or a night owl who falls asleep already dreading the sound of the alarm, these seven morning habits will form the basis of a happy and productive workday.

1. Wake Up Earlier

© F1 Online/Rex Features In 2007 I attended an event featuring management expert Ken Blanchard. During a lunch, Blanchard was asked how people could be more present and relaxed during the day. His simple, intelligent response stuck with me: start your day slowly.

By habitually setting your alarm an hour earlier, you can start your day off at a slower pace with enough time to relax, think about what you need to do and plan out your day. Changing the time you wake up can have dramatic effects on your happiness and productivity. Taking this time in the morning to prepare for your day, as I have experienced, leaves you with enough time to reflect on what you want to do that day while feeling both calm and ready to go.

2. Try Breathing Exercises

© Ocean/Corbis Focusing on your breathing is proven to help increase concentration, decrease stress and lower blood pressure. Starting your day off with some breathing exercises can help you feel ready for a productive day. An example is deep belly breaths, where you take in a deep breath through your nose, fill your stomach and slowly release the air through your lips. You can also count the seconds while you breathe, counting to four as you breathe in, holding your breathe for five seconds and releasing it for six seconds. These are just two of the many exercise examples that will leave you feeling calm.

3. Smile!

A smile has an impact on both you and those around you. If you want to be happier, change your environment starting with yourself. Smile near others and watch as they mimic your actions (and others mimic theirs).

According to Ron Gutman, the founder and CEO of HealthTap, when someone smiles, it's challenging for others to frown, since the control we have over our facial muscles becomes suppressed. There were also studies done as early as 1988 that showed that even false smiles still have beneficial effects. Start your day by smiling, and you're sure to begin in a better frame of mind.

4. Thank Someone

© ERIC THAYER/Newscom/Reuters Being grateful and accepting gratitude are two keys to being happy that we typically forget. You can start your day being positive, and spread that positivity by recognizing someone for how they've helped you. Expressing your gratitude has a powerful effect on both yourself and the other person, including improved mental alertness.

Something we've implemented in our office to enhance this habit is finishing our weekly meetings by sharing an example of our company values from our own lives. This gives everyone an opportunity to openly thank someone, whether an individual, group or company. It also encourages each person to scan the world for the positive, ultimately helping to create a happier environment.

5. Relax Every 90 Minutes

When you're forcing yourself to focus for hours on end, you'll slowly become lost in thought and generally unproductive. A way to avoid this unproductive state is to take breaks every 90 minutes. Do something as simple as going for a quick walk -- anything to disconnect for a bit and get your creativity flowing. The short amount of time you take to relax will result in more efficient work as well as increased happiness and satisfaction throughout the day.

I've witnessed this habit in action. Each person in my company takes a brief break every hour and a half. They take a walk, get coffee or play a quick match of foosball. We've watched productivity and happiness increase immediately after these breaks, which then continues throughout the day, showing how effective it is to slow down and give yourself breaks.

6. Do Something for Others

© Monkey Business Images/REX Helping other people is a great way to start your day off on a positive note. Try to be of assistance to others who could use it. By volunteering to help others, you're creating social connections that result in many benefits, including the release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps us create bonding relationships and deal with stressors. You're not only helping yourself, you're also spreading happiness and positivity.

Any company consists of a team of unique individuals. But at the end of the day, collaboration creates a sense of connectedness, which makes your team strong and efficient. In our office, we thank employees who give a helping hand by mentioning them in our weekly meeting and encouraging people to continue giving back to others.

7. Living Wholeheartedly

This idea is perhaps the most complex, but it is also the most important. It all boils down to giving everything you do a purpose. No matter how small some tasks may seem, each one serves a larger function. Beginning your day by finding purpose in each task gives you an optimistic outlook that will shape your attitude, which will determine how you manage your happiness and interact with others.

Positive morning habits are incredibly beneficial. A way to encourage them in action is by helping everyone you work with define their mission statement and goals while ensuring they're aligned with the company's vision. In our company we help each employee create their mission statement, since in the end this alignment will lead to more productive -- and happier -- team members.

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