6 ways to have a happier morning

Aug. 25, 2014 at 9:29 AM ET

What you do shortly after you rise and shine can determine whether you're going to be in a positive or negative mood all day long. Make sure that you start yourself off on the right foot by taking these happiness-boosting actions first thing in the a.m.

Get Chatty

You may think that keeping quiet while taking public transportation will make you happier—but talking with a stranger during your morning commute is actually a better way to brighten your day, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Don't take a bus or train to work? Try striking up a conversation with the person in line behind you at the coffee shop.

Log on to Facebook

Here's the best excuse to check Facebook that we've ever heard: Browsing through old Facebook photos can help make you happier, according to a study out of the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. Take a trip down memory lane before you head to work to boost your mood all day long.

Listen to Music

You forgot your lunch, and your dress already has a spot on it. Turn your morning around by listening to upbeat music. A University of Missouri study found that happy tunes can indeed give you a pick-me-up. Looks like Pharrell is on to something!

Throw Your Bad Mood Away

Something as simple as writing negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then tossing them out can do wonders for your mood. Research published in the journal Psychological Science found that this exercise can trick your brain into disposing of those bad thoughts.

Wake Up Earlier

Believe it or not, rising earlier than you normally do may make you happier; a 2012 study published in the journal Emotion found that morning people are usually happier and more positive than night owls.

Eat Your Omega-3s

Peeled walnuts on bright background
Birgit Reitz-Hofmann / TODAY
People who eat lots of good-for-you fats are more upbeat. Add some walnuts to your cereal for an omega-3 boost.

Starting off your day with omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to have a happier morning. Sarah Conklin, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, says that people who eat foods high in the good-for-you fats are more upbeat. Add walnuts or flaxseeds to your cereal or smoothie, or scramble some lox into your eggs.

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