Even though both sides of your bed may look the same, you’ve probably heard the old saying about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Scientists have discovered that there’s some truth to the idea.

Being stressed in the morning sets you up for a difficult day even if nothing stressful really happens.

Researchers at Penn State University asked 240 adults to use their smartphones to fill out stress surveys and complete working memory exercises multiple times each day. Participants who were the most stressed in the morning had the most difficulty learning and remembering information in the afternoon.

If you want to feel happier and work more productively, start your day with a positive attitude. Use these tips to deal with stress in the morning or anytime.

How to Reduce Morning Stress

Mornings can be a busy time. Plan ahead so you’ll be able to stay calm while you take care of your responsibilities.

Try these tips to have a more enjoyable morning:

  1. Wake up earlier. Give yourself more time in the morning to enjoy a quiet space and avoid rushing around. Maybe you can write in your journal while your children are still in bed or be the first one to arrive at your office.
  2. Prepare the night before. Streamline your mornings by getting a head start the night before. Lay out your clothing and pack your lunch.
  3. Meditate daily. A regular meditation practice can transform your day. Sit down for 5 or 10 minutes to focus on your breath and still your thoughts.
  4. Repeat affirmations. Recite a phrase that you find energizing or soothing. Make it brief, positive, and action-oriented.
  5. Go offline. The morning news and social media often carry images that may be too disturbing for the early hours. Check the weather and traffic and save heavier content for later.
  6. Work out. Exercise dissolves tension and enhances your mood. Go for a run in the park or take a yoga class before work.
  7. Eat breakfast. Your body needs to refuel in the morning. Eat a hearty breakfast with protein and healthy fats. Caffeine can increase anxiety, so try drinking a glass of water when you get up and wait an hour or two before pouring your first cup of coffee.
  8. Plan your day. Take control of your schedule by setting priorities and blocking out your time. Focus on the most urgent and important tasks you need to complete.

How to Deal with Negative Expectations

While morning stress seems to be particularly powerful, anticipating trouble is
something you may deal with at any hour.

Use these strategies anytime you’re feeling anxious about what’s ahead:

  1. Distract yourself. Sometimes anticipating an event is more unpleasant than the
    event itself. Spend the night before your root canal watching a funny movie
    instead of dreading the dentist’s office.
  2. Plan something fun. If you have to spend your morning being audited, spend
    the afternoon visiting your favorite art museum or baking a fabulous dessert. You tend to remember the things that happen last.
  3. Reframe your thoughts. The way you think about an event affects your experience, so look on the bright side. That dental appointment may make you more comfortable in the long run, and that tax audit can be an opportunity to put your finances in order.
  4. Talk it over. Any challenge seems smaller when you reach out for support. Let your family and friends know when you need help.

Just looking forward to the day ahead may make you happier and more successful. Banish morning stress by becoming more organized and taking care of your mental and physical health.