An Optimism Doctor Told Us How a Morning Routine Can Make You Happier

What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning? A well-rounded morning routine sets the tone for the day and gets you prepped—both mentally and physically—before diving into a packed schedule filled with emails, chores, happy hours, workouts, and more. Our series Morning Person profiles those who have mastered the art of the morning routine. Tune in every Monday morning here and on our Instagram to learn exactly how the pros get it all done before the sun comes up, from their go-to breakfasts to their a.m. workouts.

Whether our eyes are set on a career move, the next step in our relationship, having more money in the bank, or all of the above, we generally all have one common goal: happiness. In fact, entire businesses are built on the idea that their next app, book, supplement, etc., will turn you in a better, more content human being. Even if our focus is to give back and contribute to someone else's happiness, we wouldn't do it if it didn't mean we'd feel more satisfied and accomplished in our own life. I mean, what more could anyone want?

No matter how many products you purchase or courses you attend, unfortunately there's no secret or code to uncovering how to be happy. But that isn't to say there aren't scientifically proven methods to boosting your mood (in fact, we dedicated an entire month to the subject). And there's no better expert to tap on this topic than Dr. Deepika Chopra, an optimism doctor. Her job literally is to help people feel happier, using methods like evidence-based manifestations, color therapy, sensory-based visual imagery, and mind-body connections—all interests she studied and explored while obtaining a doctorate in clinical health psychology.

For anyone who struggles to get up in the a.m. (hi!), here's some hope. Chopra shares that she previously was nowhere near a morning person: "I always used to find mornings stressful and rushed, I would try and sleep in as much as I could, often times totally feeling cranky and upset upon leaving the house in a mad rush to get to work or wherever I needed to go…since becoming a mother, I have made a mindful and conscious effort to really curate my mornings (sometimes this is the only time I get to myself) and empower myself to see the things I get to do for the day instead of letting my morning 'happen to me.'"

Curious how she made the shift? Keep scrolling for the morning rituals she practices for a better mood.

7:30 a.m.

"I try and wake up a bit before my son does, and I spend that extra time awake in bed with absolutely nothing to do but just be cozy under the covers and enjoy the light and the quiet. I then spend some time setting some intentions for the day before I sit up and practice one of my own five-minute visualizations that I create for my clients. Someone once told me I shouldn't meditate in bed; however, I truly believe that meditation is a highly personal practice and that there is no room for 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts' in that space, so I joyfully meditate in my bed, pillows and comforter and all!"

"Then I pull a card from my recently launched Things Are Looking Up Optimism Card Deck. These cards have a holistic or science-based prompt or suggestion that actually increases happiness, and it has truly become one of my most favorite daily rituals, as it has significantly elevated my mindset."

"After this, I slip on my favorite robe; go downstairs to have my daily hot water with lemon, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, and a tiny bit of honey (a family pass-me-down morning drink recipe); take my favorite three supplements (Multivitamin, DeStress and Rebalance supplements, all from Rae Wellness); and spend about 10 minutes scanning and triaging my emails, but mostly catching up on health research and actively seeking out positive world news."

8:30 a.m.

"I take a hot shower and recite a sanskrit mantra while I wash my face. I've done this since I was 7 years old! At about this time, my baby boy (he's 2 and the cutest ever) starts to stir and sing to himself and the four stuffed animals he sleeps with… I often crawl into his crib if he asks me to; we talk about how he slept and what he dreamt about and what we're excited about for the day ahead."

"Then my husband makes my son his favorite morning milkshake (he drinks pea protein milk that we blend with cinnamon, organic peanut butter, and a small piece of banana), and after my husband leaves for work, my son and I usually sit up and read a book together while he drinks his milk; I then sip another warm water with lemon, or a matcha almond latte (so L.A., but hey, I am an L.A. native, so ha!)."

9:30 a.m.

"This is about when my morning stops becoming curated and becomes whatever it's meant to be for that day, and because I had my early morning solo time, I'm fully okay with this. If I have a later start, we have a pajama dance party while making breakfast, and if I have an earlier start, I might have to skip the a.m. dance party and swap it out for a quick departure. But there's always the post-dinner mama-and-son dance party on our rooftop every evening without fail!"

"Research shows that our mood in the morning really impacts our mood for the rest of the day, so I always try and make those early moments as joyful as I can."