You know that saying about waking up on the wrong side of the bed? Some days, you just get off to a grumpy start and can't shake it off for the rest of the day. Back in your single days, the only people you might have bugged with your bad attitude were your roommates or yourself. But once you have a partner in your life, you have to consider how your mood can affect both of you. So to avoid falling into the "wrong side of the bed" rut, consider easy morning rituals to make your relationship happier. Beginning the day with a little pep in your step is never a bad thing.
Just like with any kind of morning routine, though, you can feel a bit rushed to get done and out the door. So how can you incorporate meaning moments with your significant other into your already cramped schedule? It may seem impossible or even like an unnecessary step, but working in little opportunities that will nurture your relationship is definitely doable and totally worth it.
So if you're looking to get out of a sleepy, sour slump and start a new habit, then check out some of these surprisingly easy morning rituals you can do to make your relationship happier.
1. Be Positive
It may sound like a cheesy poster you'd see in someone's cubicle, but a recent scientific study shows that positivity has quite an impact on relationships. Dr. Barbara Lee Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, shared her research with Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Sciences Journal, which found that starting your day with, "positive emotions trigger upward spirals towards greater well-being in the lives of those around them." And when you surround yourself with positive people, the feeling will likely rub off on you, too.
2. Use Touch
Touching doesn't always have to be a fleeting hug or an invitation to further physical intimacy. As Dr. Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, shared on UC Berkley's Scientific Center site, "people can identify love, gratitude, and compassion from touch—it signals safety, trust, and soothes." So a gentle rub on the back or a meaningful hug can communicate your love without words.
3. Put It In Writing
Though you might assume your partner already knows you love them, sometimes you just have to put it in writing. Dr. Erin Lebya, a psychotherapist, told Psychology Today that something as small as leaving a love note for your partner to find in the morning can greatly the happiness in your relationship. Just like when you were a kid, finding a note in your lunchbox on the way to school, an expression of love can brighten your morning.
4. Walk The Walk
Sure, you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? That is to say, how can you make your relationship happier through actions? Dr. Terri Orbuch, a research professor at the University of Michigan, told PBS' Next Avenue that couples, "who expressed frequent generosity to each other in the form of gestures reported the happiest marriages." Something like taking out the trash or getting breakfast ready can demonstrate just how much you care about each other.
5. Remind Them Of Your Schedule
My partner and I joke that I have the memory (and attention span) of a goldfish because I appreciate being reminded how he feels about me. Since we both work and have a child together, we don't always get a lot of face-to-face time in the mornings, so a quick text from him as I'm heading to work that tells me how happy he is with the life we've built immediately puts me in a good mood.
6. Ask Questions
Does your partner have a big interview coming up, a project they've been researching, or something else going on in their life? Checking in with them in the morning about how their day is going to go can do wonders for your relationship. According to the relationship experts at Reader's Digest, "asking about daily details is a great way to build understanding and make your partner feel loved." Talking about the small stuff can result in big payoffs for the happiness factor in your relationship.
If you're anything like me, the first thing you do when you wake up is check your smartphone. As it turns out, that could be interfering with your relationship. Dr. Gail Saltz, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine, told Health, "heavy social media use is a way of creating distance." Ironically, it seems the best way to connect with your partner is to disconnect from technology.
Not to sound like a gross cat-caller, but maybe you should smile more. According to MSN, "people who smile more tend to be more positive, which makes for a healthier relationship." As someone who is decidedly not a morning person, I understand how smiling can be the last thing on your mind. Yet, if something as easy as smiling could improve you and your partner's happiness, then why not try it?
9. Plan For Later
Since your mornings may be fairly rushed, take a second to discuss what you might want to do with your partner later. According to the American Psychological Association, you should plan regular date nights to keep your relationship fresh. Not only does this give you something to look forward to, but agreeing to a plan makes you more likely to follow through with it.