Wake up smiling by asking yourself one simple question

Like most 42 year-olds, I’ve woken up over 15,000 times. Like most 42 year-olds also, especially those with kids, whenever I see an article about how to dominate the day by embracing a morning routine, I yawn.

But despite my aversion to structure and love of all things snooze, a few years ago the fear, stress, or downright panic I felt immediately upon waking up began to be intolerable. So I finally gave in and started tinkering with ways to kick off the day on a more positive note.

Yes, you should make your bed as it serves as a reminder that you are the type of person who takes care of their environment.

Sure, journaling can clear your mind so you can better focus on what’s important.

Of course, you need to drink water — it’s life after all.

But there’s one thing that no one’s talking about that allows you to immediately feel good about yourself while making a positive impact on the world — without having to spend 2 hours priming yourself to make your much-desired mark.

The best part is that the exercise below takes all of 2 minutes and it doesn’t involve waking up before the rooster calls or your kids cry if that’s not your thing.

It’s so effective it helped Viktor Frankl survive four years of concentration camps

If there was ever a hell on earth, a very convincing argument can be made that the Holocaust was it. Fortunately, for us, Viktor Frankl survived. And in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” he shares his truths of not only what he experienced, but also what he feels brings meaning to life.

I can’t recommend reading Frankl’s work in its entirety enough as it’s full of wisdom. But for the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on one important factor that can immediately put you in the right mindset to make the most out of each day.

Despite the unimaginable horrors Viktor saw, and how painful each day was, Viktor still found the strength to put his right leg after his left one.
One of the reasons for this is because each morning he would ask himself these three little, but heavy-impact words:

Who needs me?

For Frankl, in addition to the people around him, he also thought of his children. He knew that when the concentration camps were over, his children would need him. This thought provided him with the motivation to keep pushing forward no matter the evil he encountered.

If you want to start your day on the right side of the bed, steal a line from Frankl — and after giving thanks for being gifted another day, immediately ask yourself who needs you. Ask yourself how you can best support the people you care about.

Then, while still in bed, write down what you were thinking, no matter how small — and before your sleepy ass drinks one sip of coffee do what you can to knock one of the items off your list.

This may be a tough habit to mold as waking up and steering yourself to think about someone other than yourself is tough.

But after waking up over 15,000 times, I am yet to find a practice that has helped me to get out of my own head than doing what I can to place myself in the hearts of others.

Who needs me?
How can I best love them?
What can I do to really be there for them?

Write down the names of the people you think about. Rack your brain for ways to make their day a little easier or a little brighter.

It will serve as a reminder that our lives are not measured by who inspires us, but rather what we do to better love and inspire others.

Grab your partner before touching your phone and let them know how much you appreciate all they do for both you and your family and friends.

Offer to introduce someone in your network to a friend who is working on a new project.

Plan some time to spend later in the day with a friend who is going through a tough time.

Practicing gratitude is a super practice. Showing it, however, and making it a point to do what you can — with what you have — to best support the people you are thankful for is much more effective.

It’s not only chicken soup for the soul for the people you care about, but it also fills your own body with warmth and positive energy.

The internet is filled with recipes to start your day off on the right foot. Most of them are littered with tremendous ideas and information.

But don’t underestimate the power of boosting your own mood by doing something to raise someone else’s spirits.

One nice gesture at a time.
One show of support at a time.
One compliment at a time.

That’s not only how you change the world.

It’s also how you get out of bed with a freaking smile on your face.

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This article originally appeared in Medium.