How to find joy in the morning

When I was a teenager, I found waking to soft music on my clock radio brought joy to a competitive day. Early rising on my mission, in the military and more recently with early-morning seminary in our home has often added challenges. Yet early morning is a joyous rebirth of day.

Joy may come from the following ways:- An early morning walk, run or swim.

A comfortable shower or a hot bath.

A breakfast or a snack.

Soft music or meditation.

Scripture reading and prayer.

An inspiring artistic endeavor.

Studies have shown that if you commit to doing something in a group and in the morning, you are much more likely to keep doing it and probably enjoy it. Thus, running or walking in a group, morning family prayers and scripture reading will bring joy and a feeling of belonging.

Joy, however, is not usually brought by early media news, conflictive behaviors, noise or interruptions to schedules. If we work to cheer people around us and to be congenial, our pleasant behavior will alleviate stress in us and in others. - Lon Pearson, Kearney, Neb.

What we did:

Kneel in prayer

Roll out of bed. Then kneel in prayer. As you express your heartfelt gratitude to Heavenly Father for the bounteous blessings of heaven and earth, every crevice of the heart, mind and soul becomes filled with joy. That joy is magnified as loved ones unite to read the Book of Mormon and kneel in family prayer. - Sister Carol Buckley, Philippines Quezon City Mission

Jump in with both feet

We've always found that just jumping in with both feet is the best way to get a good start on the morning. When the alarm goes off, my husband and I get out of bed and immediately turn around and make the bed together. This gives us a minute or two together and share a sometimes dreaded task. I wake our two teenagers, and they get dressed while I complete my morning routine. By the time my husband and I are ready for work the kids are at least dressed and ready for family prayer.

Another key to enjoying the morning is to start the day fresh. For us, this means to try to finish up what we may be in the middle of the night before and clean up. Who wants to start the day with last night's dishes in the sink and the paper strewn about the family room? How can you encourage your children to have a good day if they begin it by completing unfinished homework assignments and rushing to find clean clothes? - Raelyn Gunderson, West Jordan, Utah

Morning hymns

Every morning when I leave for my job at 6:15 a.m., it is cold and very dark, especially in winter. I am a school bus driver for a local high school. Arriving early and approaching my bus, I always include silent and spoken prayers for my safety as well as for the children I will transport that day.

My joy in the morning is hymns and many Primary songs also. I have found great satisfaction in singing praises to Heavenly Father on cold, dark mornings, or at least until I start picking up students. Even then, their noise level permits me to sing or hum to myself. - Catherine A. Pitts, Seattle, Wash.

Rise early

Following the counsel in D&C 88:124 to retire to my bed early that I may not be weary and arise early that my mind may be invigorated is extremely important. When the alarm awakens me at 5 a.m., my first thought is, "This is the day the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." My arrival time at work is approximately 15 minutes early and that time is used for a brisk walk. It not only gives my body much needed exercise, but helps me to miss the rush hour traffic. - Sharlie Carter, Louisville, Ky.

Needed help

For years, I didn't want to get up or face a new day. That symptom, together with crying, irritability and workaholism led me to finally admit that I had a problem and needed help. I suggest the following to help find joy in the morning when suffering from depression:

Seek help from the priesthood and, if necessary, seek professional counseling.

Stop running faster than you are able.

Completely submit your life to God.

Take one day at a time.

Have more gratitude. - Linda Metcalf, San Marcos, Calif.

Gratitude brings joy

Happiness and joy are a mode of travel and not a destination. Some say, "If only I had, I'd be happy. If only I were, then I'd happy." Happiness is a state of mind that we can decide we are going to enjoy.

Looking for the good helps, and taking time to just enjoy the little pleasures, like looking at a sun rise, picking wild flowers, taking a walk with a loved one and just counting our many blessings.

When I really get down sometimes I just start counting my blessings out loud to myself, and then I feel better. Gratitude brings joy. Notice how you feel on Christmas morning. If you are grateful it doesn't matter how small the present you can find joy in it, but if you aren't grateful you can feel empty no matter how large the present is. Gratitude brings joy in the morning and throughout the day. - Deanie Martino, Denton, Texas

Extra time

I love the mornings, so it's easy for me to find joy in them. I'm amazed how much better my day goes if I get up early. To me, the mornings are wonderful and beneficial. When I get up early, I have extra time for last-minute things and reading scriptures, and I am not rushing out the door. Therefore, there is always time for prayers. If I get up early and get ready for school, I have much more time in the afternoon for homework or other activities. I also purposely register for 7 or 8 a.m. classes because I have more energy than I would in the later hours. - Erin Mabee, Glendale, Ariz.

Quiet time

I find joy in the morning by "filling my vessel" first, before my children and husband get up. Early-morning quiet time is the time for me to converse with my Heavenly Father without interruptions. Many times my conversations with Him take place while I jog in the nearby ravine. The beauty and soft sounds of nature bring me closer to Him and I am filled with gratitude for the things around me. This is also a time for pondering specific scriptures I have read that seemed to speak to me personally. It is a time to give my burdens to the Lord and to seek His help, strength and comfort. I feel of my Savior's love for me. This fills me with joy that carries me through the day. - Outi Way, Edmonton, Alberta

How to checklist:

1 Arise early; this invigorates

your mind and body.

2 Begin every morning with

individual and family prayer,

scripture study.

3 Exercise in the morning; joining with family, friends helps.

4 Develop good attitude,

be grateful for blessings;

see the good in life.

Write to us:

June 6 "How to help heal a family after a loved one has caused deep hurt."

June 13 "How to avoid the gambling trap."

June 20 "How to utilize modern technology to enhance family history research."

June 27 "How to help young people learn homemaking skills."

July 4 "How to develop more gratitude as a family for freedom."

July 11 "How to overcome compulsive eating."

July 18 "How to develop positive leadership qualities."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to supplement your regular income," "How to rear children in light and truth," "How to avoid greed," "How to be more resilient in day-to-day life."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed