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by Tony Gjokaj February 04, 2022 5 min read

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a happiness routine that gets me super excited to get out of bed in the morning.

For a time, I wasn’t really ecstatic about waking up in the morning.

As I write about managing depression and anxiety with a more active lifestyle, not being focused on being happy was me not practicing what I preach.

So I got to work on a happiness routine to not focus on OPTIMIZING my day, but making my day something I can look forward to — even if it makes me 1% happier.

100 days of being 1% happier is being 100% happier in 90 days. ;)

This Happiness Routine is a “treat yo’self” type of routine, which has really made me excited about my day, which has allowed me to give that energy to others in my life — whether it’s my family, my relationship, my business, and my other job.

Let me share it with you.

You can watch the video I made on the routine here, or read below.

I. Read A Daily Meditations Book (5 min)

For 5 minutes, I sit down and read a Daily Meditations book.

Daily Meditation books are super valuable in setting the tone for your day in that each month has a specific focus — and every day there’s an insightful one-page piece you can read.

Once you finish reading, you take notes and really absorb the information you received to start your day on a high note.

Currently, I am reading Robert Greene’s The Daily Laws, because I am a fan of his books.
Prior to that, I would read The Daily Stoicwhich provided meditations based on Stoic Philosophy.
If you have any others, comment and let us know other ones you found value in!

II. Journaling (5 min)

Journaling has been one of the most therapeutic parts of the happiness routine. Research has shown that journaling is a process that helps improve overall cognitive health.

Essentially, it’s been shown to help with anxiety, stress, and more.

When it comes to journaling, I would recommend sitting down for 5 minutes and just expressing yourself.

Sit down and write your thoughts down on a page, or write about some sort of experience, good conversation, or enjoyable period in time you had the day prior.

I like to write about events that happened the prior day, which shows me that regardless of the monotony in my life, there is always something interesting going on.

It may not be super clear the first couple of entries, especially if you haven’t done so before.

However, the more you write, the clearer you get, and the more you learn about your own self.

And that self-discovery process is EVERYTHING.

III. Breathing Exercise (5 min)

The next step I would recommend in a morning routine is some sort a breathing exercise.

If you’re like me, you can’t sit in one place for too long, so sitting down and focusing on breathing can be very challenging.

But here’s the thing: there is a plethora of research that shows that a morning routine that consists of breathing exercises can potentially reduce stress, anxiety, and improve overall mood and wellbeing.

So I make myself sit for 5 minutes of breathing activity.

If you need to sit for less, that’s ok: segment the breathing activity during this morning routine if you have to by doing 1 minute increments.

I’ve learned a very fun breathing exercise from one of the latest podcast episodes with Andrew Huberman that I mentioned in the video above.
They’re called Physiological Sighswhich consist of a double nasal inhale followed by exhales.
For more info about it, you can watch the YouTube episode here.

IV. Movement (10–15 min)

Lastly, one of my absolute favorite parts of my routine is a small movement activity.

According to research, JUST 15 minutes of walking or running have been shown to reduce the risk of major depression.

Only 15 minutes.

While this study focused on walking and running, anything that challenges your body with intensity is something you should definitely look at.

If you need some ideas, here are a few ways to get your body moving:

  • Go for a walk outside. You’ll get some sun exposure and a breath of fresh air as well!
  • Calisthenic activities. You can do push ups, sit ups, pull ups (if you have one of those Iron Gym things), mountain climbers, and more.
  • Martial Arts.Exercises like shadow boxing and rolling will get your body moving and breaking a sweat quite easily!
  • Banded Resistance. Grab resistance bands and do exercises like curls.
  • Hacky Sack.You can have a really good workout from these, trust me haha.

What’s important is that you focus on how you FEEL after the physical activity, and focus on that constantly.

While I do recommend longer periods of physical activity during the week, some movement can make a huge difference on your mental health and the tone of your day.

Movement has meaning.

Go and get yours.

Lately, I’ve been doing isometric work like handstands, yoga stretches, and more.
Everyday I focus on making it slightly more challenging.
It’s fun this way.

BONUS: Learn A Hobby Or Practice One (10–15 min)

Another thing you can add is learning a new hobby or practicing something you really enjoy.

Learn a new language.

Play an instrument.

Play Chess.

Do something that gives you some meaning that you really like.

When mental health is on the line, doing something that makes you happy matters so much for your health and well-being.

Results From My Happiness Routine

After doing this for a time, I noticed a big difference in my mood and overall excitement about my day.

Instead of focusing on optimization and jumping on the computer to get to work, I focused on what makes me feel good.

This is my time to take care of myself, and in this time, I am focused on ME.
I’m not focused on giving hours of my work to an employer, or giving my time to other obligations in my day.
This is ME time, and every one of us deserves this.
Do not think of this as selfish: it will allow you to give others your best self.

If you haven’t implemented a sort of routine like this, try this out for about 2 weeks and let me know how it goes.

I want to thank you all for reading and watching the video.

If you have any tips you want to share, throw them in the comments so people can benefit from what has worked for you.

Let’s make each other more excited to get up in the morning!

PS: If you need an extra kick in the ass on your fitness and mental health journey, you can sign up for our Fitness for Mental Health email list. We’ve got a few freebies in it to help you on your fitness journey. You can sign up here!

Check Out Our Fitness For Mental Health YouTube Channel!

Exercise For Depression Facebook Accountability Group

Visit the Reforged Website

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.

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