Waking Up Happy
Posted by Rod Sims
on Jan 1st, 2014 in Blog
| 1 comment
Happiness, healthiness, and success will be more obtainable, more within your reach in 2014. Why, you may be asking… It will be because you are in the process of learning how to make every day what you want it to be…most probably because you are learning what you don’t want it to be. Most of us would agree that waking up and getting started on things is the best way to obtain our goals in this life.
Unfortunately, we don’t always know how to do that. I believe it begins with having a plan for waking up happy, fresh, and ready. Despite having proof that exercise, meditation, even studying is better in the morning, most of us seemingly just feel too crappy to do anything ‘extra.’ Don’t worry though, this year will change the rest of your life (I really hope).
Maybe you’re one who’s never claimed to be a ‘morning person’ or one who’s had someone describe you as having woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Imagine shedding those tags and being the source of encouragement, positivity, and motivation for those around you while living a happy fulfilled life.
At a time of increased stress and disease, decreased pay and motivation, it may be difficult to see yourself ‘waking up happy’ yet here at the sunrise of 2014, it’s only fitting I offer the following support:
Waking up happy begins yesterday…
1. No coffee, red wine or chocolate the night before
It will always be difficult to wake up happy if your sleep time is not where it should be. One of the surefire, best ways to ruin a good sleep is to upset your gut right before bed. You really need to keep it happy at all times, but especially during the night.
Red wine, coffee and chocolate have been scientifically shown to detract from quality sleep more than any other food. Foods like this upset your intestines in such a way that you can’t help but wake up constantly or at best, have a very light sleep that doesn’t recharge you at all. It’s best to not have these things after lunch time.
Chamomile tea, pumpkin seeds or oatmeal or better bedtime snacks.
2. Go to bed happy
Going to bed upset or angry is not only one of the best ways to get a terrible sleep but can also keep you from waking up happy. In any of my relationship, I try to make it a habit to never let the sun set on an argument or as the Bible says, ‘never let the sun go down on your wrath.’ Sometimes this may call for you to compromise a little bit of ego.
Before going to bed, make sure (as much as you can)anger or resentment toward anyone is removed and make sure that you are at peace. It is also one of the best things you can do for any relationship, let alone your relationship with sleep and therefore, waking up happy.
3. Meditate, pray and calm down before going to bed
Every night before going to bed, do about 30 minutes to an hour of meditation or breath training. This is amazing stuff because it allows you to throw out all the day’s junk and forget about the worries of tomorrow. Matthew 6:34 says, ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ The future cannot and will not be changed while you are asleep. Even more useless than worrying about tomorrow is worrying about the past since it is gone. There is no point losing precious sleep or over it! Let it go and wake up happy.
4. Stop eating supper right before bed
Because of the hustle and rush that is life, many people run home after work, cook up a little dinner, eat it and go straight to bed. On a number of levels, this is a bad idea. For starters, the digestive process takes a while and you do not want to be laying down right after eating a huge meal. Instead, try and leave a few hours(at least two) in between your bedtime and your dinner then see how you feel the next day.
5. Sleep consistently
Many people think that if you aren’t getting eight hours sleep, you aren’t getting enough. Well while I don’t completely agree, I will say getting consistent sleep goes a long way toward keeping us, not only healthy, but also waking up happy daily.
It is equally important to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day or at the least most nights. I typically tell people that if they go to bed tonight(before midnight) and not tomorrow, they can get up at anytime and not be tired and sluggish. Not everyone needs eight hours nor can they. In fact, if I get eight hours sleep, I usually feel tired and groggy for the entire day. Five or six hours is about right for me.
Establish a sleep routine to let your body know that it’s bedtime. Start by setting your bedtime at the same time each night and start shutting things down one to two hours before bed. Forget what is on the television and in fact, put the ipad, tablet, and/or computer in a ‘rested’ state so you can rest. After a while start setting your alarm for the same time each day if you need to, eventually even on weekends. If you don’t start waking up more energetically and happier each morning I will record you a personal apology. 😉
6. Stay off the SNOOZE
I recall reading about a Himalayan Buddhist master who told of one of the best things you can do to wake up early and feel alert and fresh is to get up straight away. Despite the urge to lay there and ignore the blare of an electric rooster, get up and get out. As soon as your alarm goes off you should get up without delaying the inevitable over and over again.
7. Be Thankful for Today
Part of waking up happy is waking up grateful for waking up. Buddha said that every time you go to bed you should consider that you won’t wake up. That may sound kinda morbid but that way when you wake up, you will be especially grateful for the opportunity of the day you have ahead of you. Instead of seeing the day as a burden or just another something that you have to ‘get through’ or ‘deal with’ you will see it as an opportunity to do something meaningful and beneficial.
Why be thankful, because this could be your/my last night.
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Henry David Thoreau
The rewards and benefits of early morning exercise are endless. If you are groggy or sluggish in the morning, a nice run in the fresh air can wake you up fast. ‘No energy so I can’t exercise.’ To the contrary, the fascinating thing is that when you exercise in the morning, you will actually have more energy the NEXT day. With more you exercise comes more energy as you become fitter and healthier, and much happier. Waking up fitter and healthier is a world away from sluggishly falling from the bed and into a morning routine and a day that you dread.
Not only is increased energy a byproduct of exercise but a great deal of evidence that exercise is associated with improved mental well-being and fewer incidences of depressive symptoms. Some levels of happiness can be attributed to sense of accomplishment while some can be attributed to a reduction in cortisol levels. Controversy still exists in the scientific community, though, as to whether exercise causes improved mental well-being, or whether those with improved mental well-being just have a predisposition for exercise.
9. Have something to be excited about
Imagine you get up every day and go to a job you hate to work. Not only that, but you have a boss and/or ungrateful coworkers that drive you nuts! Not shockingly, you are not going to really enjoy waking up too much. However, when you have something you enjoy doing to go to, you will be more likely to wake up happy and exciting knowing that you have a bit of joy coming your way.
But what happens if you can’t leave your terrible boss or annoying coworkers? Even worse, what if you don’t have a job or something to occupy your time? To break the monotony and redundancy of doing the same things daily, you should make time in the morning to do some sport or new activity that makes you happy. Start your day with something happy and fun as opposed to starting it with dread. What are excited about getting to?
Conclusion on waking up happy….
Each one of the tips above works. I have tried many on myself, my friends, and my clients. Perhaps the greatest thing about this is that the more of these tips you apply the happier you will feel when you wake up. Try them yourself but you don’t have to try them all at once.
Here’s to ‘Waking up Happy’ every day in 2014 and whatever comes next….