BEING BRIGHT AWAKE: STARTING YOUR DAY ON A GOOD NOTE
There is no manual that clearly explains how to wake up every day and feel confident that the day will be a good one. It’s not even merely a matter of having will power, as most people preach but find near impossible to practice. The closest that one can come to an optimistic appraisal of the day ahead is being hopeful. The truth is that there is no formula for waking up with positivity simply because there is no one factor behind it, such as sleeping early or visualizing happy thoughts while going to bed the previous night. Medical experts will confirm that controlling diabetes isn’t exclusively about controlling food habits but has a great deal to do with making healthy lifestyle changes by incorporating and integrating healthy food, adequate exercise, lowering stress levels and medication, among other things. Similarly, mental health professionals have observed that depression too cannot be eradicated simply by removing the apparent cause of it – whether it is a relationship issue, work problem or existential crisis – because a host of other psychological, behavioural and environmental factors help play into it and maintain it.
Waking up with positivity, then, is not simply about “thinking positive” – indeed, there is nothing simple about it at all. What is important, rather, is having a lifestyle that is conducive to positive thinking.
It may sound overwhelmingly difficult to keep everything in balance and go about your day, but usually the key to making healthy but long-lasting positive changes is to start small and keep it basic. These are not the same thing, and yet are deeply interlinked in this context. Starting small implies taking baby-sized steps toward making changes as opposed to drastic ones which may be effective but may not be durable, while keeping it basic is about getting into order the most fundamental and foundational things that most people ignore: sleep and appetite. Sleeping and eating right is not just good for physical health; they are absolutely essential for long-lasting mental well-being. They may not be sufficient to be happy, but they certainly are necessary.
Here are some other things to consider when you think about starting your day on a good note:
1. What constitutes a good day differs from person to person. Some may consider a few moments of silence a good beginning, while others think upbeat music while getting dressed is the best way to go. Some may find a walk in the park refreshing, while others may consider having the option of hitting the snooze button and sleeping in for those 15 extra minutes a boon. Ask yourself what a good day means to you.
2. People agree on what doesn’t constitute a good day. Everyone may not agree on what makes a good day, but most will certainly agree that a day that starts with stress, anger, or confusion is not off to a great start. Attempt to keep uncertainty to a minimum and mentally prepare yourself ahead of time for things you need to do during the day.
3. Gratitude helps. True appreciation takes effort; if you are able to start the day consciously taking out the time to be grateful for the simple and complex things, a lot of things come into perspective and you unknowingly train yourself to tune in to the good that is around you at that moment and for the rest of the day.
4. Today is the only day. Last, but in no way the least important. ‘Everyday’ sounds like forever, and guaranteeing anything forever is hard. Take the pressure off yourself, and don’t think about having to stay positive tomorrow or how you may have failed yesterday. Today is a new day, and it is the only day you can truly affect. Go affect it positively.
As the Buddha once said,
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”