“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” ~ Ben Franklin
Whether you hate it or love it, rising early is something that we can and should all come to enjoy for its beauty and benefits. There are countless articles written of people’s success in learning to wake around 5:00 a.m. Most have slightly different reasons and indulge in the benefits their own way, but all have commonalities that lead to their success.
Waking up earlier is the most effective way to center your day. Allowing yourself time to establish your priorities, you will find satisfaction and accomplishment early on that helps stabilize and boost your mood throughout the rest of the day.
John Douillard highlights the particular ayurvedic benefits of body and mind when we adjust to the natural cycles of the day. Rising with the sun, having breakfast, a big lunch and an earlier, lighter dinner leads to relaxed, natural sleep cycles starting earlier in the evening and rising earlier in the day.
Planning to rise with the sun is a surefire way to start slow and always have the welcoming rays greet you. If you start this month, in April, when the sun rises around 6:35 a.m. EST, then to wake with the enlivening sun everyday means waking one to two minutes earlier every day and by June 18, you’ll be rising with the sun at 5:25 a.m.
Treat the sun sort of like your companion in your challenge. It rises a little bit earlier everyday, rise with it—become accountability buddies. It’s far easier to do something with someone else and although the sun is a stretch from an actual person, it will welcome you with warmth, light and energy every day.
I started taking this approach a week or so ago and already enjoy waking up a little before the sun rises so I’m there to catch it. It’s a wondrous time of day. Take it all in, take a picture and join the early rising pros.
Here are a few tips for rising early:
1. Have a good reason to motivate you. Look at your reason as a goal. Make no exceptions, hold yourself accountable, plan and prepare, be persistent and make it a positive experience followed with rewards.
2. Start slow. If you regularly wake up at eight, don’t start setting the clock to six just yet. Start by focusing on going to bed earlier. Read or do something to relax your mind for 30 minutes or so before you doze off. You’ll sleep better and feel more rested when it comes time to rise. Start waking up just 15 minutes earlier and increase the pace until you match the sun, then follow its lead. Go at your own pace and keep it consistent.
3. Before you go to bed, prepare for the morning. If there is a book you want to read, put it next to your bed; a breakfast you’d like to have, gather the ingredients; a project to work on, formulate the notes and set up the workspace.
4. Take advantage of the time. This may seem redundant but it’s ultimately important that you do something of value and also be aware of the little things. Enjoy the sunrise, the quiet and the possibilities of your day before it even begins.
5. Embrace the reward. Waking up early is a feat of personal will and determination. Celebrate your success and revel in the experience.
6. Persist. Forming new habits is hard and they don’t stick unless we push ourselves through some level of discomfort. At first, you may feel groggy and doubt that waking early is all it’s talked up to be. Nonsense. Like working out, it can be hard at first and makes us sore but once we push through the discomfort, we get stronger and it becomes enjoyable to push our physical limits. Stick with it and it will become part of your daily operations. Soon, it will feel wrong to wake later than usual, even once the sun starts sleeping in again.
Will rising with the sun help you? What do you like to do in the mornings? What would you do if you had a couple of extra hours in the morning?
Bonus: a tip for the other end:
Rough day? Tips from one who deals with a lot of stress, mindfully:
And: a simple Buddhist “trick” to being truly Joyful.
More relephant reads:
Mehdi René lives and works in the spirit of liberating from convention and living with extraordinary intention. He intends to do just this and inspire others to do the same, building a community of free-willed, sensible people looking to better their lives and better the world, believing the good life is a matter of mind and open to everyone. You can connect with Mehdi here at Mind the Good Life, on Facebook and Twitter.
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Assistant Ed: Karla Rodas/Ed: Kate Bartolotta
A mindful tip for a morning to determine our day: