April 20, 2014

Wake Up Refreshed–Start the day positively



Has it ever struck you that there are innumerable books and articles telling us 101 ways to sleep well, but hardly any that tell us how to wake up well? Strange, considering how important it is to have a full and satisfying day to fall into a deep, dreamless slumber. And to have that full satisfying day, we need to wake up with much cheer and verve in our heart and mind.

Most women say they think of making breakfast, filling luncheon, tiffins, as they roll out of bed and stumble to the bathroom to brush their teeth. The thing is that the mind is too precious to be filled with daily morning chores. It is more practical to make a list and stick it on the refrigerator door. That leaves the mind open, free and fresh to enjoy a great morning.


And a great morning you deserve! Remember, morning is the time the mind is most receptive and ready to absorb new information. So, start with a simple affirmation like “I’m going to have the best day of my life!” Check out more morning affirmations here. Actress, model, VJ and motivational speaker Raageshwari says it always works for her. It works for me too. It is a mantra with meaning. Simple, Direct, Effective.

Start your day with the affirmation, “I’m going to have the best day of my life.”
According to psychologist Drs. Dennis T. Jaffe and Cynthia D. Scott, “We live in a world where negative messages about our own powers and worth are common. The unintended messages we often get from our parents, teachers and employers are that we are not competent. We take these messages onto ourselves…” Often, we take them to bed. An affirmation like “I’m going to have the best day in my life!” or “I’m healthy and full of energy for a beautiful day!” reprograms the mind to more positive beginnings and, assure doctors Jaffe and Scott, “Energy increases and things seem to go better.” His Holiness The Dalai Lama too opines “I believe a good morning is the beginning of a good day. If we wake up in the morning and are happy, even if we face small irritants, we can cope with them

Nothing drains the energy more than waking up with the thought that you have to report for work that you do not like.

Shanaya takes teaching assignments to shore up her income, but, “I did not really enjoy teaching,” she confessed. “The though that I had to face 40 pairs of critical eyes scared me.” The result was that Shanaya would put off waking up. The alarm bell only added to her jitters.

Then, one evening, after a long, arduous day, she flopped into a chair and switched on her music system. Listening to Johann Strauss Junior’s On the Beautiful Danube (Hear it on YouTube) , she felt herself “floating and transported into another world.” She describes, “That’s when it struck me… Why not start my morning with such beautiful feelings instead of fear?”
Listening to soothing music early in the morning makes the entire day cheerful.
The Strauss experience worked in the morning too. “I was so hooked, looked so much forward to listening to Strauss that I started waking up one hour earlier!” she exclaims. “And even as I walked into the classroom, I’d feel the music humming pleasantly in my mind. In fact, the first day this happened, I didn’t know I was humming a tune until one of my students remarked, ‘Ma’am you’re in a good mood today! You’re singing! ‘It broke the ice. I think, they saw me as more human, more approachable and I saw them as young eager students and not as the ones who critically snigger as I’d taken them for!”

Shanaya’s Strauss experience set me thinking, I had read somewhere that we are highly sensitive to sounds when we are half awake. It made sense that soothing music at the early hour could ease trepidation and set a balming tone to the day.

Waking up Early
Due to a few excessively stimulating days, I found it difficult to sleep early and consequently to wake up early. A late morning makes me feel I have wasted half a day. When I told this to my neighbor Anita how tough I was finding it to open my eyes, she generously offered to wake me up! True to her word, for 3 mornings she would call and her sweet, rich, cheerful tones would float like warm honey down the wire.

“Good morning!” she would carol. “Rise and shine! Have a nice day!” Her cheerful warmth started me off on a warm, loving note. Like Shanaya, I would float through the morning and the day. That’s when it struck me – the difference between merely waking up and waking up to cheer. Anita was my very own “morning angel”.

Each has her own “morning angel.” Bubbly says she feels herself come alive when, at 5 am she steps out of her home into cool, crisply fresh, untouched world. The morning air, even in a polluted city like Mumbai seems to be washed clean by angels! In that hushed quiet, as Bubbly walks briskly, she feels refreshed, serene, joyful and somehow, all her plans for the day, she says, go on smoothly without a hitch.

While, due to her delicate skin, Bubbly prefers to return before sunrise, there are those like Lina who seek it. Lina sleeps near the window to awaken to the “sweet, gentle rays” that warms her eyelids “just right”, as she says. It helped her still the butterflies in her stomach on her wedding day and that feeling of the sun “as a morning friend” has remained ever since. “When I run in the early hours,” she says, “I feel as if all the flowers in the park are cheering me on! I know it’s only my imagination, but it’s like a constant reminder that I’m welcomed in the world and that I’m being appreciated for my efforts!”

It is true. A morning cheer, even imagined, puts fresh heart, arouses motivation and the will to do more by alleviating mild worries. Sister Shivani of the Brahma Kumaris says that the absorption power of the mind in the early morning hours is very high; so  we need to take care of the quality of information we take in. To protect ourselves from creating negative thoughts, we need to avoid news papers, news channels,  Internet, cellphones etc. early in the morning. Begin the day with reading or listening to pure and positive information and create pure, powerful, positive thoughts naturally, she recommends.
Getting up early is recommended as the air is clear and the cosmos is charged with positive energy.
Mild worries do not even begin to describe Dr. Deepak Chopra’s cancer patient’s thoughts when she and her husband impulsively decided to camp out in the woods under Alaska’s starry night. In his book Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, Dr. Chopra quotes from her letter: “We woke up the next morning and did our usual  meditation, sitting cross-legged on the mossy forest floor. When I opened my eyes, the trees around me had changed from their ordinary flat brown and green hues  pinpoints of sparkling golden light… Everything around me was intensely alive and I felt intimately connected to it… I felt peace…  Later she felt something gratifying – “There was no longer any chest pain or pressure in her lungs; her breathing was completely clear for the first time in a month,” writes Dr. Chopra.


Use early morning as a time to tune into your core self, says Dr. Deepak Chopra.
Yes, there is something healing about the morning, some miraculous quality that scientists are yet to discover. Dr. Chopra advises "Morning is the time when nature sends out its most delicate messages, and you are most sensitive to them. Your nervous system has been built in a way that the sight of dawn, the still air on your skin, the faint sounds of birds and animals awakening — all set the state for renewal. Listen to what is happening around you. Be alert to the slightest influence; the whole body is silent and poised in a delicate balance. Mornings are a time to inculcate a passion, this will help you achieve the extraordinary in life. Use early morning as a time to tune into your core self.”

That’s why our yogis recommended getting up at Brahmamuhurtam, 4 am. and formulated the suryanamskaras.  That’s why I’m keen that each of us feels this great grand process of renewal that nature has provided and internalize it in our nervous system. The Upanishads say all yogis ‘live again’ after each meditation. So our night’s sleep is our ‘meditation’ and to wake up joyfully is to ‘live again’. Sure as the sun lights up the darkness, joy should light up our awakening.
There is something healing about morning. That is why, perhaps, yogas and exercises are most beneficial when done at this time.
The light is in our mind, in our power. Notice how we rise with excitement when there is a picnic on the day’s agenda? We can’t go picnicking every day, but we can arrange something nice, something sweet that awaits our awakening. An inspirational book to be read, a new set of clothes to be worn, an aromatic cup of tea to be sipped, or a pleasant task like lighting a diya (earthern lamp) that is first in the day’s doing list so that every morning each of us can rise and sing with the sun.

(Contributed by S.Samita)


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