Me? I wasn’t a morning person. I was so the don’t-poke-the-bear type before my first cup of coffee. Everyone in my family knew this. They would speak in hushed voices and not say a word to me until I gave them the go-ahead. Oscar the Grouch had nothing on me! But, that also meant my days were pretty crappy. I constantly had negative thoughts and emotions about anything and everything. My life was a amalgam of hurt, regret, guilt, shame, worry, fear, and disappointment.
The problem was: I was completely unconscious of it. “This is just the way I am” was my personal mantra and belief. I thought “I’m just an angry person. What of it?” Well, ‘what of it’ was: It’s not good to go through life as an angry, unhappy person. You tend to piss a lot of people off, or they just don’t want to be around you.
Humans have the tendency to focus more on the negative than the positive. The positive is fine. It ain’t broke. We believe we need to focus more on the negative so we can find the solution and fix it. Noticing threats is ingrained in our biological make-up. Our brains are literally wired to pay more attention to the bad than the good. It doesn’t make us bad people. It makes us human.
But, having a negative outlook and always perceiving a threat doesn’t serve us very well so it’s worth the effort to change it with a simple practice that only takes a few moments first thing in the morning.
It’s important to note that it’s not so much when you wake up. It’s how you wake up. Sure, waking up at 5am can help you get a head start on your day and make it more productive, but if you wake up at 5am stuck in a mindset of guilt, shame, blame, and other negative emotions, that just means your shitty day and crappy attitude is going to last that much longer. Once I figured out that the way I started my day had an unfortunate affect on it, I made some adjustments.
Whether you decide to wake up at 5am or 10am, if you do these three things right when you wake up, before you get out of bed, turn on your mobile device, check the news, email, the weather, or get on social media, then your day will be much more productive, joyful, and you will have a much more positive outlook:
Wake up with gratitude. When you wake up with gratitude, you are reminded of all the good you have in your life. It can be simple gratitude: Thank you for a good night’s sleep. Thank you for the air in my lungs. Thank you for a new day. Thank you for this warm, safe bed that’s so comfy, I don’t even want to get out of it. Be grateful for whatever is good in your life. Even if it’s maybe one or two things and the rest is bad, focus on those one or two things and be thankful for them over and over again. You will notice a shift and the good beginning to outweigh the bad. It’s even more effective if you write down the things for which you are grateful before you get out of bed.
Connect with a higher power. Be it God, Buddha, Allah, source energy, infinite intelligence, or the Lord of the Ceiling Fan, before you get out of bed every morning, connect with something higher and greater than you through prayer: Lord, I know You have a plan for me and my life today. I know You are bringing into my life whatever I need at this moment. You protect me; You guide me. If I go through any hurt, suffering, pain, etc., I trust You to bring me through it. Show me how You can use me today to be of service to others. I am going to trust You to give me Your guidance and Your Timing. I want to thank you for this day. Let my life be fruitful all day long…”
Or something to that effect. But, if you begin your day with prayer and acknowledging the supernatural guide by your side, even the cloudiest of days will be much brighter and better.
3. Make peace with your day. Start simple to get in the right mindset and go from there. Make peace with your pillow; make peace with you bed; make peace with your family, your commute, your job, your health, your weight, your finances… Make peace with everything in your life, especially all that is causing you to feel negative, frustrated, unworthy, or incapable. Let got of the false notion that if you make peace with it then ‘it’ will stay - and that you have to fight and protest against it to make it right. That only makes it worse. Make peace with it first thing in the morning, and it will begin to smooth itself out throughout your day.
You deserve happiness in your life, my friend. Just because you may be going through a difficult time, it doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness within. You don’t have to cater to the negative thoughts and feelings that you associate with that problem. Your life was meant to be lived in joy.
So tomorrow morning, instead of waking up with the old familiar thoughts and feelings about all that’s not right in your life, do these three things and fill your brain with positive information from the very start of your day, before those negative thoughts and emotions begin to creep in. If you do this every day, you will gently reprogram your brain and eventually begin to notice a shift in your perception, attitude, and your overall well-being.