Who wouldn’t want to wake up feeling a little more lively and mentally stronger, ready to dominate the day ahead?
Many of us have a hard time actually making that happen.
No matter what you do, waking up a little more alert and mentally prepared for your day can have huge benefits. You’re more willing to tackle tough problems, you respond to those problems is better, and you have more clarity and greater focus to deal with whatever life throws at you.
While there’s no single secret to waking up mentally strong, in my experience as an early riser, I have found several techniques that work wonders.
I wake up every day and I think, ‘I’m breathing! It’s a good day.’
– Eve Ensler
1. Get just the right amount of sleep
Easily the most overlooked aspect of waking up sharp and prepared, getting the right amount of sleep for your body goes far beyond conventional wisdom. Sleep science now has more than two decades of research backing claims that sleep is critical for physical health, affecting body functions ranging from brain performance to focus.
So then, how much sleep do you need? If you’re like most people, about eight hours will do just fine. However, the more technical answer is somewhere between 6 to 10 hours depending on your body. So, it’s important to take the time necessary to track how your body feels after waking up with various amounts of sleep until you find just the right balance.
2. Adopt a nightly routine
This is easily one of the most important parts of setting yourself up to wake up energized and mentally strong. By utilizing the right combination of nightly rituals, you can put your mind in the right state to get high-quality sleep and set your subconscious up to give you a little jump start when you wake.
An effective nightly routine includes things such as meditation, reading, journaling, and gratitude. Really, though, anything that calms you down and helps put you into the right state of mind before bed will work great here.
3. Review tomorrow’s goals and how that connects to your vision
I’ve risen early for roughly seven years now, starting around 6:30 A.M. and working my way up to 3:00 A.M. at one point for over a year (though I went back to 4-5:00 A.M. because that was too rough).
And, during that time, one of the most effective ways I’ve found to help me jump out of bed ready to tackle my day is reflecting on my goals for the next day and how they connect to my greater vision. By doing so, you drop those thoughts and ideas into your subconscious just before bed, where they simmer until you awaken.
I can attest to the fact that, while using this technique, I consistently wake up automatically and more alert than when I don’t use it. Specifically, it seems to counteract the “zombie” effect that happens to us when we wake up. You know, when you’re nearly brain dead and can’t put two and two together, let alone remember why you need to wake up early.
4. Leave the day behind
It happens to the best of us. We get into a fight with our best friend, spouse, or family member or we have a rough day at work and go to bed frustrated.
You’ve just laid down for bed exhausted and emotionally drained, so drained that it’s virtually guaranteed you won’t want to get up when your alarm goes off.
Instead, seek to resolve conflicts before bed as best as you can. This doesn’t just have to be between you and another person, it can also mean coming to terms with something internally (whether because the person isn’t around or it’s truly an internal matter) so you can settle your mind before lying down.