Personal Development

The Benefits of Early Rising

“Early rising” may be defined differently for different people. If you’re a college/university student who only has afternoon and evening classes, perhaps your regular rise time is noon. If you’re a working professional, you might normally wake up between 6 to 8am, depending on when you get into work in addition to commute time. Regardless of when you may normally wake up, here’s my working definition of early rising that can apply to just about everyone: Early rising means waking (and getting) up at a time that is earlier than what one has been accustomed to.

For most of my life, I’ve been a long-term victim of the Snooze Button (and I bet I’m not alone), because those extra 8 minutes (times 5) of sleep feel so necessary and wonderful in the moment. However, what I’ve found is that EVERY time I do that, especially on weekdays and with some exceptions on weekends, once I’m rushing to eat a bite of breakfast and get dressed and run out the door within 10 minutes, one word comes to mind: REGRET.

If I’m always going to regret pressing snooze, yet I keep doing it, I need to find a great motivating reason to get up the first time the alarm goes off. Well, sometimes we really do just need more rest, but in general whenever I get out of bed earlier than usual, my whole day is better, I become more productive, and I feel happier (happiness is a huge deal when you’ve fought with depression for years). Without further ado, these are the reasons why getting up early can improve your quality of life:

Early Rising Improves Physical Health:
If you get up early, you have time to actually eat a decent breakfast, which makes such a difference in your day, because you’ll actually have the adequate nutrients and fuel you need to make it to lunch time without feeling tired and weak. Getting up earlier also allows you to have time to incorporate healthy habits into your routine, such as going to the gym. Regular exercise can feel like such a suffering sometimes (no pain no gain), but the results are excellent, not just for vain reasons, but even more so for the energy and strength you get from being more active. Exercise is also REALLY good for depression sufferers, and I’m pretty sure that also goes for overall mental health in general whether or not a person has clinical depression. This leads to my second point that…

Early Rising Improves Mental Health:
After starting the day off productively with enough un-rushed time to have breakfast, to get dressed properly, and to do other productive things like working out or reading a book, I can testify that I start and end the day as a much happier and fulfilled person. A morning with adequate time to do what you need to do, in the way that you want to do it, helps boost self-esteem and confidence and makes you feel more motivated and productive. In my experience, whenever I start the day feeling rushed, I tend to feel more discouraged and disappointed for my crummy morning, and it’s also more likely that I’ll be late for work, which gets put onto my invisible list of little failures that have added up over time. Not good for mental health. Of course, there’s also the time and place for having a “new start” in the middle of the day, or at any time one feels it’s necessary. Furthermore…

Early Rising Improves Spiritual Health:
I’m not saying everyone needs to convert to any particular belief system or religion, but I do believe that there’s a part of our being that is even deeper than just our physical bodies and what we think and feel. It’s hard to describe, but I would categorize this area of “health” as spiritual health. If you like to pray, there’s nothing like praying early in the morning that makes you feel more refreshed for the rest of the day. Likewise, if you like to meditate, I personally can’t think of a better time of day to do so than the early morning. If there’s a spiritual activity you’ve been trying to do, I feel the morning is the best time to do it, to take care of that deeper part that often is what motivates us to keep going.

Hope this was helpful! I’m definitely open to suggestions on other topics to write about. 🙂

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