We all have stress. Parental stress, marital stress, financial stress, career stress, tax stress, stress over the state of the world, etc. It can really weight us down if we’re not careful.
I’m a big proponent of using meditation to aid us in managing our stress more effectively. But there’s one thing we can all do every single morning that cuts the stress down by a significant margin.
When we’re sleeping, our brain produces delta waves. When we’re beginning to stir awake, still half asleep, just coming out of a dream, our brain is producing theta waves. When we first wake up, the brain then produces alpha waves. And when we’re up and at ‘em, going about our day, the brain is producing beta waves.
The problem with checking our phone (i.e. texting, emailing, scrolling through social media or the news) first thing when we wake up to an alarm (on our phone), is that we go from delta waves to beta waves almost immediately.
We bypass theta and alpha waves, going from deep sleep to red alert (i.e. email, text, Facebook, instagram, and twitter notifications) in a matter of seconds. The brain and the body are not designed to transition from those different states of being is such a short amount of time. When we do this, we are priming our mind and body for a stressful day, of which it will be next to impossible to come down from.
I used to do this myself. Many of you text me to schedule an appointment, and I would wake up, check my phone, go downstairs and grab my schedule book, and start texting patients back. Then maybe scroll a little through social media to see if anything in the world has changed yet from the day before. And then I wondered why I felt stressed out all day, unable to have good meditations, dealing with anxiety and/or depression on and off throughout the day, and not being very fun for my wife and kids to be around.
Now, I don’t check my phone for at least an hour and a half to two hours every morning after waking. When I open my eyes, I’ll drink some water, use the bathroom, and read for a bit. Then I’ll meditate, and after that usually some kind of exercise to get the blood flowing. THEN, I’ll check my phone.
If you are someone who checks your phone first thing when you wake up, try not doing that for a week. And if you can’t do that, go to sleep earlier so you can have more time in the morning. Let yourself wake up slow and get your bearings for the day. Whatever texts or emails you have first thing in the morning can certainly wait until your brain and body have properly transitioned from sleep to wakefulness. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better you’ll feel.