3 Techniques to Help You Get Out of Bed Every Day and ‘Rise and Shine’ – Even on a Monday Morning

Every Monday, on social media we are greeted with the ubiquitous ‘I hate Mondays’ status updates and posts. In an earlier post I focused on the question of changing perceptions to deal with the ‘Monday blues’. In this post, I’ve put together three simple techniques to help you ‘rise and shine’ – even on a Monday.

One of the ideas I use in coaching and training is the idea of the personal experiment. You try out a new technique or take a particular action on a regular basis and then asses the effects after a set period of time. So here are the three ‘rise and shine’ techniques:

1. Gratitude and Anticipation Experiment

This actually starts the night before. Before you go to sleep, write down three things for which you were grateful that day (gratitude phase).  The next morning, as soon as you wake, write down three things you are looking forward to that day (anticipation phase). Do this for a whole month. (see Getting the Gratitude Attitude (Free PDF Diary Sheet for full details). The idea is that this technique helps to frame your each day in a positive day.

2. The ‘Rise and Shine Breath’

You’ll be happy to learn that The Rise and Shine Breath is performed whilst still enjoying the comfort of your bed. Read it through a few times to familiarize yourself with the technique. My version, which combines deep breathing with an early morning stretch. It’s surpisingly effective. Here it is:

  1. Breathe in through your nose with you arms clenched in fists at your shoulders, like you are about to lift weights (chest press). Smile. As you breathe in let your stomach out so that your lungs are filled.
  2. Now as you breathe out through your mouth, making an ‘aaaah’ sound, like a sigh and push you arms up to the ceiling. Open your hands and stretch out your fingers.
  3. Pull your arms back to your shoulders with clenched fists. Pull down as if there is resistance and breathe in as before.
  4. Do about 7 to 10 of these.
  5. Smile. Now breathe in deeply (through your nose) and hold your breath for the count of ten seconds or a little longer if you can comfortably do so.
  6. Breath out forcefully through your mouth whilst pulling your stomach in. Do three of these.
  7. It’s now time to sit up. Repeat points 1 to 4 sitting up. Do another 7 to 10 of these. Then repeat 5 & 6.
  8. Optional extra: If you’re still not ready to get up, do another 7 to 10 breaths standing up repeating points 1 to 6.
  9. You are now ready to face the world! (or at the very least to get you up and in to the shower).

3. Morning Power Shower Visualization

This energizing visualization doesn’t require any extra time investment. It’s done in the shower. As you stand under the water, imagine a beautiful empowering, refreshing, energizing, invigorating light streaming from the shower-head (as well as the water). The light may be white, pink, golden or pale blue: you choose. Imagine this light-charged energy washing away negatively, tiredness and charging you up for the day. The light activates your skills and strengths and inspires you to take action. Use whatever positive thought you wish. Recount the three things you are looking forward to.

End of Month Review

At the end of the month, review the impact these three techniques have made to your willingness to get up each morning. If they don’t totally work for you, consider what aspects of them that do work and create your own version and add your own techniques. Also, if Mondays are still a problem for you, consider how you might arrange the day or what you mind add to make it more tolerable.

Of course, you could go back to posting ‘I don’t like Mondays’ messages on Facebook and Twitter and haveing a day of self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Book Cover: Unlock Your Confidence by Dr Gary WoodIf you found this useful or interesting:

About the author

Picture: Dr Gary Wood author of Unlock Your ConfidenceDr Gary Wood is a social psychologist and life coach. He is based in Birmingham and Edinburgh where he runs his own training and coaching practice and research consultancy. He is author of Unlock Your Confidence which is based on his confidence-building workshops. Contact Gary to see how his solution focused coaching approach would benefit you or your organization.

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17 Top Study Skills Tips From a Psychologist and Lecturer

Applying principles from psychology, learning theory and teaching practice will take the guess work out of studying for exams. Here are some top tips that have worked well for me as a student, a psychology lecturer and for my students. You can also adapt these for driving test or preparing for presentations. Some of these tips are also useful for confidence building.

Study Skills Top Tips:

  1. Information sinks in better if we start with a positive attitude, so don’t be resentful, recognise the privilege of studying and actually ‘enjoy’ the experience.
  2. Begin each study session with some deep breathing exercises. Use the Two Minute Stress Buster throughout the day in your short breaks.
  3. Drink water throughout the day as dehydration can lead to a reduction in your cognitive functions. However, don’t force yourself to drink too much – just enough so you don’t feel thirsty.
  4. Avoid junk food and eat those all important fresh fruits and vegetables.
  5. After the first day, the first 30 mins of study should be a brief review of the material you covered the previous day. This is easy,  it gets you ‘in the mood’ and it helps with retention.
  6. Try to study in the same place as a routine. Context is very important in memory recall. Memories of where you study are automatically linked with the facts.  In exams, don’t panic, instead of trying to force the information out, begin by closing your eyes, taking some deep breaths and imagining your study space. This will help to release the study material associated with your study space.
  7. If you have to listen to music while studying, just choose something instrumental that just helps focus your mind and block out distractions. Lyrics just get in the way.
  8. Create variety in your study routine so that you don’t get bored. Try mind-mapping, condensing notes, asking yourself test questions etc.
  9. Try  giving  non-stop 20 minute presentations (to an imaginary audience on a topic) with only a handful of cue cards. Even if you falter you have to keep going and deliver the whole presentation. The act of keeping on going helps to build and strengthen associations between different facts and makes it more likely that you are using your own words.  At the end of each presentation, review where you got stuck, and try it again.
  10. Revise in shorter sessions (30 mins) with small breaks in between to prevent mental fatigue.
  11. Try this study routine: Morning: 30 mins study, 5 min break, 30 mins; 5 min break; 30 mins, 5 min break; 30 mins; 15 minute break – for which you should get away from your study space. Repeat again, but this time you can have lunch after 40×30 min sessions. Repeat for afternoon up until dinner time.
  12. Five sit-ups or press-ups in the short breaks will also help limit mental fatigue, and you may end up with a toned-stomach at the end of it.
  13. Create a study timetable where sandwich the subjects you don’t like between the ones you do.
  14. Practice relaxation exercises (eyes closed and take long slow deep breaths) – see my Two Minute Stress Buster post.
  15. Get out in the fresh air, in daylight everyday, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  16. Get exercise – build this into to your weekly study timetable.
  17. Don’t study right up until bed time, this can ruin your sleep. Instead, spend the last hour relaxing before you go to bed.

Wishing you happier and more productive studying.

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