Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ending A Day

by Scott Andrews

“Begin with the end in mind” is often a recommendation for writing an effective speech. However, I believe we can apply this statement to just about any action we take. Driving a car, saying hello, or ending a day.

News networks rarely focus attention on how people end their day. Local news is always more than happy to show how someone wrecked their car, had their home burned or were a victim of some crime. These are the stories that lead our news. Other stories focus on statistics of heart disease, or the increase in AIDS in Africa, or many other maladies that face the human race. The mentality is "if it bleeds, it leads."

However, what if we started out our day truly beginning with the end in mind? What would we picture? A nice restful and uninterrupted sleep? Hot sex? Contented happiness? Getting a check for a bunch of money? A hug from someone we love?

Perhaps a combination of these things. How many of us instead wake to a noisy alarm clock, skip breakfast (or call breakfast three cups of coffee and a bagel), hurry through a day crammed with work, meetings, cell phone calls, pagers, etc., then rush home to eat a late meal and fall asleep to the television (many times on a couch which puts kinks in a body that already didn't get enough exercise)? Does this scenario describe you? Looking at it now, does it sound like a healthy way to end a day?

By beginning with the end in mind, we can create a better pace for the entire day:

1. Starting by waking up naturally, by sunlight, versus an alarm clock. When we jar ourselves from sleep by an alarm clock we are likely affecting our health by reducing valuable sleep time.

2. Eating a healthy breakfast. Studies show that breakfast should be a larger meal and supper the smallest. Yet, how many of us heed that advice?

3. Getting proper exercise. A half hour a day, three times a week, and one and a half hours cardiovascular (heart pumping) excercise is about all most experts claim we need. I do some basic stretches and lift weights every other day for about twenty minutes and also make sure I get in two hours of more strenuous exercise twice a week. A bit short - but getting there.

4. Eat the last meal no later than four hours prior to bedtime. We need time to properly digest our food while we are awake and rest our digestive system while we are sleeping.

5. Avoid booze, caffeine, and cigarettes (or other drugs) prior to bedtime. These artificial stimulants and toxic drugs cause problems with dreaming and therefore, healthful sleep. Have you ever woke up from a hectic day, hung-over vs. waking up from a healthy, relaxing day?

6. Fall asleep naturally, without the television on. Falling asleep with the T.V. on is one of the biggest challenges to healthy sleep. Especially, watching news (bleeds it leads) prior to sleeping. Is putting the image of a dead person or higher interest rates going to help us sleep better?

7. Healthy sex. Sex can be a good preliminary step to falling asleep; however, the right amount of time must be allowed to make sure the proper care, attitude and love can be expressed.

8. Prayer and/or meditation. Recommended by many, followed by few. Both prayer and meditation can be highly useful to ending where we want the day to end. I personally feel that prayer and meditation can be useful prior to making love as it puts the union in a more spiritual place. Each person prays or meditates in their own way - some prefer the morning for this activity. In the Bible, Jesus said to "pray unceasingly". When thought of in the context of being in a state of communion with Spirit (God) this does not seem unnatural.

Perhaps by living the way we've described during the entire day, we can ensure our evening is relaxed and we are prepared for healthy sleep. As Gandhi said, "take care of the means, and the end will take care of itself."

There is only one person responsible for how we end our day. In the end, it all comes down to how we take control of various situations (kids, work, eating, exercise, etc.) and handle them smoothly rather than letting them handle us.

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1 comment:

suzee said...

Grand information, as always.

Love Suzee