“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Benjamin Franklin. Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1735.
The virtues of waking up at 5 am are numerous. A day has 25 hours if you wake up an hour earlier! You have time for a jog, any other quick workout, for meditation, or to make a healthy breakfast. If you decide to work early, there is no other time as conducive as these early hours. Your brain is fresh from a good night’s rest, and you can focus without distraction. The virtues of getting up early are borne out in the lives of many successful people. If you want to get up early, however, you have to go to sleep early. Night owls cannot wake up early.
The health hazards of sitting are quite known now. It just takes a bit of conscious effort to get up and walk after half an hour of sitting at your desk. Prolonged sitting has been shown to cause problems to the back bone including disk damage, degeneration of the muscles, slowing down of brain functions, and leg disorders. When you have to sit, sit in the right way. Sit up straight, with shoulders relaxed and elbows at 90 degrees. You should not lean forward. Feet should be flat on the floor.
Though not directly connected to health, punctuality is a virtue that is well worth cultivating. Being punctual is the right thing to do. There is a reason for scheduling an event at a particular time. Being punctual shows you are trustworthy and reliable. If you are habitually punctual, you will never be stressed about being late. People trust you more, and they take your word seriously.
Connectivity is very important for your emotional and psychological health. You should have a network of family and friends with whom you are in touch often, and a couple of friends who will be your ‘go to’ people when times are bad. Maintain your friendships. Cultivate and cherish positive relationships, but run away from people who bring negativity into your life. People who gossip constantly, who complain all the time, and cling to you to satisfy their every need, drain your energy. Surround yourself with people who give you positive vibes. Relationships with such people enrich you.
Being connected does not mean being on Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp 24/7. Do not fall into the trap of posting every single thing happening in your life or just sharing inanities on Facebook, for example. Do not be a slave to social media. Check your email just twice a day – once in the morning, and once before sleep. Schedule just half an hour every day for all your social media activities together. That is more than enough time to catch up with your friends and relatives. Finally, when you are at work, keep your smart phone on silent mode or switch it off. If anyone has to contact you urgently, they will find other ways to do so.
Do you do gardening as a hobby? If not, it is high time you did. Researchers in the Netherlands has found gardening to be a better stress relieving activity than other leisure activities. It leads to better mental and brain health, and provides you with good exercise. What is often not mentioned among the benefits of gardening is the sheer joy you experience when your vegetables finally grow, and you are able to harvest. Last but not the least, you will be eating vegetables without any harmful chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
Reading develops the mind. The great men and women who are our contemporaries and who have lived and died before us enjoyed reading. To quote the famous author Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice, ““I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” A person with a reading habit has a broad and wise mind. He/she is never bored in life due to lack of activity.
These ten habits will help you greatly in life, both personal and professional. Start one habit per week or even per month. Slow and steady wins the race!