How to Wake Up and Feel Awesome

You have to be very careful what kind of stuff you choose to engage with in the early morning. As soon as you wake up, the mind is very impressionable, and what you choose to look at sticks with you throughout the day.

I am not saying that getting up and looking at the phone immediately will influence you to have a bad day, only that if you are going to do it, be careful what you are looking at, the kind of news and information you are ingesting, because I am almost certain that it can turn what would have been a good mood into a not very good mood.

The thing about waking up is it’s a chance to start anew. You go to bed, it’s like the mind wipes away everything that happened yesterday. I know it really does not, and much of what occurred before still remains, somewhere deep inside one’s consciousness, but there is this sort of hard reset that happens during the night, when the body and mind are asleep.

When you wake, your energy is hopefully replenished, and the mind and body can start all over again. Of course, if you do not sleep well, the energy stores do not get replenished fully, or if they do, it’s with energy that isn’t as useful to you. Maybe you are rested but still tired, awake but sort of still asleep.

And yet, there is so much to be gained from waking up purposefully, with a clear mind, a mind that you keep clear, until the very moment you are forced to fill it with something, forced to engage. Those things are stimuli, and until you interact with something that shocks the mind into action, forces you to make a decision or react or to really think, it’s better to let the mind stay at rest, to not have it react.

The reason for this is because throughout the day now, we encounter so much of these stimuli. Whether it’s through the phone or the computer or even standing in line for lunch, there is an all-out assault on the senses, things that jump out at you and command your attention. And each time that happens, a little bit of the brain’s energy reserve gets sucked up, utilized.

It is not entirely important, utilizing your energy in this way, because it does not really lend itself to anything productive, no real end goal so to speak — these are just the everyday stresses of being alive, and they don’t even factor in the very real things, like car notes and rent and student loans, that lurk deep in the back of people’s minds, sucking the life out of them without them even knowing it.

So, my feeling is that one should withdraw or at least limit things they engage with that do not really add anything substantial to their life. On the day to day, we are assaulted with this stuff, and avoiding it is almost a job in and of itself. But it’s important — for one’s sanity.

Because you have this beautiful mind, and it’s capable of so many beautiful things, but so much of it is occupied with nonsense that by the time you are ready to put it to good use, well after you’ve awakened, it’s already depleted of its energy, burned up in the process of thinking about stuff that is largely irrelevant and means nothing at all.

The greatest health crisis today isn’t people shooting junk in their veins, it’s people shooting garbage into their minds. They can’t focus, can’t concentrate, feel down, feel anxious. They’ve got the phone in their hand and they walk streets like ghosts, silent with their heads down, shadows of the people they used to be.

It all starts the minute you wake up. Just say no.

get in touch paulcantor@gmail.com

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Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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