How making your bed can change your life
The other night, I was having a discussion with my friend about the age-old debate - to make the bed or not to make the bed???
My reply - "Making my bed changed my life!"
Nowadays, my personal practice starts with a morning routine. For me, that routine makes all the difference in my day - from whether I can focus at work to my my ability to emotionally regulate and deal with stress.
I read. I journal. I meditate. I write my gratitude list. I make my bed!
As a kid, I never really understood why my parents were always pressuring me to make the bed. If I'm being honest, even just 3 years ago, making the bed didn't make sense to me. I just get right back in it at night. What good can making it really do?
Well, speaking from experience, it does soooooo much good!
Before journaling...Before my gratitude list, I started making my bed.
Small things cause big transformations.
In Charles Duhigg's book, The Power of Habit, he writes, "Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget...It's not that a family meal or a tidy bed causes better grades or less frivolous spending. But somehow those initial shifts start chain reactions that help other good habits take hold."
As I began my journey with a mindfulness practice, I was forced to look around and take inventory. I started to see how my personal spaces were reflections of my mental states.
In that light, making my bed became so much more than tucking my sheets in and fluffing my pillows. It has, without a doubt, opened the door to other healthy habits like my morning meditation, eating breakfast every day, pilates, yoga and balancing my checkbook.
I consider making my bed an act of self-love and self-care. It's a way to tell myself - I love you and I care about your well-being. In this simple act, I am cultivating loving-kindness towards myself which ripples out into my day and all my relationships.
"Anxiety arises from not being able to see the whole picture. If you feel anxious, but are not sure why, try putting your things in order" Marie Kondo says in the best selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
I used to hit the snooze button on my alarm without fail. I would dread getting up in the mornings, full of anxiety. That anxiety would stay with me the entire day.
Now, when I walk in my room and see my bed made, this experience “SPARKS JOY,” as Kondo would say! Being around an uncluttered, tidy space, relaxes the mind. It's in this relaxed state that I begin and end my days. It literally sets the tone for everything that happens after.
One thing you can √ off your To Do List!
Not only is this really easy to do and an expression of self-love and self-care but also, as U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven discusses in his book, Make Your Bed, completing this small task fosters pride and accomplishment.
"If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,'' he says. "It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed."
So, I challenge you! If you are used to hitting your snooze button, jumping out of bed and racing to work, let's try to add some space into your morning. Consider making your bed every day for the next month and just notice if things begin to feel any different.
McRaven told the graduates of the University of Texas, "If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."
Let's change the world!