Nighttime rituals are certainly as important as morning rituals, if not even more important. Why? “All’s well that ends well.”

Nobel prize winner and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman has shown in his research that the brain only remembers two things about an event…

1. the emotional peak of the event (best and worst)
2. the end of the event

Kahneman calls these two things the “peak-end.” He tells us that if we structure our days so that the peak of a day’s event is terrific and that the ending of that day’s event is terrific, we will be able to guide our brains into happier states of being with this peak-end.

Here is a list of seven things to help you develop nighttime rituals:

1. Develop a “shutdown” ritual. Okay, the workday is over and your mind is still going a mile a minute. Get your brain out of work mode so it can relax. A. End the day the same way every day…straighten your desk…back up your computer…make tomorrow’s to-do list…review every uncompleted task/goal and either make a plan for its completion or put that task/goal on a list where it will be revisited when the time is right.
2. Turn weeknights into weekends. What’s so great about weekends? Friends and family. Be with friends and family at night, even weeknights. Do NOT sit alone on the couch on weekdays.
3. Spend your nights mastering something. Pick something you like to do, something that you already know how to do and become better at doing it. Most people go into a mode of low-level information processing and they just worry or watch TV. Instead of leisure time worry and boredom, schedule “becoming awesome” night times with as much attention as you schedule workday time.
4. Wind down, don’t collapse down. No screens, no coffee, no long walks or skydiving at night.
5. Don’t go to bed angry with your partner. The end of the day means the end of hostilities. The end of the day means a recognition of underlying shared values and commitment to the relationship. In 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, people aged 70 – 100 years repeatedly said, “Let it go. Kiss and make up.” And kiss again.
6. Write down the good things that happened that day. Put a notepad and pencil on your nightstand next to he bed. Write down three things that happened for which you’re thankful. Then write one sentence for each about why they happened. (This comes from University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman.)
7. Schedule something to look forward to. Studies show that anticipation about something can be more enjoyable than actually getting or experiencing what you anticipate. Even if you’re unable to do what you’d like to do tomorrow or next week, schedule that thing for next month or next year. Every time you see that thing on your calendar, you’ll relax and maybe even dream about it.

Remember…”All’s well that ends well.”

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