AreteAdvice Volume 1: The Hopeful Dawn

Happy Thursday and welcome to AreteAdvice! This is the time each week where I field questions and give free advice. Feel free to take it, leave it or pass it on J. Today, we have two people writing in:

Dear Arete,
My friend is making a lot of bad decisions in his life, ones that put him in positions where he is uncomfortable and where he does not want to be. I’ve tried to talk to him about it, but he just shrugs and laughs it off, but then goes on to act weird about the whole situation, almost as if he wants to talk about it. Is there anything I can do to help him? Or at the very least get him to talk to me?
Anonymous

Dear Anon,

When I first saw your message, the first question I thought to ask is: When did your friend start making these decisions? People tend to make more risky decisions when there has been a sudden change in their own life. These situations, though uncomfortable, may be the only means of distracting your friend from a much larger issue in his own life. Has he gone through a sudden change? If so, that change in life may be just the thing that your friend is trying to communicate to you.

The important thing is that you don’t press him too hard to find out what’s going on. You don’t want to risk alienating him, especially if he’s in a weird place. Remember that silence can be as good as asking the right questions. If you feel like he wants to disclose something, try not saying a word-but listening to what he’s got to say.

Lastly, continue to support him no matter what happens. It may take a while for him to stop putting himself in uncomfortable places, and even longer to start talking with you. Step in if you feel like his life is at risk, but don’t confront. Wait it out with him and, if you’re close friends, he’ll let you in. In the meantime, play some Super Smash against each other. Go see the new Avengers together. Befriend some local wildlife (like a deer, if regionally appropriate). Give him some alternatives, and he won’t feel the need to make bad decisions-

Because he’s made a good one by having you as a friend.

Sincerely,

Arete

On a serious note, any advice for people who have a hard time waking up in the morning?

Dear Morning Person,

Mornings can be a time of quiet reflection and promise. The whole world lays in front of you, waiting to welcome to your presence. As the dew drops (snow fall this time of year) fall from the trees, you’re there…entering your 90th rem cycle.

For such a simple act, the science behind sleep is tremendously complicated. No scientist has 100% proven how much sleep is recommended or even why we need it in the first place. So like all of life’s other greatest mysteries, we’re left to grapple with our pillows alone.

The biggest piece of advice to you is to practice sleeping for sets amount of time. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s necessary. Your body functions on its own independent clock, in conjunction with factors such as external light, sound and environment. While you can’t always control those things, you can train your internal clock. Although it would make a lame training montage, it’s the first step to getting your Z’s in the most efficient way.

Another solution is the change the way you wake up. Alarms are great, but after a while you can become accustomed to it. And as stated earlier, your body can condition yourself to certain sounds. If your current alarm ain’t hacking it, try a new alarm. Or have a friend change your alarm for you. Most importantly: YOUR ALARM CANNOT BE NEAR YOU. That’s right, you’ve got to do better than lazily reaching your arm over the edge of the bed. Put it across the room, on a shelf, or even under the bed. If you have to get up to get it, you may find yourself better off.

Lastly, you have to look at this issue from the other end. How are you going to bed? Are you watching Netflix, texting or fighting your mortal enemy? Because all three are proven to disrupt your sleep cycle. If you do need light or sound to get to bed, it’s okay to have something on in the background…but it should be turned down to minimum settings. This will ease the transition to sleep and get you feeling better rested. And put down that pizza slice if you’re going to bed in an hour…it can also disrupt sleep.

So in conclusion: it’s not gonna be easy. Sleep is a habit, and habits can take up to 2 months to form. If you want to be able to tackle the mornings like a 400 pound linebacker, you have to practice like one. So start conditioning yourself to get to bed at a certain time, move your alarm and try to go to sleep before you’re more exhausted than jokes about Twilight. And if all that doesn’t work…

Have you considered becoming Batman?

Sleep Tight,

Arete.

Have a question for Arete Advice? Just send it areteadvice@gmail.com. You shall always remain anonymous. See you next week!

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