This Minimalistic Sunnah Design Lifestyle by the will of Allah will explore a) improving those mood swings b) freeing up more time for contemplation, reflection, prayer or quality time with family c) social interaction with Muslim in the morning.
It follows the work of Seth Roberts who at the time was a psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley age 52.
The article reflects on the variety of problems Roberts had and, the self-experiment carried out on himself to find solutions to these problems.
I came across the story in the one of the books by the two authors, unfortunately I can not recall if it was in Freakonmics 1 or 2, anyway; the article is compact of the content in the book. What was striking to me was;
“He wasn’t depressed, but he wasn’t always in the best of moods”, stated the article.
The proposed solution to this problem was:
“Stranger yet was the fix he discovered for lifting his mood: at least one hour each morning of TV viewing, specifically life-size talking heads – but never such TV at night. Once he stumbled upon this solution, Roberts, like many scientists, looked back to the Stone Age for explication. Anthropological research suggests that early humans had lots of face-to-face contact every morning but precious little after dark, a pattern that Roberts’s TV viewing now mimicked.”
When I read this part of the experiment, what stood out to me was the narration of the Prophet of Allah صلىالله عليه وسلم :
“Abu Barza reported that the Messenger of Allah صلىالله عليه وسلم, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to dislike sleep before ‘Isha’ and talk after it.” [Agreed upon]
The explanation that scholars provide in the detailing for this narration is that, if necessary conversation is needed i.e. religious, family, crisis, etc. then this is acceptable.
Other practices of the beloved Prophet صلىالله عليه وسلم would confirm that he did not like idle pursuits and his evening times were spent in contemplation, reflection and all manners of prayer. Most TV in the evening serves as entertainment purposes only.
Roberts experiment mimicked real life conversations in the morning by watching TV. Life-size talking heads are from either news and Good Morning type programs. This would make sense in modern western cultures, whereby most people are either sleep in the morning our getting ready to go to work and minimal interactions occur.
For a Muslim, the sunnah (Prophetic Lifestyle) would be to visit the Masjid for the Fajr (Dawn) prayer. One practice of the Prophet صلىالله عليه وسلم would upon completion of his prayer ask his companions if they had any dreams that needed interpreting, if there was none, then he would narrate a dream he had.
Those engaged in the effort of Dawah (Propagation of the Deen) either have a short talk presented in the Masjid or engage in Mashwara (consultation).
If you are not engaged in the effort of Dawah and will leave the Masjid without talking to anyone, or are a women who prayers in the home, then the suggestion would be to strike a conversation with members of your household.
Obvious conversations would include asking how they plan to spend the day. What would be more proactive is to discuss how we can spend the day implementing minimalistic design lifestyle according to the Sunnah towards fulfilling the commands of Allah.
There is some obvious advantages of not watching TV in the evening and spending that time if not in refection and prayer, then at the least talking to the family.