Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. ~Brendan Francis
Does fear keep you awake at night? Some of my worst nights have been ones full of scared anxious thoughts about: health, my children, money, the economy, world affairs, getting older, my parents, feeling fat, etc. You name it, I have probably feared or worried about it.
These days I have far fewer angst filled sleepless nights. There are tools we can develop that really do work.
You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith. ~Mary Manin Morrissey
If fearful thoughts are robbing you of a good night sleep, here are some ideas to help:
1. Meditate. Take some time to be still and quiet. You don’t need any special equipment or mantras or anything. Just close your eyes and breathe. Try to become the observer of your own thoughts. If they come, let them pass, and breathe….
2. Condition your mind with the use of affirmations. You can write these down on sticky notes, cards, or in your journal. You may include them in your prayers and use them when you meditate if you find it useful for your mind to have something to focus on.
I have used several affirmations over the years. A few that I am currently using that are working well for me are:
I expect success
I Am safe
Life supports me
3. Limit your media exposure. I still get the morning newspaper but I am very selective about what I read in it. It is no longer the first thing I look at when pouring my first cup of coffee. Instead, I write in my journal, read something spiritual and uplifting, or write a morning prayer for The Warm Milk Journal. I have never watched the news on television. I am very picky about what I read on the internet too.
Our experience is what we believe it is. The “bad news” out there that is constantly being reported (because it sells papers and advertising) does not have to be our focus or personal experience.
4. Limit your exposure to negative people. We are who we spend time with.
5. If you are overwhelmed with worry write your concerns down in your journal. Then let them go before bedtime.
6. Get plenty of exercise during the day. A well exercised body makes for a more calm and centered mind.
7. Focus on the things you love. Love and fear are opposites. Which do you want to steer you?
8. Focus on gratitude and the good that is all around you.
9. Look for and see beauty.
10. Let things go.
11. Be present.
Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop. ~Usman B. Asif
12. Light will always overcome the darkness. In the morning, things will not seem anywhere near as bad as they do in the middle of the night.
When you are ready to go to sleep or if you have been woken up in the middle of the night, the last thing you want is for your mind to start thinking about the events of the day or worries, etc.
A simple technique that I use is color meditation. It is easy and quite effective. When you are wanting to go to sleep, think of a color that is soothing for you.
I always use blue because it is my favorite color and I find it to be very pleasing and soothing. Enjoy images of anything of that particular color that come into your mind. I think of all things blue. If I notice my mind wandering a bit, I will even think to myself, the word “blue”.
I am asleep in no time. Try it. It really works!
P.S. If you find the color blue soothing like I do, you may check out my Pinterest board, “A study in blue” for some blue inspiration
If you are lying there awake and can’t get to sleep, try this:
1. Lie there in your bed and relax: get comfortable, breathe, be still.
2. Clear your mind. Just be.
3. Now use your internal voice to silently describe anything that you are aware of.
4. Keep your “voice” in your head as monotone and calm as possible.
5. Then begin describing things that come to mind. This is a bit of a free association exercise. It is okay if the things you think of are completely random or even bizarre. Don’t judge. Just do.
For example, if I were doing this exercise it would be somewhat like this (now granted I am not lying in my bed right now in my dark bedroom. I am sitting outside in my back patio, but the technique is the same…)
Breathe…deep Buddha belly breathing…
I close my eyes for a moment and just listen. I smell. I feel. I am still.
Now, I am currently aware of:
1. the sound of crickets.
2. the gentle breeze blowing on my skin.
3. the quality of the light on the neighbor’s palm tree as the sun continues to go down.
4. the neighbor’s cat sitting looking at me from a distance
5. I’m not hungry for dinner yet although I know my husband is ready to eat..
6. that breeze has now stopped
7. I hear a child playing in our community swimming pool.
8. the hum of a nearby air conditioning unit just came on.
9. A jogger just went by on our street saying hello to the child in the pool
10. I hear some cars in the distance..
You get the idea. This is not only very relaxing but it really puts you in the NOW. It is quite an amazing exercise. I will do this again later when I am in bed.
Try this anytime you just want to meditate or want to fall asleep fast.
Source: I Can Make you Sleep by Paul McKenna
Are you dreamy? Do you drift? Do you ever want something more or different for your life?
How can we live the life of our dreams if we are not sure what we want?
To get clear on what you want I offer you this morning these five ideas:
1. In your journal or on a piece of paper, write down 100 things that you want to be, 100 things that you want to have, and 100 things that you want to do.
2. Imagine that you only had a few months left to life. What would be most important to you then?
3. Read about and talk to people who are doing what you want.
4. Express your desires to the people closest to you. Ask for their support (there is also the element of accountability when you share your dreams and goals with others).
5. Keep trying new things and be persistent. It is easy to give up quickly. If you believe in something, stick with it.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
Have a blessed day,
Tonight, before you go to sleep, meditate on all things soft and gentle. You can think about the day or anything that comes to mind, so long as the image or feeling that comes out is one of softness, tenderness, or gentleness.
I will give you a few examples to get you started. This can be a journal writing exercise as well. You will probably end up feeling very calm and peaceful. You may even end up with a beautiful bedtime verse. Ready to give it a try?
Okay, let’s see…
Soft and gentle was the day today…
gentle breezes on the beach..
The warmth of the sun gently caressing me…
My daughter’s soft skin that I wanted to protect from the skin’s rays
How soft my hair felt after using my new coconut conditioner
My soft slippers I am wearing on my feet right now..
The soft blanket and covers that I will curl up under soon
The soft chorus of frogs I hear singing their lullaby in our pond out back..
Soft, gentle, tender is this Spring night
There is a peaceful softness that comes from a silent but happy household: after the “good nights” are said, the hugs and tender kisses are made..
The soft pillow awaits…sweet tender dreams are there somewhere patiently waiting.
Good night, soft and gentle Spring night!
What made you feel safe and loved as a young child at bedtime?
Was it your soft fuzzy “blankie”?
Perhaps your mom or dad reading you a bedtime story, saying your prayers with you, and tucking you in?
As you get ready to go to bed tonight, I invite you to think back to a time when you felt safe and loved. If you were afraid, loving arms were there to hold you. When you were cold, blankets and a teddy bear or raggedy ann doll were there to cuddle.
You are still that child deep inside. You are still safe and loved.
I have been feeling the need to stretch. There has been family in town, dinners to cook, meals eaten out, and lot’s of yummy sweet treats to indulge in.
Great parties, wonderful family gatherings- but work outs at the gym have not been the top priority this week.
I need to stretch. Gentle stretching when I can steal a few moments here and there does a body good.
Today, I was fortunate enough to attend a yoga class at my gym. My father who is visiting us out of town asked if we could work out. I said sure!
I had forgotten there was a noon yoga class offered on this day. This was a substitute instructor. I did not even get his name.
From the moment I laid my mat down I was glad I was there.
Peace. A break.
For the next 55 minutes this lovely young man led us through a very gentle session of breathing and basic poses. I appreciated the easy pace. I was
not ready for anything too strenuous today.
At the end of the class the lights were dimmed. We were asked
“what do you really want for the new year?”
We closed our eyes and lay there in corpse pose and meditation for quite sometime.
Before parting company, our teacher said one more thing:
“If something you want is not in your life or you have something in your life that you do not want, it is better to do nothing rather than to continue to do what you have been doing”.
Something to think about…