There are many things we can do to promote better sleep for ourselves. One of the best ways that I can think of is to have a good day. At the end of the day when we are ready to retire- if we feel good about how the day went, our chances of sleeping soundly when our heads hit the pillow increase greatly. Being present and in The Now is a great way to spend your day.
I am a firm believer of a day well spent results in a great night of sleep. Over time, days well spent turn into a life well spent and feeling healthy and well rested in the process. Isn’t that what we all want?
Being Present. Fretting about old stuff: mistakes, regrets, bad experiences, bad relationships, etc. will only bog us down and keep us from living our lives to the fullest now. Conversely, too much fear and worry about our future will result in the same result: being stuck.
Who wants to be stuck? There are many great books out there about being in The Now (anything written by Eckhart Tolle is highly recommended). I have read and studied and applied many of these ideas. I find that staying in the present moment, or The Now, has been one of the most helpful- if not the most helpful thing I have done for my life and all of my anxiety and insomnia challenges. If I feel myself getting focused on the past or future, I don’t let my cerebral self linger there for too long. At best, it my be a little indulgent “in my head” daydreaming time. At worse, it can result in great sadness, fear, anger, melancholy, and anxiety. When I feel myself getting into any of these states I know my mind is not fully in The Now. It is amazing how much better I feel when I am focused on the present. In the present, there is rarely the need to brood about something. I simply AM. Life just IS. And it is grand just as IT IS (at least most of the time) .
I believe simple is best so let’s boil this down into 5 ideas that you can use to be more in the Present:
- Work on developing an awareness of when your mind wanders into the past or future. Can you catch yourself? Then think “cancel!!”, gesture yourself a symbolic slitting of the throat on your neck, clap real hard to get your mind’s attention- really anything that will kind of stop the reverie in its tracks. If you are anything like me, your mind likes to wander if you permit it to.
- If the above ideas don’t work, if you can sit or lie down and close your eyes: think this question to yourself “I wonder what my next thought is going to be?” Then just wait. This is a trick I learned from Eckhart Tolle’s The Now and it really works!
- The past: What can you do now? If there is an issue that needs to be dealt with, deal with it in a constructive way if it is within your power to do so. If it is something from your past that you no longer have any control of, then let it go. Forgive, accept, release- and let it go. The past does not have to control you for another second if you don’t let it.
- The future: if we are present most days, then the future will most assuredly take care of itself. Do not worry. 99% of the stuff we worry about does not come true anyway. Live your life well today and you will not have anything to regret tomorrow.
- Use your senses and really be present. Life can be a meditation if we keenly engage in and observe the world around us. Really listen. When someone is talking to you, engage and give them your full attention. Use eye contact and don’t let your mind wander or be focused on what you are going to say next. Take in what they are saying to you. This is called empathic listening. Not only will you be present but this skill will improve your relations with others significantly. Listen to the sounds around you: the crickets if you are outside, music playing, the hum of daily life. SEE: our world is full of wonderful colors, shapes, and textures to feast on. Even if you are just sitting in your living room or backyard: take it all in. Every last detail. Smell: a wonderful meal cooking? Flowers in your neighborhood, the ocean air, etc. Touch: enjoy petting your cat’s fur, caressing your lover, the feel of your freshly washed hair, the feel of water on your body as you swim or get caught in the rain. Just experience it! Taste: don’t just wolf down your food. Eating fast isn’t good for you anyway. Slow down and really taste the food you are eating and drinking. Eat one raisin at a time and experience its chewiness and sweetness. Slowly sip that wine and play with it on your tongue before swallowing it. Enjoy that crunchy texture of your apple or the buttery layers of that croissant… watch how young children observe and engage in the world. They don’t hold back and really experience it (even if it means getting a little messy). I think we can learn a lot from kids. Kids are most definitely in the Now.
Be present and in the Now today and sleep well tonight. Repeat tomorrow. And the next day, and the next. Result: a magnificent life well lived!
Debra : )