Have you ever had one of those nights where you are lying awake sorting through all of the items on your To Do/Problems to Solve list? Worrying aimlessly about how you will get this done or that resolved? You glance at the clock to see that it’s past midnight, and you have an additional fret to add to your list: a lack of sleep. It happens to most of us at some point in our lives, and it can be quite frustrating.
In my work, I frequently deal with anxious little people, and recently, many adults who struggle with getting to sleep because of their busy minds. I have combined my practical knowledge and experience in dealing with anxiety to come up with a simple strategy (or better known as “trick” to my kiddos) to help those seeking a peaceful drift into slumberland.
To quiet the mind and bring you to a peaceful sleep, you have to follow the steps (no shortcuts!), and take it seriously, or it won’t work.
Close your eyes.
Picture a GIANT red STOP sign. Do you see it? You should…it’s huge. To the left are your racing thoughts that are so tempting to turn to. NO! They can and must wait until morning. Heed the sign and STOP.
You are going to turn right towards an endless and vast open blue sky, complete with numerous white fluffy clouds. You are floating so peacefully amongst those clouds, the warmth of the sunshine on your skin, a gentle breeze calming you. You can begin to make out the various shapes the clouds begin to form. Look, a duck…oh…and an elephant. See how many animals or familiar shapes you can find. Get lost in them. Allow yourself to disappear into their endlessness.
Get the point? The clouds and sky are my happy place (along with curling up with a warm fuzzy blanket and escaping into my cocoon), but you can create your own. Just make sure it’s somewhere calming like the beach or outer space…no amusement parks or highly active places that will keep you excited and awake. 😉 You just have to turn right and keep going. It sounds simple because it is. Confucious said it perfectly: “Life is really simple. We insist on making it complicated.”
I use this technique, which is a form of thought stopping used in many mental health therapies, myself and with my clients, and it really works. You just have to lose yourself to it…and don’t worry. All of your thoughts will be waiting for you in the a.m. Only you’ll be more rested and ready to deal with them.
Sweet dreams! 🙂