The Warm Milk Journal

A nurturing place for people who can't sleep

The Serenity Prayer

During a particularly challenging time in my life about ten years ago, I purchased a beautiful framed copy of the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. It is a widely known prayer- popular in 12 step programs. I have found it helps me to “let go and let God” when life’s challenges seem too big and overwhelming. This prayer helps to center me and give me peace.

The popular abbreviated version goes like this:

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

The full original copy:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that you will make all things right,

If I surrender to your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


(taken from


April 19, 2010 Posted by | Spirituality | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aromatherapy: Top Ten Scents To Help Us Sleep

Natural essential oils are best. Here is the list:

  1. Lavender
  2. Chamomile
  3. Bergamot
  4. Sandalwood
  5. Mandarin
  6. Lilac
  7. Rose
  8. Vanilla
  9. Pumpkin
  10. Jasmine

Avoid peppermint and lemon which are good to take when you need to concentrate and be alert (good right before taking an exam).

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Tips to help insomnia | , , , | Leave a comment

Tension Exercise

If you are lying there in your bed, wide awake- do this:

  1. On your back, close your eyes very tightly for a few seconds. Then relax eyes, leaving them closed.
  2. Raise your eyebrows ten times up and down. Relax.
  3. Scrunch your nose ten times. Relax.
  4. Open your mouth wide open and close it ten times (we hold an enormous amount of tension in our jaws).
  5. Nod your head up and down ten times. Relax
  6. Turn your head to the side ten times. Relax
  7. Shrug your shoulders up and down ten times. Relax
  8. Clench your fists. hold them for 10 seconds. Relax.
  9. Flex bicep muscles in arms for ten seconds. Relax
  10. Tighten abdominal muscles for ten seconds. Relax
  11. Tighten glutes for ten seconds. Relax
  12. Tighten both legs for ten seconds. Relax
  13. Tighten calves for ten seconds. Relax
  14. Scrunch up toes for ren seconds. Relax
  15. Tighten up and tense as many parts of your body as you can think of at one time for ten seconds. Relax.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Physical Exercises | , , , | Leave a comment

The Mew Way: Restorative Sleep the Feline way

Every now and then I am going to write posts inspired by my wonderful cat, Mew. Last night I was reading about the different stages of sleep and in particular -the idea of restorative sleep. I just happened to look up from my book, and there was Mew at the foot of the bed on his back, all four legs up, belly up….sound asleep. Talk about restorative sleep!

What can we learn from our wonderful furry friends?

  1. Don’t worry
  2. Be in the Now
  3. Know you are loved
  4. Know you are safe
  5. Stretch and get in a good comfortable sleeping position
  6. Trust in the world- don’t be afraid
  7. Be content with what you have (a soft warm bed, a warm loving human nearby on her laptop)
  8. There are very few things in this world more important then a restful, undisturbed nap!

April 19, 2010 Posted by | The Mew Way | , , , | Leave a comment

What are you thankful for?

In your journal, write down all of things in your life you are thankful for. This gratitude list can be an ongoing feature in your journal… what we appreciate, appreciates! And, getting in a grateful state helps to get us out of our funky, anxious states of mind into a more positive state.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | lists | , , | Leave a comment

What are you avoiding?

Are there things in your life that you are avoiding? Procrastinating on? I find that when I am avoiding something that I know I need to be dealing with, I end up feeling anxious and doing a lot of tossing and turning during the night. Current issues in my life that I know I am doing this with involve financial matters and legal matters (involving my ex spouse). By day, I am a busy school teacher and when I am not on my job I like to recreate and work on The Warm Milk Journal. I find the last thing I want to do with my time and energy is deal with these matters. Alas, by ignoring them- they do not go away (sigh..if only it were that simple right?)

On the contrary, I find that the longer I put off dealing with these unpleasant tasks, the worse I end up feeling (anxious, my life a bit out of control, restless sleep, etc. etc.)

So what is the solution.? Remember those baby action steps? I think that strategy would be appropriate here.

In your journal, write down what are some things in your life that you know need to be dealt with but that you have been putting off? Next to each thing, write down one thing you can do about it. Don’t feel pressured to do everything on this list in one day- that would feel overwhelming and put you in your head back in the sand, procrastinating mode- but commit to doing one thing tomorrow on this list. Call that lawyer, call that creditor, make that annual medical check up appointment.

Over the weekend, I finally did a task on my list (calling my auto insurance company about a scratch I have on my new Honda). I had been putting this off for two weeks. Once I did it, it was a very good feeling that I finally took care of it. Now to do one more thing on this list today…and I will feel even better. It might be kind of inconvenient to but it feels better to be in the driver’s seat of my life and deal with things instead of avoiding and letting the anxiety over it build up. Often it is not as bad as we have it built up in our minds either. It was very quick and painless opening a claim with my auto insurer- much easier than I thought it was going to be.

Commit to doing one thing on this list. Then let the rest go until the next day. Chip away at it. You are in the driver’s seat. You will begin to feel empowered and rest easier at night.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Self-empowerment | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Affirmations for Anxiety and Insomnia

One of my favorite little books that I have owned for years is Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. In this book she lists many physical conditions that people have, the underlying mental causes for them, and then offers an affirmation to say and focus on to heal the condition.For our purposes here at the Warm Milk Journal I would like to share with you what she has to say about anxiety and insomnia.

Anxiety: Results from not trusting the flow and the process of life.

Affirmation for anxiety: I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life. I am safe.

Insomnia: Results from fear. Not trusting the process of life. Guilt.

Affirmation for insomnia: I lovingly release the day and slip into peaceful sleep, knowing tomorrow will take care of itself.

Try writing these affirmations down in your journal. Close your eyes and meditate on them.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Meditations | , , , , , | 3 Comments