When you are afraid of something, breathe.
When you are angry, breathe.
When you are feeling impatient, breathe.
When you are tense, breathe.
When you are irritated, breathe.
When you are feeling panicked, breathe.
When you are restless, breathe.
When you can’t sleep at night, breathe.
If feeling a bit restless when it is time to sleep:
repeat something to yourself that brings peace to you.
“I AM safe”
“God Loves me”
“I AM love”
“I AM peace”
Today, I catch moments of impatience and turn them into opportunities to quiet my mind and feelings, and fully engage in co-creation with Spirit. I appreciate the power of divine right timing in my life.
(from May’s issue of Science of Mind Magazine)
One of the most frustrating experiences for many of us with anxiety and insomnia is dealing with our “monkey minds”. This refers to when our minds are endlessly chattering on irritating worries, replays of the day or interactions with others, analyzing and agonizing over something over and over again. You know what I am talking about here. During the day I am so busy that I usually can keep that monkey mind dormant while I am taking care of the tasks of the day. It gets more challenging at night, however, as the house quiets down and it is time to retire.
Many of the posts here at The Warm Milk Journal in some way address the issue of quieting our mind enough so that we can sleep well at night and live a healthy balanced life during the day. Ways to quiet the monkey mind are: meditations, diversions and distractions, affirmations, taking walks, getting support from family, friends, or counselors if something serious really is causing these anxious thoughts. Often, though, there isn’t really anything “wrong” with us or our lives. We are just in the habit of thinking non stop in this way.
Sue Patton Thoele in her wonderful book, The Woman’s Book of Courage, likens our monkey thoughts to dwelling on fleas. They bug, irritate, pick, scratch, and bite at our minds until our feelings fester and they are kind of making us crazy (right?)
She advises us that if we notice our monkey mind concentrating on” fleas”, we can distract it with thoughts of “bananas, love, or thankfulness”. She reminds us that we need to be gentle with ourselves as we calm our monkey mind, because doing so is a life-long process.
Some affirmations to try:
I am in charge of my mind
I choose to think healing, loving,
and thankful thoughts.
I have the power to create peaceful thoughts
even in stressful situations.
Being silent at times is very good for us. It calms our nervous systems down. Calms the mind. Soothes the soul. Helps us to connect to our higher power. After a busy day with my second graders I really need that time. If I get it, I sleep much better at night.
How can we fit in times to be silent and be still in our busy lives? Here are a few suggestions:
- If you commute, turn off the car stereo once in a while
- Sit and meditate during work and lunch breaks
- Set up times at home when you intend to be quiet and then communicate with family members not to interrupt you
- Take a walk without your music
- Spend time outdoors alone
- Go on a silent retreat
- Unplug: turn off phones, computers, all electronics!
When you do emerge from your time of silence you will be much more refreshed and have more to give. You will be more centered and will sleep better at night.
Breath is the gift of life. If we are not breathing we are not living! So every breath we take truly is a gift. As much as we can, let’s be aware of our breathing. If we are getting stressed or hurried, we can just slow our breathing down, breathe deeper into our bellies, and then fully exhale. I like to do this when I am doing mundane things like driving my car or washing the dishes. When I’m waiting in line is a good time as well.
In an earlier post, I referred to one of my favorite books, Louise Hay’s Heal your Body. She describes breath as “the ability to take in life”. The affirmation she prescribes for good breathing is as follows: ” I love life. It is safe to live”.
This is a wonderful affirmation to try anytime during our day including times at night when we want to sleep.
Let’s try it. Breathe in deeply: “I love life. It is safe to live”. Breathe out. Repeat
Other simple affirmations that really work for me are ” I am safe”, “I am love”, “God loves me”, “I am enough”, and just meditating on the word “peace” or “I am peace.”
Let us join in a meditation for peace:
Peace, be still……..
I am at peace…….
I am one with the Peace of God….
Peace fills my being….
Peace be unto you.
(taken from the joy of meditation by Jack and Cornelia Addington)
There is something very relaxing about coloring. As a student I always seemed to be doodling on my notebook while listening to a teacher’s lecture. I teach second graders. Sometimes I will put something out for the kids to color when they need to be calm and regain their focus. I am not sure what the science is behind this, but it seems that coloring does calm our nervous systems down. It gives our minds something to focus on too, in a very relaxing way.
When you are anxious and can’t sleep at night, I highly recommend drawing and coloring. I have a set of high quality pastels that I use to draw abstract-like pictures. I just enjoy the combinations of color, lines, and shapes. It truly relaxes me.
If you want to color something that is drawn already for you, I recommend mandala coloring pages. Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means “whole world” or “healing circle”. Mandalas are usually in a circle with all kinds of intricate patterns to color in and meditate on.
You can find Mandala coloring books at the main bookstores and websites. One website I have used recently for my classroom is http://www.coloringcastle.com/mandala-coloring-pages.html. They allow you to download Mandala coloring pages for free. There are many sites out there. Have fun looking. You can print several pages ahead of time so that when you are up late with insomnia you just have them at the ready.
Sometimes, the simpler an exercise the better. You can do this meditation lying in bed or sitting up in a relaxed position. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Inhale. Exhale. When you inhale, begin to say or think “so”. When you exhale, begin to think “hum”. Keep doing this as long as you can. Other thoughts will drift into your mind. Treat them as passing clouds in the sky. Allow them to pass without giving them much attention. Continue to concentrate on your breathing and your mantra: “so” inhale, “hum” while exhaling.
After some time you may stop with the mantra and just breathe. I have used this mantra before and it really does work to make me sleepy.
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.
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