The object of all Mindfulness exercise is to strengthen your control of thought to assist in relaxation and stress reduction. The more you practice relaxation techniques’s the easier you will step into a place of calm and have tools to reduce anxiety.
Prepare to sleep. The subconscious loves patterns and responds to routine, by creating a bedtime routine the mind and body soon recognises the pattern and knows exactly what to expect and do - a habit of unwinding will soon be in place. Start your routine by preparing at least 30 minutes before bed by slowing things down, (even in your movements) try not to stimulate the brain i.e. scrolling through phone, doing exercise, working on a computer, doing paperwork, loading the washing machine! etc.
Gratitude Journal: End the day on a positive thoughts and take good thoughts into sleep. Think of 5 things that you have enjoyed or are grateful for about your day? Keeping a gratitude journal that you write last thing at night - it’s another way of letting go of worrying thoughts and seeing the bigger picture - not all the doom and gloom. If you prefer not to journal then at least call to mind those 5 things - step into each one and feel the gratitude, love, and emotion connected to each one - slowly!
Breathwork: In a comfortable position, start to notice the sensations of the inhale and exhale - the coolness on the inhale and, warmth of the exhale - the rise and fall of your chest. Inhale for the count of 3 - hold for the count of 5 - breathe away. Do several rounds of this breathing, then allow the breath to settle into its natural rhythm. Return your focus to the sensation of breath, the rise and fall of your chest, notice how your body may be feeling a little heavier as the breath allows your mind and body to slow down. (Whatever breath count you use, make sure the exhale is longer than the inhale).
Begin visualisation with breathwork, then imagine a light just above the crown of your head - visualise this light slowly moving down your body. As it does see the muscles and tissues begin to release any tension held. Allow your forehead to smooth, your jaw to drop slightly and your elbows to feel heavy, etc - connect with the sensation of your elbows feeling heavier, which draws your shoulders down releasing the tension held in your neck and continue working down the whole body - feel any tingling sensations at the tips of your fingers and toes, etc … continue until you have scanned the down the whole body and back up again. And, return to the sensation of the breath.
It is natural for the mind to wander - but, you can choose to follow the worrying thoughts that threaten sleep, or acknowledge that your thoughts have wandered as soon as you notice. How? By acknowledging the thought but, stop following it! You could say to yourself ‘thinking’ ‘rest’ ‘ok’ or even just ‘stop’! Just one word and then return your thought focus back to your breath.
Time: Try not to sleep with a watch on, keep looking to see what the time is, checking messages or scrolling on your phone - all will stimulate your brain and wake you up even more! If you are restless getup and make a warm drink (remembering slow movement as you mindfully make the drink).
Guided Meditation to aid sleep/relaxation: There are many guided meditations you can find on the internet that have a couple recorded on my site (www.alisonforge.com ) and also ’Youtube’ is full of them! Find a voice that you enjoy listening to or even better record your own.
Can’t sleep! Move the focus of thought away from not being able to sleep the more you say to yourself ‘I can’t sleep’ or ‘I need to sleep’ that is what you are focusing on. Instead, change the thought to focusing on your body relaxing. It is ok that you have not fallen asleep straight away the main thing is you are allowing your body to relax. This is what you say instead ‘I know relax’ you can add this to the breath inhale and mentally say ‘I am’ exhale and mentally say ‘relaxed’. The more you beat yourself up and worry the more tension and anxiety you create.
Phones: We all know it’s not good to be charing our phones by the side of our bed - need I say more!
…… any questions remember I am always here firstname.lastname@example.org