In a recent article entitled “5 Tips to Calm a Restless Mind Before Going to Sleep” by Jade Wu and featured on Psychology Today, Wu features some tips for falling asleep that are creative and can use our imagination to help guide our minds into feeling calmer and more settled. Two that I especially found compelling (quoted):
- Transfer lingering thoughts from your brain to paper. “Your brain is juggling thoughts and working hard to keep them spinning because—goodness forbid—you might forget to worry about something important. I like to use the download technique right before bedtime to catch everything that’s still nagging at my mind. Sometimes, if there are well-formed thoughts worth exploring, I write them down in my journal.”
- Walk yourself through a scene. “Our brains are language machines, designed to be very good at telling stories using words. And all of our thoughts are just stories that our brains tell in order to help us make sense of the world. When you talk yourself through a scene in your mind, it’s much easier to slow down and control the pace. You can take your time to walk from room to room in an imagined house, or from tree to tree through a memory of your favorite park. Try to fully get into the scene and use all five senses. What do the leaves on the trees look like? Is it a windy day or a still and sunny one? What do you smell? Do you hear children playing or birds chirping? Take a look at the flowers on the ground—what color are they? How do they feel between your fingers? By doing this, you’re taking up room in your mind that your brain would otherwise dedicate to racing thoughts.”
Doing these types of exercises when our minds our restless at bedtime can help to not only take the pressure off of falling asleep. Not only are they great distraction techniques, they can also use our imagination to better strengthen our ability to calm ourselves, bringing body and mind more in sync.
To read the full article (she had some other great tips too!): https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-savvy-psychologist/201912/5-tips-calm-restless-mind-going-sleep
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