I used to not sleep well. In fact, most of my life I don’t think I’ve ever really slept as consistently well as I have for the couple of years.
I would stress and over-think. Sometimes the thinking was useful, cool ideas for creative projects, but most of the time I would worry about the next day ahead, what could possibly go wrong, what wouldn’t go the way I wanted it to, and then recount all the things I wish would have turned out better in life.
Sometimes I would grind my teeth to the point that my jaw would ache. Then my exhaustion would carry into the next day.
And then there’s that feeling like you’ve never slept, even though you clocked the hours? HELL.
That was part of the numerous reasons why I was curious about meditation.
I’d often hear that a person’s mind could be clear. Really? You could consciously control your thoughts, and quiet your worries and stress?
That was the lure.
As soon as I picked up meditation 4 years ago I noticed things shift. Regular practice helped me ‘not think’ for periods of time.
Yes, thoughts still come to mind but they drift away and I’m back in my zone, where -can I quote the LEGO movie right here?- “Everything is awesome!” I had to.
Some may think when you get to that, “Everything is awesome” state you go back to the stress of every day life when the meditation is over. Not really. What I found is that meditation allowed me to respond to the day better, in a more relaxed, logical state.
I curbed worrying before I fell asleep for good when I consulted Tim Sharp (AKA Dr. Happy- now also a regular contributor on this blog) on my anxiety around transition. These issues in many ways were intertwined.
Dr. Happy taught me to allocate a certain time of the day as “worry time”. That way, I trained my brain to not delve into thoughts when my head hit the pillow. I opted for the middle of the day.
I would write all my thoughts down for a few minutes and analyse them. And when I looked at what I had written, I would realise how unhelpful all these worries were. And if there were legitimate concerns I would work out ways to logically find solutions.
Now the habit or clear, logical thinking works on an almost instantaneous basis. No more harbouring worries.
Now my time to sleep is completely mine. As it should be.
Written in: One of my favourite secret cafes in Hollywood
Listening to: General noise and DCUP’s Someone Told Me