Imagine this: you’re lying in bed, tired and exhausted. Staring at the clock and counting how many hours left before your alarm goes off. Instead of dozing off back to sleep you continue to keep waking up, keep checking on your clock and eventually get out of bed way earlier than you should’ve. It may seem harmless and is often ignored but it is your body’s way of saying that you are under stress.
Fortunately there are many ways to deal with stress and get your sleep patterns back to where they should be. One such way is through Buddhist meditation or mindfulness meditation. This simple practice helps you step back, focus on the present and recognise some habits that get you off track and further away from your goals, including getting a good night’s sleep.
Mindful meditation is not very complicated to do. Your mind simply needs to focus on the act of meditation itself to bring relaxation, which includes being in the moment, inhaling, exhaling or repeating a certain mantra.
Here’s how to do it.
You are not expected to meditate for an hour, especially if you’re a newbie. After all, “being mindful” can be difficult. Aim for a few seconds of mindfulness at a time then work your way up to a minute, five minutes, ten and so on. Apply this method to your sleep to help relax and quiet your mind. Mindfulness is the same as working on a mental muscle that needs to be strengthened over time.
The good news is mindfulness can be done in almost all of your activities. When you’re at work, stop for a minute and focus on the moment without thinking about what needs to be done or looking to the future. Or when you get a massage, close your eyes and focus on the calming sensation that the massage brings to your body. Being mindful and incorporating it in your daily routine will help your brain refocus and bring it back to the present.
Don’t worry, there is no special diet needed for mindful eating. When you eat mindfully, this means focusing on the now, which is your food. Every time you eat, you are most likely talking to someone or reading a book or working. Try to let go of those things and simply focus on the food you are about to eat. Notice the colour, texture, shape, smell, how it taste and smell and so on. Observing every bite will help you stay in the present and as an added bonus you’ll notice when you’re full sooner so you eat less!
There’s a reason why this saying is so popular. Practice does help you get better and makes everything perfect. And thankfully, you can practice mindfulness whenever and wherever. The more you practice, the better you’ll be able to be mindful, giving you greater ability to use it in more challenging situations, including putting yourself to sleep.
Go on, practice mindfulness meditation and you’ll be surprised with how much it can help in getting you back in dreamland.