Sunday 18 March 2012


I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. I adore a good sleep, when I am nestled under my duvet with crisp, clean sheets, my room is the perfect temperature and there is no noise or light to bother me. Tearing myself out of my blissful state in the morning is almost always painful and I admit that I have never been a morning person. But what's to hate? Not being able to fall asleep.

I have never been quick to fall asleep and last night is the perfect example of this. Although I was tired, I tossed and turned. My neck and shoulders ached and regardless of how many variations of pillow arrangements that I tried, I couldn't get comfortable. And then it started. The dreaded thoughts in my head. These are the thoughts that always come up in the dead quiet of night. Was I rude to that person when I said that thing? Did I look like an idiot to that client that day? What about my relationship with that friend - do they still like me? I didn't do a good enough job of that report. And on and on and on.

But I had an epiphany! What if I create more quiet time in my daily life? Will this help me sleep better?

OK, it wasn't really my epiphany, per say. It's actually Brene Brown's concept. Brene Brown, PhD, is the author of The Gifts of Imperfection. I recently read an article in the April 2012 issue of HEALTH magazine about positivity. In the article Brown talks about how to have happier thoughts at 3a.m., "What happens at night is the stillness is so uncomfortable that our mind starts racing and we can't shut down." She suggests creating more physical stillness in our days so that our mind doesn't race at night when it gets some quiet time. Examples of this are going for a walk by yourself without any gadgets (that's right - no Blackberry or I phone!) or eating lunch by yourself in a sunny spot. Brown states that once you start cultivating stillness you will feel less anxiety.

Hmmm. Interesting idea, I thought. Kind of makes sense to me. And then I remembered my recent experience on the first day of my two week vacation. Home, sick in bed with the cold that I had been fighting for a week while keeping up a frenetic pace at work, I felt BORED. Bored?! I was sick and it was only day one of my vacation. Yikes! It was a big "aha moment" for me. In the last couple of weeks that I have been back at work, when I get home at night I have been feeling a bit, yes, bored. There it is again. Could it be that I don't know how slow things down? Have I forgotten how to relax, really relax? Yup - pretty much.

For awhile now I have been hearing about the merits of meditation. I have tried it on and off but it has never really stuck. And yet, there are those benefits that I keep hearing about everywhere. A study by Japan's National Institute of Industrial Health of 600 workers who had been taught to mediate found that they had improved emotional stability, showed less anxiety and neurosis, and fewer nagging physical ailments. OK, worth another shot!

So today I tried it. I set my kitchen timer for five minutes and turned on some instrumental music. I sat comfortably, closed my eyes and focused on the music. Yes, it was hard to keep those wandering thoughts from my head but I consciously pushed them away and refocused on the guitar and then on the piano. Wait, what's that sound? Five minutes are up? I'll be frank, I wasn't sure I could sit quietly without doing anything for 5 minutes but I did it.

So my new promise to myself is to create more stillness in my life - each and every day. Goodbye anxiety and hello sweet dreams? I'll let you know.

KB xo

1 comment:

  1. You know I love this blog post. My favorite you tube is Brene Brown's TED talk on Shame. The BEST. That is one wise woman. I've heard her book is great. As for meditation, it is a challenge, but one I think is worth pursuing. :-). I read, try focussing on 81 breaths (in/out=1) for 21 days. I thought that was manageable. Love it KB. XO


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