I’ve been experimenting with rest. Sounds like an easy thing to do – right? All I need to do is to lay down in my nice soft bed, cover myself with my duvet and … sleep! But hold on – isn’t this just about the body? What about the mind and all those thoughts scurrying back and forth inside my head – what can I do to make them rest?
Have you ever had yourself a really hard day, one of those where nothing seems to go right? And then when evening comes and you lay down for some well-earned zzzs – you are unable to sleep? What is happening there?
It could be one or more of several things, but a common cause of sleepless nights is thoughts that just refuse to stop coming. Worries about tomorrow; conflicts from the day gone by; and thoughts about twitchy legs, lumpy pillows or snoring partners are just some of the things that can conspire to keep us awake.
Here’s something to try. Before you lay down to sleep, sit for a few minutes with a pen and paper then jot down any and every thought that comes into y0ur mind. This could take any form, such as a to-do list for the next day, a short rant about the things that have gone by, or a long essay on the good things that happened during that day. Whatever you feel like writing is what you should write.
Then put down your paper and pen, and check on the state of you mind. You will generally find that there are not as many thoughts left in there. It’s as if they were all shouting out to be heard, but once you acknowledged them, by writing them down, they could just settle down and have a rest.
Next, just sit quietly and think deliberately of something repetitive and calming. Sheep are a good example of this – particularly if they are jumping over a gate. Maybe consider counting them?
After a short while, try moving onto and into the bed. Lay down and see how you go on.
By moving through this exercise, you may well realise that rest is not so much about your body, but what you are doing with your mind. Rest your mind and your body will automatically follow suit.
What’s your favourite way of resting your mind?