SIX-STEP SLEEPY-HEAD RELAXATION PROCESS.
Sometimes you're just all wound-up, tense, upset and/or agitated and you've really got to work to get anywhere NEAR a workable sleepiness. This segment is for that. It's a tried-and-true process that, if you really do each step, will help you get to sleep - tonight - really - (well, we hope...).
STEP ONE - SET THE STAGE....
Go to our segment on Edible and Drinkable Remedies and choose something you would like to eat or drink that's calming - like herb tea with honey or a glass of warm milk or a banana shake or a valerian pill or over-the-counter medication - or a combination of these. The idea is to get something into your system that has a calming effect on your body, on your chemistry, on your brain, while you work on the relaxation elements.
[Don't skip this step. It's very important.]
You also might take a nice, warm bath - with some specially relaxing fragrance in it - like lavender. In other words, you want to get yourself "set" as much as possible, physically.
Take out a piece of paper and a pencil or pen (ok - your computer) and make a list of every single thing you can think of that is upsetting you now or annoying you or could possibly be upsetting or annoying you.
Even tiny things - like you forgot to put the window screens in place and now there's a mosquito in the room.
Or bigger things - like your spouse did something that really annoyed you - or someone at work did something that really messes you up - or you're dealing with an impossible situation, maybe serious illness, in either yourself or a loved one - or financial troubles - or marital discord.
Whatever it is, write every upsetting thing down. When you've finished - add one more thing - maybe something more hidden - something you weren't aware of - but now that you think of it, has bigger repercussions. Look for the hidden upset in something that happened only today or maybe yesterday - something recent.
Make a list of things you can do that will help resolve each of these upsetting situations or problems - or, if there's nothing you can do about it - such as with serious illness - make a list of coping mechanisms for handling the problem, the aggravation, the upset - or lessening its impact on your life - or simply giving yourself as much comfort as possible.
Now pick at least one thing from your list that you can do either right now, if possible, or tomorrow - and resolve to do that - to go into action to help lessen your upset. For instance, one coping mechanism you can do right now is to make a list of things to start doing in the morning to cope with your problems.
You'll feel better - calmer - once you've organized the actions you're going to take to help yourself, into a list - because you'll sense that you've got your situation under better control.
Or, you could start doing one of your tasks right now. For instance, if one item on your list is to make several phone calls in the morning, start writing down - now - the phone numbers you'll need to make those calls. If you need to look up some numbers, start now by getting out the phone book and looking them up so you'll be ready to go into action come morning.
Or, if one of your coping actions is to write some letters, you might start writing the first letter now.
You'll feel better once you've got just one of them done - or even just started.
If someone has upset you by something he or she said or did, and that's what's keeping you awake, a good way to deal with that upset is to write a letter to that person now and describe exactly how they've upset you. Be as straight forward as possible - blunt, even - mince no words - say it, no holds barred, as forcefully as you feel it. You can do this with impunity because you must also resolve - right here and now - to tear up and throw away that letter in the morning, no matter how truthful it is.
If there are certain things you've said in your letter that would be constructive to say, you will re-write the letter in the morning - in a more measured and mature, restrained and helpful form. But for now, you're going to get all the hurt and pain and poison out of your system - by writing it down as bluntly as possible.
Once you've done this - gotten the upset - or the poison - out of your system - really gotten it out there - on paper - no holds barred - take the piece of paper and fold it up and put it into an envelope. And as you do this say to yourself, "I hereby put away this problem for the night. I have done what I can to resolve my problem for the time being and now I put it away. I will deal with it again in the morning - but not before."
You might even add, "Nighty-night troubles, I'm going to sleep now..." as you walk away from that envelope.
[If you haven't had your milk and cookies yet (or herb tea, or banana shake) and/or you haven't had your nice warm, aromatherapy bath yet - this is a good time to do that.]
Get back into bed and prepare to go into a relaxation mode. You do this by lying on the bed, on your back, so you're in a nice straight line - not rigid - very relaxed - hands resting by your side. Then, take a good deep breath through your nose - nice and deep - deeper than that - and gently blow the air out your pursed lips - very slowly - long and drawn out - and do it again - take a deep long breath through your mouth - deeper - and slowly let the air out your pursed lips - and do it one more time - a good deep breath - and let it out slowly through your lips.
Then, still lying on your back, in a straight line, your hands gently at your side, you're going to relax each muscle group in your body. Start by focusing on the muscles in your feet - first tense up the muscles in your feet - hold it for a moment - then release it and feel those muscles relax...
Move on up your legs - tense up the muscles in your legs - hold a moment - then release and feel the muscles relax - then your thighs, your buttocks, your stomach, chest, arms, chest and neck - slowly working your way up your body - tensing, holding and releasing every group of muscles as you come to it - your chin, your face - til you get to the top of your head....
Then go back down to your feet again and work your way up one more time - muscle group by muscle group - ‘til you feel essentially like melted butter.
Still lying down, with your eyes gently closed, draw your focus towards the bridge of your nose - and give yourself a soothing self-talk, saying something to the effect of,
"I now allow myself to relax through and through -
I have tucked away my problems for the night and now I give myself permission to sleep -
I hereby give myself permission to fall into a deep and satisfying sleep -
I have taken care of my personal issues for the moment -
And now I give myself full permission to fully sleep....
I, (add your name here), hereby give myself permission to fall into a deep and satisfying sleep....
Keep repeating variations of this sentence or thought - until your mind takes off in another direction and you get the urge to turn into your usual sleep position....
If your mind starts thinking of something upsetting, tell those thoughts to go away. Talk to them - those unpleasant thoughts - as though they were living objects (as they are, in a way). Tell them you've tucked away your problems for the night and you don't want to be disturbed by unpleasant thoughts. You can even say "STOP. Go away problems - I have tucked you away for the night - I'll deal with you in the morning - but for now I need you to go away and leave me alone so I can get some rest!..."
If you haven't adequately gotten your problems and their potential resolutions or coping actions out on paper, you may have to get out of bed and do some more work on your list - maybe you didn't cover everything truly upsetting to you. If not, you've got to re-work your list ‘til you've gotten all the upset and poison out of your system - then get back into bed - lie on your back - do your relaxation exercise over again - from your feet up to the top of your head - muscle group by muscle group - twice over - and then, again, you're going to say to yourself, "I have tucked my problems away for the night and now give myself permission to fall into a deep and satisfying sleep..." - over and over again - with variations - until your mind wanders toward sleep imagery and you get the desire to turn into your normal sleep position....
At that point you may want to turn to some other form of gentle activity, such as reading a good book or watching a good movie on tv - to distract yourself and lull your into further relaxation.
HERE'S A FINAL STEP THAT MIGHT HELP YOU MORE - USING VISUALIZATION.
Sometimes you've got to prime the pump and get yourself started on a sleep-like, dream-like path. That's what visualizations can do.
TO START: Get into bed and prepare to go into a relaxation mode. You do this by lying on your back on the bed (or on the floor - or even sitting in a comfortable chair) so you're in a nice straight line - not rigid - very relaxed - hands resting by your side. Then...
Take a deep, deep breath through your nose. Deeeeep - and slow - and release it slowly through your pursed lips - like blowing a kiss - all the way out...
Once more - another deep, deep breath - in through your nose - count up to 8 - fill your lungs all the way to the bottom - and very slowly, very gently - out through your pursed lips as you count down from 8...
Close your eyes, relax your muscles and allow the tension to leave your body.
And one more deeeeep breath - in through your nose - and - blow kiss - out slowly and gently through your pursed lips. And relax your muscles - all over - every muscle - just relaaaax - like butter - like crusty, old snow melting on a warm, sunny day - from the tip of your head to the tip of your toes.
Feel a bit better? We hope so.
Now we're ready for - STEP TWO.
Still lying on your back, in a straight line, your hands gently at your side, you're going to relax each muscle group in your body. Start by focusing on the muscles in your feet - first tense up the muscles in your feet - hold it for a moment - then release it and feel those muscles relax - move on up your legs - tense up the muscles in your legs - hold a moment - then release and feel the muscles relax - then your thighs, your buttocks, your stomach, chest, arms, chest and neck - slowly working your way up your body - tensing, holding and releasing every group of muscles as you come to it - your chin, your face - til you get to the top of your head....Then go back down to your feet again and work your way up one more time - muscle group by muscle group - ‘til you feel essentially like melted butter.
STEP THREE: INSERT VISUALIZATION
HERE IS A VISUALIZATION TO GET YOU STARTED...
[Adapted from Teach Yourself VISUALIZATIONS by Pauline Wills - A Teach Yourself Book from NTC Publishing. 1994 Chicago.]
Quiet your mind and relax your body. It is evening. The last rays of the sun have sunk behind the hills, leaving the world wrapped in its dark cloak of night. The birds have returned to the trees; heads tucked into their wings, they dream of what the day has brought them. Animals bed down in their stalls or curl up in their baskets. All is quiet but the soft call of the night owl - whoooooo, whooooooo...
The flowers have folded their petals, the warmth and radiance of the sun a mere memory. All is quiet and still.In this stillness reflect upon the day that has passed - its triumphs and joys; its mishaps and sorrows. Take from it all that it has taught you and be grateful. Discard your negative thoughts.Discard all that you no longer need. Discard what should no longer be part of your life. Reflect upon the center of your soul. Enter the place that houses your true, higher self. Allow a pale magenta light to fill this space. Let this pale magenta light enable you to let go of all that you no longer need to keep in your life. Fill the void that is left with pure spiritual love. Allow this love to emanate out from your heart and to fill every cell in your body. Extend it further, into the hearts of your loved ones, friends and family. Ask that this love and peace reach those places where there is tension, strife, disharmony and war. Now place a beautiful blue cloak around your shoulders. Place its hood on your head and fasten it down the front. Visualize your center being closed and locked securely for the night. Wrapped in your mantle of peace and security, close your eyes and go to sleep so that your body may be re-energized in readiness for the dawn of a new day.
Good night. Sweet dreams to you...
This concludes the iSleepless Six-Step Sleepyhead Relaxation Program.
If you have been up for a while now and it's late, too late to get a good night's sleep, we offer some TECHNIQUES to help you get through the day when you feel wretched from sleep deprivation.
Or you may want to go to our segment on SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP. Or, our segment on USING PRAYER TO HELP. Or check out our AFFIRMATIONS To Calm You Down segment. Or BEDTIME STORIES, POEMS & LULLABIES to soothe you and make you ready for sleep.
Good night and Sweet Dreams...
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