An Effective Technique To Help You Calm Down and Sleep
No, I am not a therapist, psychologist or self-help guru. I am, however, a successful graduate of the school of life, which, at age 51, includes everything from a failed marriage, many 12 Step Program meetings, years of therapy, dating disasters, raising a child, finishing college, publishing a story, dreary jobs, reading everything by life coach Martha Beck, surviving excruciating self-revelations, and finally arriving at a place where I have everything I longed for. A beautiful home, loving husband, nice job, and some good, good friends. And cats…of course, cats.
One thing I still struggle with, however, is worrying at night when I should be sleeping. You might even say that I panic. It’s almost like I find something to worry about, as if global warming, political and religious extremists, financial disasters, thumping music coming from my neighbor’s car, and of course, my cat’s latest rash weren’t enough. Still, worrying really doesn’t solve anything. I know this, yet I hold my frets with the obsessive strangle-hold of a wolf pouncing on fresh prey. Recently, after a hair-raising day of watching my 19-month-old grandson and another night of little sleep, I began to think a little harder about the situation. I realized that many successful people I know actually have a lot more going on in their lives than I do. One person in particular has several children, pets, a large house, and is a successful writer. It occurred to me that she must have the same worries and concerns that I do, yet she is not stifled by them; in fact, she thrives despite them. Hummmm.
And then it happened. My strangle-hold on my worries began to loosen. I realized there is no possible way for any one person to solve every problem in their life. I don’t have to diagnose my cat’s mange, figure out how to pave the driveway without paying for it, or steer the politics of the world in a peaceful direction. All I have to do is go forward in my life and do what I want to do to live this moment. I can let go of trying to solve problems, and enjoy the single moment I am living now. That is what my successful friend was doing. She was doing a lot, but she was not consumed with solving problems in the background or beyond her capabilities. The irony is that by not worrying about problems, real ways to solve them magically appear. We make more money because we are calm, engaged in our work, and joyful about life. We can envision creative solutions to problems because we have changed our focus away from what we can do to solve problems to what we can do to express ourselves and fill our time with rewarding activities. And, amazingly, in this universe that is exactly what attracts the very opportunities we need to solve real problems in our lives that once worried us. I knew these things, because deciding to embrace the conditions of my life, in it’s various stages, is how I found my job, house, and husband, to name a few. But I needed to learn it again, on a deeper level.
A few days later, while casually looked through a fashion magazine, feeling calm and happy, I found this gem of a relaxation technique: The Navy Seals’ calming exercise 4 x 4 x 4. Breathe in while counting to 4, breathe out while counting to 4, for 4 minutes. I tried it at night, and by gum, it worked.
And so, my friends, I hope I leave you now a little calmer and wiser… a little more at peace with your lives and hopeful for a rewarding future. I know I feel that way now, and wouldn’t you know it, my cat’s rash has gone away by itself too.