Over the last three years, I have been creating a lot of change in my life. I have moved countries twice, my daughter has been to three different schools, I have moved house eight times. During some of the busiest times, I have woken up in the early hours and found it very difficult to get back to sleep. Whilst lying awake I realised just how hard it is to calm ourselves sufficiently enough to fall asleep when we have a lot on our minds. I wrote things down, tossed and turned, and still I could feel this vibrating, surging adrenaline in my body.
One morning, my elderly dog, Suzie woke me up so she could go out for a wee. It was about 5.30am. Because of the way our back garden is set up I have to go outside with her on a lead. It was frosty outside. I was stood there in the cold, looking at the sky becoming lighter and wondering if it was worth trying to get back to sleep. When I climbed back into bed, I hugged my arms around myself in an effort to get myself warm. I wasn’t finding it comforting. I was becoming warmer, but after 10 minutes, my adrenaline still felt high. I had anxious thoughts and my mind was racing. Then I had one of those light-bulb moments!
I realised that by hugging myself in a protective foetal position that I was probably increasing the cortisol level in my body.
For years I have been studying how our body language affects our own hormonal balance and how power posing can change our cortisol (stress hormone) levels. I’ve been very inspired by the work of two great women Amy Cuddy and Caron Doyle.
In the blink of a (tired) eye, I raised my HANDS above my head and adopted the open chested power pose position. If you think of a baby sleeping in a very relaxed position, they have their arms lifted, like the image of a pea on a fork!
This position was really helping, so I added a specific thought tool too. I have been using Focussing tools recently to help my clients get a greater perspective on their thoughts. Instead of thinking “I am really worried about not getting enough sleep.” we simply insert a “SOMETHING inside me… “ before that sentence, so it becomes,
“Something inside me is …really worried about not getting enough sleep.” ( or whatever your most pervasive worry is)
Immediately there is a shift in perspective. We don’t push the thought away, we become bigger than it, whilst including it and not pushing it away. In doing so we stop it from overwhelming ALL of our thoughts.
I also have a “NOT NOW” box/file that I have created in my head. It is a where I put my thoughts when I am wishing to hold them safe for later. It’s right next to the “I Don’t Know” box/file too, which is useful for ruminations around worrying what others have said/might say/think or mean. (You will never know absolutely for certain what others are thinking so don’t even waste your head space, pop it in the “I Don’t Know” box/file, those things are not for you to know.) All you can do is concentrate on your own intentions and be aligned to how you wish to communicate, you can do this by being clear with yourself about what and why we are saying stuff and sharing that in the world.
As energetic beings our ENERGY is ours to share however we choose, but we need to replenish ourselves physically too. Now is the time to rest and recuperate, ready for a time in the day when we want to take action- that time is later.
Finally breathing, INHALING deeply and releasing. Breathing deeply sends messages to our brains to calm down. Allow oxygen to fill your lungs and let your body sink into sleep with every exhale.
Now, if you jiggle all of those tips around, the first letters together make a lovely acronym:
Here is my Shine Method; How to sleep
Try this method, share it with friends if it works for you.
Twice I have used it recently after Suzie’s early morning wake up calls, and the next thing I knew was my alarm going off at 7.20am.
Sometimes when I talk this method through with clients I start yawning whilst I demonstrate it. I am even yawning whilst typing this !
Enjoy some great sleep.
Day long workshop in Manchester, Sunday 15th March 2020