Lately I’ve noticed several friends and co-workers are having trouble getting to sleep. No matter how tired they may be when going to bed, they can’t seem to relax and get some rest.
There are an infinite number of reasons one cannot sleep and although I cannot possibly address all of them, I do have an easy to implement idea that just may help. Keeping a journal beside your bed is an easy and inexpensive way to help you reach that elusive night’s rest.
I know the word ‘journal’ has a tendency to invoke images of someone eloquently recording profound thoughts and feelings. However, I challenge you to customize what you record to whatever purpose feels right for you.
Remember, no one is reading this except you. You don’t have to use proper grammar, you don’t have to use complete sentences, you don’t have to use words at all.
Writing allows you to gain control over your emotions. If you write down what is bothering you, it aids in detaching from it. You will be able to look at it from a different perspective. Recording it takes away the power of your problem to overwhelm you, because you are taking control of it, therefore, lessening its significance.
Getting stuff out of your head will lower your anxiety and stress. Releasing your worries into your journal allows your thoughts to be expressed, calming your mind and preparing you for a deeper and more restorative sleep.
When you write down your thoughts and feelings you also become more self aware. When you start to riddle out your patterns of behavior, you can then use that awareness to bring about positive changes in your life.
In addition, the more you write, the better you become at communicating your feelings. Improving your ability to relay yourself to others more concisely and clearly.
WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT
You can write (or draw) customized to your needs, wants and comfort level.
Here are several examples of ways to use your journal:
- Set an intention for your day. When you write down a goal for the day, it’s easier to recall when you need it. For example: I’m going to give random compliments to strangers today or I’m not going to overreact to minor things or I’m not going to give into negative thoughts today. Today is going to be great!
- Get the gunk out of your head. When you lay down and your mind is racing, just sit back up and start dumping all that crap out onto a page. Recording it onto paper will calm your mind so you can relax.
- Gratitude journal. Write down three to five things that you are grateful for each day. Doesn’t matter how small, anything that made you smile or you appreciated, write it down. You will then begin to focus more on the good things in your life and less on things that aren’t that great.
- Free your imagination. If you are feeling creative, you can write poems or stories or draw pictures or doodle. Anything that feels right in the moment. Sometimes I wake up with a great idea for a story or a dream I don’t want to forget. With the journal by the bed I can get it recorded quickly.
- Create a to-do list. Get all those naggy things that always seem to pop up when you are trying to go to sleep out of your head. Or make a list of three things you want to get accomplished the next day.
- Soothe your mind. If you are feeling anxious or stressed, start writing about what is bothering you. This is for you, so you don’t have to be politically correct or even polite. Write exactly what you are feeling, no censure. You’ll feel better, I promise.
- Seek an answer. Write down problems that you aren’t sure how to approach. It is amazing what your mind can figure out while you sleep. Eventually you’ll wake up with the answer.
- Self analysis. If something happened during the day and you just can’t seem to let it go, start writing. Go deeper and deeper until you figure out the underlying reason it is bothering you. Almost always it’s not the surface level thing that set you off.
- Food journal. Trying to lose weight or eat a better diet? Record everything eaten during the day, how you were feeling when you ate it and some goals to improve. Analyzing your diet will help you make better choices.
- Get spiritual. If you are a religious person, you can use it as a prayer journal or to get in touch with a higher power. If you believe in the power of using the Universe to manifest things, you can write down what you want or need.
Again, tailor how you use your journal to your own unique needs, interests and issues. Stay with the process for at least a few weeks and I’m sure you start sleeping more soundly.
Busily writing about my lack of control around a bowl of chips,