Over the years, I have struggled heavily with troubled sleep. My mind would be whirling, thinking of all the things I needed to do the next day, or what I had occupied my time with earlier that day.
During my time in landscaping, I would arrive home, shower, eat, and crash with exhaustion, only to dream about my job, waking up with a frantic fear that I had missed my alarm, or had missed a job assignment. When it was time for me to go to work again, I was exhausted. My sleep was restless at best.
I assume that this is not an anomaly, but rather I think that this is a common problem. We have gotten caught in the rat race, and it occupies our minds to the point of obsession. We have forgotten to enjoy the time we have. We have forgotten about sunshine and warm breezes, trickling waterfalls, and the singing of birds. We have forgotten to be “in the moment,” to feel our surroundings, and take in the beauty of the world around us. This is normal. We are in survival mode, but it is also our job to reconnect with our true selves in order to maintain our health, both mental and physical.
Think about the incredible tool nature can be to our well-being. The sounds of nature are soothing, beautiful, almost as if they are only meant to calm us. The sounds of nature could just as easily be annoying and harsh to our ears, but instead, they work perfectly in time with our brain to reset, relax, and rejuvenate us. It’s almost like it was meant for exactly that. The best anti-depressant is not a pill, but rather a long hike through the forest, a swim in the brook, or a session of sunbathing.
Obviously, this can be difficult to do when you come home from a long day at work and the sun has already sunk below the horizon. But don’t let imaginary limitations hold you back. Remember, you are in survival mode, and you are attempting to escape it. The sun is gone? The song of the crickets aren’t gone. The forest with its millions of sounds is not gone. The chorus of bullfrogs in the marsh is not gone. Let your limitations go. Breathe deeply, look around you. Focus on the beauty of the moment. Do this as many times as you can throughout the week.
At this point, many people tell me, “But I have work the next day! I don’t have time for that! I need my rest.” Remember, we are having this conversation because of your lack of peace when you attempt to sleep. An hour of peaceful sleep is more useful than four hours of restless tossing and turning, don’t you agree? Then let’s have this conversation. Let’s open our minds to the possibilities we have.
The key to a powerful, peaceful sleep is a calm mind. A centered mind. But also, an inspired mind. Often that comes from focusing on things that we love. For some people that is God. For some it is success. For others it is personal development and the goals they have set for themselves. For most people, it is a combination of many things culminating in a grand end goal. And always, there are books to reflect your passions and your desires. Books full of knowledge on the subject you are most inspired by. So pick up that book, grease the wheels of your mind, focus on the things you are passionate about, so that when you fall asleep, your mind is centered in pleasant things.
The third (and arguably most effective) method of gaining peace of mind is praying and/or meditating aloud. Audibly affirming your beliefs, admitting to your faults, expressing your emotions, reviewing the day and seeing where you can improve is a very valuable exercise that centers your mind on the next day’s task and draws the mind away from the past day. Do this every night and you will fall asleep effectively and comfortably.
Mental care is not the end of it, however. If you simply focus on your mental state, but your physical state and your world around you is in shambles, you will not make progress. That is a guarantee. Make a routine for your days. Keep your home clean and organized. Write down your routine and stick to it. Did you forget to set your alarm? Write it down with your evening routine. Forgot to change the dogs water? Add it to your routine. Forgot to lock the door, add it to your routine.
The basic principle to understand in life is “balance.” Balance is not a set truth. Everyone’s balance is different. If we are so passionate about what we do that we cannot and do not want to sleep, but simply out of necessity sleep three hours a night, and we have peace in that, we have found our balance. Balance is simply managing what we do not want to do so that we can do more of what we want to do. Find your balance and you will find your peace of mind as well.