Welcome to Mindful Monday! I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to. Each week I try to self-discover new things about myself. This week I want to talk about mindful breathing and how it can lead to mindful sleep.
Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? A couple of years ago I realized that if I laid in bed and watched television before I went to sleep, I did not sleep well. I tossed and turned and felt like my mind was over stimulated. Over the counter sleep remedies did not help, they just made it worse. Finally, I turned off the television. I read a book instead and found that my sleep patterns were much more regular. In no time at all, I was feeling better and performed better at work and home.
There is concrete evidence to support the fact that the light emitted from electronic devices does interfere with sleep patterns. Heather Hatfield, of WEBMD magazine, has written an article called, “Power Down for Better Sleep.”
Hatfield reports, “As your brain revs up, its electrical activity increases and neurons start to race — the exact opposite of what should be happening before sleep. A second reason has to do with your body: The physical act of responding to a video game or even an email makes your body tense, explains Rosekind. As you get stressed, your body can go into a “fight or flight” response, and as a result, cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland, is released, creating a situation hardly conducive to sleep.”
Interestingly, I have found that I can read a Kindle at night without experiencing any of the sleep issues I had while watching television. I believe it has to do with the extremely low light that is emitted from my device. I also think it has to do with the act of reading itself. I am not a medical expert, so make sure to talk to your doctor if you are having sleep issues.
I have found another routine that works for me in the falling asleep department. That is mindful breathing. Through practice, I have been able to control my breathing patterns to help my body relax just by concentrating on my breathing. I slow down my heart rate this way too. Never underestimate the power you have over your own body.
The Buddhist Center has an excellent tutorial to help you learn how to do mindful breathing if you are interested in that aspect. In addition, I also found information on the 4, 7, 8, Breathing Technique that Dr. Weil teaches.
“Dr. Weil recommends three breathing exercises to help relax and reduce stress: The Stimulating Breath, The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (also called the Relaxing Breath), and Breath Counting. Try each and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels.” If you visit the link here you will learn how to do the steps. There is a video included for each step to make learning the technique easier.
I do something close to Dr. Weil’s recommendations by slowing down my breathing and counting. I love the cleansing breath and find that helps to lead me into the quietness I need for meditation. It is about controlling your breathing and thoughts. If you can do that you will find great benefit in stress reduction. I actually learned this technique when I was a bookkeeper for an accounting firm during tax season! Believe me, the stress was unbearable and this really helped.
Image credit: Guard Your Health
My mindful goal for this week is to get back into my correct pattern of eating and exercising. I had fun on vacation, although I overstepped my bounds. Now I have to correct my behavior. I am journaling my meals and keeping track of my fluid consumption. My goal is to walk two miles each morning to sweat all the fat out of me. Yes, it’s just a plan. I know if I stick to it I will feel better and become healthy again. Moral of Vacation – Don’t cheat!
Remember, this is not a challenge. This is an offering of support. If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making. If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary. My main objective here is to give and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in my life.
Thank you for all the fabulous blog posts I am seeing in our WordPress community about mindfulness. It is a joy to see so many of you sharing your mindful goals. Thank you for enriching my life with your experiences, and thank you so much for joining me in my pursuit of becoming more mindful.
In fact, I would like to have Mindful Monday guest posts appear on Silver Threading on the first Monday of each month. Your post submission would have to talk about mindfulness and how it affects you and your family. I would need your submission a week before publication. If you are interested, please email me at email@example.com. Thanks!