“The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.” Sydney J Harris.
Developing the skill of presence ensures that your brain slows and your nervous system calms.
The activity in our brains is measured in waves called Hertz (or pulses) per second.
Beta – 13 - 30 cycles per second. Busy, thinking, active.
Alpha – 7 - 13 cycles per second. Relaxation, meditation, creativity.
Theta – 4 - 7 cycles per second. Dreaming, meditation, ESP.
Delta – 1.5 - 4 cycles per second. Deep sleep below dream level.
Throughout our awake times we are mostly in beta with dips into alpha. If we keep our brains buzzing all day, it is often a struggle to sleep well at night because as we need to go through every level in order to get a nourishing slumber. If stressed, the starting-off point at bedtime is one of activity instead of one of calm in preparation to drift into a peaceful slumber.
It might be that you are not in the right place mentally if you wish to try something new, different or if you want to relax. Think for a minute about your state of mind. Is it one of inner calm or stress? Excitement or torpor? Balance or all-over-the-show?
There are two hypnotic-type states of mind that occur naturally pre- and post-sleep, namely the hypnagogic and hypnopompic. The first is in the twilight world, where you are just drifting off, and the second is that delicious time as you awaken. Many people have their brilliant ideas and eureka moments in the early hours when everything is resting and there aren’t any intrusions in your brain. This is a time of highly tuned intuition when thoughts and energies flow freely.
However, this time of pleasure can be marred by stress when we awaken with thoughts whirring and internal chatter bombarding our senses. It is no wonder that this is called ‘monkey brain’.
In my clinic and the classes I teach, I have found that the relaxing bit is actually easy once we give ourselves permission to do so, but it is the maintenance of the relaxation that is a bit harder. However, with a little practise, it is attainable for everyone. Separating relaxation from sleep is one of the first steps, but often, if there is a lot of stress, the moment relaxation comes on sleep takes over through escape and relief.
Often, the comments from my clients after our first session are contradictory: ‘I drifted off. I didn’t hear a word you said’. Others say, ‘I didn’t sleep. I heard every word you said’. On further questioning, the ones who thought they had dozed off hadn’t, and the ones who insisted they heard it all didn’t.
We are constantly reminded about the healing powers of meditation but getting started can be a challenge.
What you I think about?
Do I chant?
Can I breathe normally?
Do I need to be mega-bendy?
How do I stop my thoughts intruding?
Minds wander. It’s what they do – nature of the beast and all that – but concentrating hard on preventing that happening can cause anxiety with even more wandering. It is a cycle that can be hard to break if you’re not aware of what is going on. Our minds need action. Even during sleep the mind stays busy by creating stories to occupy those moments in the form of dreams. It really doesn’t like to be told to stop its thinking.
Try now to not think for a few moments, and then do the following: imagine an empty box. Do you have an urge to put something in it or on it? I just tried it and mine was instantly wrapped in pretty paper with a gift inside.
Over the years, I began to think, why not use that mind-wandering ability in our favour? We can do this by flowing through, into and with the spaces or gaps between moments of organised thought rather than battling with them. Your mind is then occupied and focused but in a peaceful, non-threatening, non-challenging way.
When we do not need to worry about being still, stillness is created. It is exactly the same process as when we tell ourselves that we can’t have something, i.e. chocolate or wine. That is all we think about. When we have something in abundance, without the fear of deprivation, the craving dissipates.
Please remember that nothing is just something pretending. The way forward from here is to allow your mind to rest so thoughts can be clear and receptive. Within a short time it will become natural and easy to replicate.
The Power of 3
Ahha, did you think we were going witchy? Another time.
Take a few calming breaths and say to yourself or think of 3 things - as you say or think of each one, take a moment to be with it.
These 3 things can be themed; gratitude, feelings, affirmations, favourite things or something else.
Here are a few to start you off:
I am calm
I am in control
I am peaceful
My family are awesome
Being warm pleases me
Playing makes me happy
Success is mine to enjoy
Positivity flows to me
Trying new things excites me
You really can do this in any way that pleases you. There are no rules. It is all about bringing your focus to the present so extraneous things or feelings can dissipate.
For you love me x
Thank you for being here
I welcome your comments
Your presence here sparks joy ✨