5 Steps to calm a busy mind to find deeper relaxation within
When we want to calm a busy mind to find deep relaxation, it's essential to look at the full picture and therefore at our whole selves, body and mind, a 360-degree approach. Especially in the busy world, when often we move from one task to another without purposefully making room for or taking time for ourselves. Our thoughts become a dominant force, which often leads to exhaustion and fatigue and not to efficiency and clarity.
We speak with an embodied sleep specialist, Kate Armitage, who is a regular workshop leader for @wesleepuk and is passionate about connecting us with our bodies for a full wholeness approach to better sleep and less stress. Here are the five steps on how you can start to integrate these practices more and more into our daily lives:
1. Relaxation practice - in the morning, lunchtime or the afternoon, whenever you can. You don't have to be experienced yogis or meditators. The regular exercise of eyes closed, feet supported by the floor and merely noticing the rise and fall of the belly, deep, rhythmical diaphragmatic breaths is a beautiful place to start. You can use music or stay in silence if you prefer. Do it with an app or use your intuition or experiment to guide you, whatever works best for you, take that approach. Your way of doing it is unique to you! If they've forgotten how you can retrain your bodies on how to relax. It might take a while if we're a bit out of practice or we've undergone an extended period of stress but coming back to the body is the best place.
2. Flow - get curious about what activity absorbs you, that you can lose yourself in, that maybe you've forgotten about: paint, draw, make, move, sing, learn, dust off and play that instrument or simply take your gaze off out of the window, ready to lose track of space and time. We suggest locking the phone and removing any distractions that would block your natural flow.
3. Sensations- we are multi-sensory beings. When thoughts are leading you, lead with your body and curiosity instead: mindfully notice texture on your skin, the feel of your slippers, pyjamas, dressing gown, the sinking feeling into the sofa, warmth, cosiness or the smell of essential oil and come back into your body. Notice what's around you.
4. Writing - don't take any worries into the evening with you; they certainly don't need to go to bed with you, so write them down. Writing gives us space to reflect on whatever is going on inside. Writing down our most pressing thoughts and worries each day has a similar effect to talking to someone about them, you're giving yourself the chance to process your thoughts and feelings, and to express them in a safe, private space.
5. Rituals and routines - the body loves routine, especially towards the wind down to bed. For example, you can give yourself time for a night time meditation, a skincare ritual, soak in a warm bath or read a chapter before bed, these rituals signifies to your body and mind its time to unwind and relax.
Commit to today, and ask yourself what small change or tweak could you make today that you could do either during this time or at another point in the day?
If you would like to learn more about experiential relaxation techniques and how to improve your sleep. Join embodied sleep specialist, Kata Armitage on 7th November 2020, at The Cherry Moon London for a unique Sleep & Wellbeing event: Full details and tickets available here.