Troubles sleeping can be caused by many things in your life. Stress, sickness, conflicts, excessive joys and excitement. Regardless of the reason why you are having trouble sleeping, it can negatively effect your life. In order to function properly and control our impulses we need to get our zzz's! Even I get more irritable and short fused when I haven't been able to sleep properly the night before...let's not even talk about the times when sleep evades me more long-term!! It's scary!
Luckily, those sleepless nights are far and few between for me now. I teach and practise this wonderful little trick called....meditation! Yes, yes, yes, I know, you are thinking "I don't have the time to sit on the floor and chant weird words like some monk." I get this all the time from my clients but guess what?! I can teach you a different way to meditate that'll have you sleeping like a baby (after the newborn, wake up and cry every 4 hours stage)! I promise, just follow these simple instructions:
1. Get into your favorite, comfy, cozy sleeping position.
2. Focus on your toes...the very tips of your toes. Imagine that they are relaxing. All of the negative, stressful energy is leaving your toes and they are now relaxed. Feel the relaxation in every digit. Stay with your toes until you feel that they are completely relaxed.
3. Focus on the arch of your foot. Imagine the same relaxing state. Feel the relaxation creeping up from your toes to the arch of your foot. Sit it the awesome feeling of relaxation of your toes and the arch of your feet for awhile. Enjoy it.
4. Move up your body slowly. Relax every part of your body. This a slow process. Enjoy the state of relaxation of every part that you work through. If you are having a difficult time with intruding thoughts, just push them aside and refocus.
I doubt that you'll even make it past your hips before you are out like a light!!
Why does it work? First of all, our brain doesn't have the capacity to tell the difference between real and imaginary. Just by imagining that you are relaxed, you are sending signals to your brain to relax those parts of your body. If you want a more scientific explanation, look up the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) - a very interesting area of our brains (and extremely important area for anger management, I might add!).
Secondly, by focusing on something as simple as the relaxation of your toes, ankles, legs, etc., you are taking your mind off of the impeding thoughts and stresses that are robbing you of your zzz's.
Now here's the kicker! The more you practise this, the faster you will be able to relax and pass out! I use this technique almost daily and I'm out cold quickly now-a-days! Try it! I promise that you won't be disappointed!
"if you are going to do something, do it right the
I would like to preface this blog post with the acknowledgement that I am a fan of Mr. Holmes. I only use him as an example in my blog post on dysfunctional thinking because of the fact that he is looked up to by many and uses a dysfunctional phrase frequently. As he is a public figure and known to many, it is the perfect example of dysfunctional thinking and anger management. By all means this does not demote him as a caring person or a contractor. I am proud of him as a fellow Canadian!
One of my non-anger management interests is watching home renovation and new house hunting shows on HGTV. I really enjoy learning about D.I.Y projects and seeing different ways to design homes and the decor within. I'm sure this was influenced by my father who was a carpenter, he watched them all the time. One of the main commercials that airs lately is for Mike Holmes, the contractor with the shows Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection.
Within the commercial Mike states that his father has taught him 'if you are going to do something, do it right the first time'. Every time that I see this particular commercial I shutter a little. I just want to tell him (through the screen) 'Mike! This is completely dysfunctional thinking! And you're teaching it to your followers!!!'
Now in reality I know that Mike doesn't want to portray to the world that perfection is best. He has shown throughout the years that he genuinely cares for the families that he helps and only wants the best for them. He means that if you are going to be a trades person to take pride in your work and don't just do it for the money. I question if he even realizes that the phrase that he repeats is dysfunctional and that he is influencing his followers to hold the same dysfunctional thought.
The statement 'if you are going to do something, do it right the first time' assumes errors are not acceptable. It denies the person the personal allowance to make errors and to not demand 'perfection' of them self. Furthermore, it shows that this type of dysfunctional thinking was taught to Mike by his father, which is common in dysfunctional thinking.
Often we learn things from our parents, the media and our cultures and we take them as pure truths. Reality is that just like everyone else, our parents, the media and our cultures make errors and hold dysfunctional thoughts. Often these dysfunctional thoughts are passed down through the generations and we don't even notice it. For some families, striving for the whimsical land of perfection is 'normal' and 'healthy'. I beg to differ!
Many times dysfunctional thoughts are at the
root of our anger problems. Taking the example of the Holmes' motto 'if you are
going to do something, do it right the first time' it shows all-or-nothing thinking, which is when you think in extremes. Things to you are either good or bad, black or white, able or unable, happy or miserable. You fail to see the
broad space in between each instance, the 'grey areas' in life. This type of thinking is responsible for a major portion of criticism, judgements and anger. The person ends up putting unachieveable expectations on them self, their families and everyone around them. This breeds resentment and anger.
In reality, you can try as many times as you need to get things right, it's not necessary to have it right the first time. Also, what is right for one person may not be right for another.
I, of course, understand what Mike Holmes means when he says this. Being in the contracting business errors can quickly cause costly, long-term problems, which he has spent his career fixing. I can't say that I
wouldn't love someone with Mike's capabilities and standards working on my home, but I still struggle with him broadcasting internationally that perfectionism is best. He is an inspiration to so many people and he may not even realise that he is promoting an unhealthy way of thinking to his followers. I only hope that his extremely high standards and perfectionist way of thinking ends with his work and doesn't seep into his personal life.
If you suffer from dysfunctional thoughts in the all-or-nothing category then try to restructure your thought. First, pay attention to your thoughts and the phrases that you use in your day-to-day conversations. When you catch yourself using a dysfunctional phrase or thinking a dysfunctional thought then restructure it into a more healthy thought that work for you!
Using the above motto for example, Mike could instead say:
"I like to take pride in my work and to make sure that my clients have well-built homes. I am going to do my best to make a well-built home for my clients." I know, I know, it's not as catchy as the motto, but it's a much more healthy way of thinking. After all, we can only try our best!
Happy Anniversary Mike! 10 years of creating, helping, and healing is a great accomplishment to be proud of!
I am the founder of The Anger Managers, a clinic that provides court-approved psycho-educational courses and workshops to individuals and corporations