I couldn’t sleep last night (well actually, I managed to get a few hours in after tossing and turning for what seemed like an eternity). I couldn’t sleep because my mind was preoccupied (well actually, racing) with how to handle a few things that are going on in my life.
This used to be a recipe for disaster because the lack of sleep and restlessness would affect the following day and this would carry on for several days. In order to reverse this damaging trend, I’ve focused on three practices to manage my emotions and thought process when they goes into overdrive.
- 72-Hour Rule: This is an incredibly valuable rule to adhere to because emotion clouds judgement and impairs action. The ability to withstand that initial urge for a knee-jerk reaction and allow time to do its work is often the right remedy. Drake, in an interview with Zane Lowe, talks about this exact concept:
“My mom has this thing called the 72-hour rule. It happened years and years and years ago, the first time I ever had…it was just when the culture of the Internet, like the blog gossip culture, was happening, and they edited some picture of me and my cousin.
I was like, Oh, this is it! Everyone is going to believe this, look at the edit. It was crazy, something crazy. My mom said to me, ‘You know what, you’ll go to sleep tonight, you’ll wake up and it’ll still bother you. Then you’ll go to sleep again and you’ll wake up and it’ll bother you a little less. And then on the third day you’ll wake up and someone else will have done something stupid enough that everyone will forget.’
That’s the 72-hour rule. I’ve learned to control my emotions for those first two or three days. That’s why I don’t run to social media and start yapping about my anger or my frustration, I let it sit, and it always goes away.”
- Meditate: As I laid in bed with my thoughts racing, I noticed that my breath started to accelerate as if I was under some type of physical activity. I have never noticed this before, and I attribute this awareness to my meditation practice. I’m much more conscious of my breath and breathing patterns. As a result, I got up and did a 5 min. meditation to bring my breath back under control. Ultimately, this calmed my mind and allowed me to fall asleep a little while later.
- Work out: Even though I slept only a few hours, I woke up and went to the gym. While a lack of sleep normally contributes to a sluggish workout, I felt rejuvenated to just be in the gym, which I consider my sanctuary. I didn’t even think about how tired I was, and I powered through a great workout with a friend. Afterwards, the release of endorphins had done wonders for easing my mind.
Do you ever get restless at night? What works for you to ease your mind? I’d love to hear from you.