Monday, April 07, 2008

An Easy Practice for Better Sleep

Several years ago, I made a discovery. I realized that when I was sleeping, I was doing so with my hands closed in fists. I can't even remember how I made this discovery, but I remember when I first started to open my hands when I slept.

When you get ready to go to sleep, simply try opening your hands and resting them on a pillow or blanket. See if it has the same effect on you as it did on me. Whenever I do this, to this very day, I feel an instant sense of relaxation and letting go. It's as though the closed fist is a sign of the tension that I'm carrying to bed with me. By simply opening my hands, I'm literally letting it go. A sense of relaxation and release comes over me and I swear that it actually helps me go to sleep!

Simple rituals like this can really help us in training ourselves to release and let go of our tension and our stress. I like to take a few deep breaths when I open my hands at night to enhance the effect.

It is interesting that sometimes I have to open my hands more than one time. They creep back into the closed state. It is a habit. As I've practiced this over the last many years I have noticed that I have improved and usually only need to do it once per night. If I'm especially stressed about something, it might be necessary to unclench my fists more than once. It is a process, so don't be surprised that if when you first begin the practice you must do it multiple times per night. As you train your mind and body to relax in preparation for sleeping, this will become more automatic, and your body will only need an occasional reminder.

Learning to handle and release our stress and tension is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. It improves not only our mental and emotional well being, but our physical health as well!

Relax those hands!!

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