Have you ever had the experience of climbing into bed after a long day and not being able to fall asleep?
There have been many occasions where I have felt the anxiety and stress of the day haunting me before I sleep, instead of my being calm and relaxed, and hitting the reset button before the next day. There are many thought leaders, including Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, and Richard Branson, who practice meditation, and the results look extremely promising.
Science has repeatedly shown the benefits of meditation, which include reduced stress and blood pressure, increased happiness, and even slowed aging!
In early 2013, I started meditation through Heartfulness, a global meditation method that has improved my efficiency and focus, and helped me achieve deep sleep, along with numerous other benefits, with a little bit of practice. I meditate for about 1 hour a day, but my meditation teacher, Kamlesh Patel, taught me three simple tips for deeper sleep in just seven minutes.
In fact, I've been using this same technique to reduce anxiety and stress throughout my day as well.
Here's how it works:
1. Find a comfortable position
My favorite place to sit before sleeping is usually in my bed, upright, with a pillow to help support my back. But during the day, I have a designated meditation chair, the consistency of which helps my mind transition into a meditative state quicker.
For example, isn't it much easier to get into the flow state regarding work if you sit down at the same time and place to write? Similarly, I like to always sit in the same chair for meditation.
Just relax. I prefer sitting cross-legged with my hands and legs drawn in.
2. Play the Relaxation
The Relaxation is a simple document you can download to your phone and memorize, or you can listen to the YouTube video. My suggestion is to download the seven-minute video to your phone so you can have it whenever you are feeling stressed.
All you have to do is play the video and follow the prompts. This may seem rudimentary at first, but it's a part of the process. It's important to keep the attention in the heart and try not to think about what happened in the day or other external circumstances.
3. Meditate for a few minutes
Closing your eyes and following prompts isn't hard to do, but what becomes challenging is meditating for a few minutes after the video has been completed. Imagine that there is a light filling your heart and expanding to capture your attention.
As you focus on the subtle idea of lightness in your heart, you will begin to feel a vibration and energy descending into you. The meditation is an extremely important time for you to connect internally and start relaxing.
I have been practicing meditation through Heartfulness for almost three years now, and I can say the results have changed my life for the better. The Heartfulness Institute offers free classes and workshops across the world.
In the coming weeks, there will be a Heartfulness conference in Detroit (June 4th), Los Angeles (June 12th), and New Jersey (June 25th), with speakers such as the chief evangelist of Google, Gopi Kallayil, comedian Kyle Cease, and New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein.
What techniques do you use to relax before sleeping?