One of my favorite life hacks is expressing gratitude.
For the first 25 years of my life I had difficulty falling asleep. I’d be laying there… waiting…waiting… and waiting…in the dark. I was so tired, yet I couldn’t fall asleep. I’d wonder, how long will this take? Will I be rested in the morning? When will I fall asleep? Why can’t I fall asleep like a normal person? Is this normal?!
12 years ago I decided to start listing what I was grateful for before bed. I had heard in the movie the Secret, that you could carry a rock in your pocket and every time you touched it, you could say something that you were grateful for, so I started doing that during the day. It felt great and was like my secret game. No one knew I had a tiny rock in my pocket and as I touched it throughout the day and said what I was grateful for, it felt like I was getting a gift! It turns out, I was receiving a gift! I was boosting my dopamine!
I decided that if saying what I was grateful for helped me during the day, maybe I should try it at night. It turns out that was a great decision! I started saying (silently to myself) what I was grateful for and it magically worked. In a matter of a few nights, I was falling asleep in minutes rather than hours. It was life changing!
I was so in love with this process that I would do it religiously every night. I remember, about a month into this process, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized I’d forgotten to say what I was thankful for and panicked! I wondered, had I broken the spell or magic?! Would it take forever for me to fall asleep again? I quickly realized that I was already asleep and that I hadn’t broken any spell or magic and that I could easily say what I was grateful for in the morning. Then I realized I started the practice of gratitude to help me fall asleep and I was already asleep! How wonderful! I had cured myself! LOL
Since then, there has been some research that has come out on the benefits of gratitude. You can find that here. I think it is truly something that everyone should do if they are looking to change their life in a more positive way.
Here’s why I think it worked for me and it could work for you too! When we are trying to fall asleep we need to be in receiving mode. You cannot go out and grab, get, or force sleep. You need to become sleep. Sleep needs to beget you. ;) I believe that if you are in fight or flight mode you will not be able to sleep. You are the opposite of sleep. You are ready to, well, fight or flee. In that state you are worried about your safety, protecting your organs, etc. It is not the time for sleep (biologically speaking)!
When you say what you are grateful for, you begin to think of all the ways that you are supported in this life (and not about being attacked or needing to protect yourself). You begin to think of all the things you have. You begin to think/feel life isn’t so bad. You begin to energetically soften. You start to open up (and stop protecting your organs). You realize you’re going to be ok. You relax. You breathe more deeply. I believe this magical combination puts you into receiving mode where sleep can be received. It’s really that simple.
For the last 12 years I’ve continued to practice gratitude. As the years went on, I’ve had more and more to be grateful for. This has a lot to do with the Law of Attraction and our Reticular Activating system. You can read more about that here and here in my other blogs. And if you want to buy a sweet gratitude journal, click here. I love mine!