It’s 1am. I can’t sleep. Correction. I was sleeping well, until I leapt out of bed to the sound of my 3 year old crying “Wet!”
After sorting out the child, and the bed, I found I couldn’t get back to sleep. So after some futile tossing and turning I decided get up and write this instead. Like you do.
It’s funny the things you notice when you’re thinking “I can’t sleep.”
Like my decongestant wearing off and my sinuses getting heavier with each breath. Like all the things I have on tomorrow that I need to be awake and alert for.
Like my husband snoring. Crikey, is it just me or does snoring seem to get louder and louder as soon as you notice it? Is this what they mean by sound asleep?
Which reminded me of something I teach my clients.
What you notice grows.
The more you notice something, the more there is of it to notice. And that has such an impact on how we experience things.
Take running for example. I started running at the beginning of this year. There have been days when I’ve been motivated and raring to go. And days when I notice my aching calves and feel tired before I’ve even gotten out of bed!
Which of course, directly affects my motivation.
Take a look at this perspective for example:
Compared with this one:
Excuse the badly drawn stickmen!
Notice the difference? Both are arguably as true as each other. With completely different effects. One makes me feel drained just looking at it. The other is stimulating and energising.
Try it yourself. What are you resisting, feeling demotivated about, getting stuck on, or otherwise experiencing in less than helpful ways?
Write it down at the centre of two sheets of paper.
On one sheet, give yourself full permission to rant. Get all the unhelpful words and thoughts you have about this out of your head and onto paper.
On the other sheet, collect and write down all the positive thoughts and helpful words that you associate with this thing.
I find these are most powerful when they come from a place of honesty. So if you want to write ‘easy’, but find that your instant reaction is to scoff at it, because you don’t quite believe that yet, then try adding “What if”, for example “What if it’s easier than I think?” or point it in the right direction e.g. “getting easier”.
The beauty of this exercise is it’s all about what’s going on in your head. Which means you have full control (unlike my husband’s snoring!) So you can choose which one you focus on. Keep it visible, perhaps at the desk where you work, on the fridge or the mirror, or by your bed. Look at it and let the words soak in – before getting started, before you get up in the morning, or even last thing at night. Notice the difference.
As for me, I’d better get back to bed, taking with me thoughts of peaceful rest, deep breaths and hmm… selective hearing I think. Wish me luck! And let me know how you get on in the comments below.