We all know that having a good night sleep is fundamental to our sense of well-being and good health. There is much that we can do to improve the length and quality of our sleep. Here are 16 strategies that have been proven to be helpful.
Rather than living in our head, immersing oneself in bad news or sinking into obsessive analysis or beating our self up with self-criticism, we can “step out of thought” to give our self a break and practice mindfulness. That is taking a mental step back from unhelpful thoughts where we mentally create a space between us and our thoughts, becoming a fly on the wall, watching our self having the experience like in a movie, seeing our self as the "experiencer". In this way, we reduce the sting of the thoughts, ease the emotions and gain perspectives.
When we make the decision to meditate, one thing is sure: our mind is going to wander! We are not doing it wrong! This is just the way our mind is! When we focus on a routine task… the mind will wander and where it goes is really interesting! Watching our mind wandering, noticing, labelling the content of the mind wandering helps us to get to know our mind better so we can take more control over the direction it takes.
Mindfulness is a general term that we use for awareness. It is the activity of our mind when we are intentionally paying attention in the present moment with curiosity and kindness in an accepting and non-judgmental way. The negative judgments add layers of suffering to our experiences. We gain more ease as we learn to step back, to realize that we are more than our thoughts, emotions or body sensations.
Breathing is essential to our existence! But not all breaths are the same! In times of stress, the way we breathe can make the difference between being overwhelmed or regaining our balance. Breathing intentionally, eases the stress response, to enable us to re-gain clarity and to cultivate resilience.
Mindful Self-Compassion is the essence of emotional healing. It is the art of supporting ourselves like a good friend. So as we become aware in the moment that we are struggling, we can begin to respond to ourselves with kindness and wisdom to promote ease, more well-being and better relationships in our lives.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy(ACT) is a validated and empirically proven psychological intervention that promotes acceptance and mindfulness as well as commitment strategies to increase psychological strengths and flexibility. This model was initially developed in the late 1980’s by Steven Hayes, Kelly Wilson and Kirk Strosahl. They propose that life is not necessarily about happiness but rather to be present with what is there, and then act in a way that is guided by our personal core values.
Our mind never stops, it chatters all day and all night, often in automatic. We can give our mind a break from the constant chatter by practising mindfulness: by becoming present, experiencing the here and now, being aware, using our senses, breathing, accepting, appreciating what is around us. And in those moments of self-awareness, we have the opportunity to re-wire our brain, to choose to think differently, to change our brain, to change our mind. Here is how practising mindfulness and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can work together to gain more balance and clarity.
The diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome(AS) has been revised in the DSM-V(2013) to represents a new, more accurate medically and scientifically useful way of diagnosing individuals with autism-related disorders. Asperger’s Syndrome has been re-classified in the Autism Spectrum Disorder, more specifically on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum, however, the term Asperger’s Syndrome is still widely used. Individual with Asperger’s Syndrome or as they called themselves “Aspies”, typically, have social difficulties, poor communication skills, restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour and a narrow field of interest.
Compassion-Focused Therapy (Compassionate Mind Training) promotes inner experiences of understanding, safety, warmth and comfort which in turn will reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that we can learn to be kinder to ourselves and to replace the harsh inner critic with a compassionate voice to ease difficult emotions, to build inner resources, strengths and motivation. It has been found that people who rate higher in self-compassion experiences more positive emotions, more well-being, more confidence, while having a better quality of life and more satisfying relationships.
A few years ago “Mindfulness” was mostly unknown or called “alternative” but there has been extensive research in neuroscience which increasingly is showing that mindfulness practices helps us to be more calm, resilient, to enjoy, to have positive relationships at home but also in the workplace becoming more productive, reducing medical cost and overall improving the quality of our life.