How to calm the mind for better sleep and focus

When I was a kid, my grandfather told me a story of a ghost and a man. The man had a ghost as his slave, the ghost used to take orders from the man and complete the task whatever the man asked him to do. The only condition that the ghost put forward was whenever a task is complete the man had to give another work otherwise the ghost would kill the man. The man kept giving tasks to the ghost and in the blink of an eye the ghost used to complete the work, one day there were no work left, the man was scared, he approached a Guru and told him everything, the Guru suggested the man to keep a long stick grounded into the soil in his backyard and tell the ghost to climb up and down the stick repeatedly.

Our mind is restless, it dwells on everything surrounding us, even if the body is at rest the mind never stops working. The mind works in the form of thoughts, it brings thoughts in large volumes, sometimes it is very difficult for us to concentrate on a particular thing with so many thoughts coming into mind.

When some of us goes to sleep, we face difficulties to sleep because although our body is at rest but the mind is flooded with thoughts, for me it has been very difficult to sleep a few years back because whenever I tried to sleep, thousands of thoughts filled my mind. Even thoughts that has no meanings.

I read books on Mindfulness, in books it seems very easy to repeat those steps mentioned in the books and change our lives, but to be frank it is not that easy, it is difficult, it takes months and years to develop mindfulness. It is difficult not because the steps mentioned in books are untrue, but it is difficult because a bigger part of people just read it, a lesser part try it and when the results are not coming, they leave it. Only a small population try it and keep trying it again and again. The key to train the mind is to keep doing the same exercise again and again.

How to calm the mind ??

The mind is like a monkey, he loves to jump from here to there, mind gets diverted by the things surrounding us, the best way to calm the mind is through withdrawing the mind from dwelling on a thousand things and force it to focus on one single object, if we choose a physical object the mind will again get diverted after sometime. So the best thing to focus is our BREATH.

Focusing on the breath is the most fundamental criteria for meditation. This can be done while you’re sitting, walking, travelling by bus, train or you’re on your bed trying to sleep.

The simple task is :-

  • Close your eyes, if you’re sitting on the floor on your yoga mat or simply on a piece of cloth, sit straight, keep your head, spine and neck aligned in a straight line, it’s up to you where do you sit, you can sit on your chair or sofa, whatever you’re comfortable with, next step, start to inhale and exhale, while you will be doing so, try to focus your mind on your breath, try to feel the air going in and out.
  • If you’re laying on bed, preparing to sleep and facing difficulties, then also repeat the same steps as above. But count each breath, one set consisting of inhaling and exhaling.
  • Another way to help sleep difficulties is, count from 100 in reverse order, i.e 100, 99, 98, 97, 96 and so on. While counting just try to close your eyes and visualize the numbers in your mind. This helps to withdraw the mind from dwelling on hundreds of thoughts and make it focused on one specific thing.

Although it seems very easy but it is not easy to stop the thoughts, the thoughts will continue to come and fill the mind, so let the thoughts appear, forcefully do not stop the thoughts, instead force the mind to concentrate on the breath rather than feeding the thoughts.

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