Sit With This. . .

Whatever your views on Covid are its hard to deny the toll it has taken on us all.

Isolation and quarantine at home caused various mental issues and barring these the daily news caused stress, especially in older generations. Threatening information with social isolation caused severe mental pressure. This unusual traumatic pandemic has affected life, sleep and caused various sleep problems.Moderate associations between sleep problems and psychological distress (including depression and anxiety) were found. So what can one do?

The two main contributors to potential worsening of sleep are changes in stress level and changes in sleep behaviors. In general, worries and anxieties always tend to have a negative impact on sleep. The good things are that COVID has taught us spirituality in various ways, first, there are things beyond our control and will. We are not at all powerful or resourceful against these types of issues, a tiny virus has disrupted billions of lives and taken away much in a short span of time and we could not do anything. COVID has directed us to do spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, and relaxation to attain a healthy life, both mentally and physically. We can achieve a lot with a spiritual bend of the mind.

In my own life I doubled down on my meditation practice – Once in the morning and once before bed. It helped to shape my days and clear my mind before bed. Somedays it was nothing more than sitting with my monkey mind and calming the nervous creature.

Meditation calms body and mind and brings natural sleep. It is normal for brain to get various thoughts at bedtime when you are not physically in action. Meditation does not allow these thoughts to come up at bedtime and causes relaxation of mind and body leading to good sleep. More the meditation more quick and sound sleeps. Mind fitness meditation in particular, appears to improve sleep quality and reduce daytime disturbance in people with chronic insomnia and orders adults. Following three spiritual practices are helpful in bringing good and sound sleep in post covid-19 sleep disturbances.

  1. Deep abdominal breathing
  2. Meditation
  3. Visualization

The process of meditation by focusing on different parts of body is called body scan meditation. This promotes relaxation and encourages sleeps.

Researchers have proved that regular meditation can improve sleep quality for those without existing sleep problems. Long term use of meditation improves the onset and quality of sleep like the effect of sleep medications. In some persons suffering with insomnia the thought of going to bed generates anxiety and stress, meditation in such person calms down the nervous and endocrine systems reduce cortisol (stress hormone) level and also reduces inflammation. Daily practice of meditation improves night sleep by producing calming effect on body and mind.

Carry home message: This may have been a first difficult dance for some of us but in the human condition it will not be our last so it pays for each of us to dwell less on such moments, relax well and sleep like a log. Focus on what you can do and how you can help yourself and others in such difficult times. Together we not only shape our own days but the days of others as well.

Peace and Love, Jim

#sitwiththis #thedailybuddha

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