You might have read on my Instagram stories last week that I have taken to doing a little night time exercise for my mind. I have a very active mind, that just loves to get all excited right before bedtime. I go through my day, my to do list, people I ran into, people who annoyed me, my leaving cert etc etc and the list goes on. I’ve had to find ways to chill my head so that I can find ways to get to sleep stress and anxiety free. I’ve tried a lot of apps these past few years and I have come up with some that work for me. They may not be everyone’s cup of decaf tea right before bed, but I’ve found something in all of them that has helped. I’m also reading a super book by Jen Sincero called You Are a Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Amazing title right? It’s very much direct approach with a little berating, to help you understand why you can’t be confident and basically, a badass beeatch. One thing I have taken away from it so far is about gratitude. Being grateful for the things that you have worked for, earned, been presented with. So Jen recommends at night before you go to sleep you think of ten things that you are grateful for from the day. It’s a very simple exercise but it has put my thought process in a more positive state right at sleep time. So far, I like it a lot. Give it a go, as well as some of these apps for a calmer mind that I’ve been using.
This is a massively popular app, however there is one aspect to it I love and that’s the Story Telling section. Listen to the soft voices of Stephen Fry or the southern draw of Matthew McConaughey regale lovely tales that help distract your mind. My favourite is the walk through Provence. This app is a subscriber service so you have to pay a monthly charge so you are aware of that.
What? This is not a calm-the-mind app but oh yes it is. I pick the classics, such as anything my Austen, Hardy or Bronte, and listen to books you may well have read many times be told to you. Similar to Calm I mentioned above, you can buy this book by book. It’s amazing how your imagination goes along with it. I often listen to these on planes.
One thing to note about Calm also is that it has excellent breathing exercises that are broken into categories to suit anxious travellers, a panic attack or if you just need a few minutes time out. Along these lines is Headspace as well. They have a short “Take Ten” series that guides you through breathing for ten minutes that you can do anywhere. Breathing is such a powerful way to control anxiety or tension. During the worst part of my anxiety about ten years ago, I did Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and this app is like a short, not as expensive, version. Certainly nothing about it will cure you, but for those times when you just need to get that tight feeling out of your chest, this is great. Ball slams also work btw. I’ll add this as a footnote below so as not to ruin the flow of my calm here.
I know, this is a gadget. But! If you have one you may know what I am about to say. As well as counting steps, Fitbit has a Relax function on the device. Again this is guided breathing but the screen tells you how you are doing based on your heart rate. This is a recent discovery for me, so I’ll let you know if there is more functionality available when I do more research.
Everyone has their own way of finding calm. It’s not always straight forward, I do understand that. There have been times in my life where I feel like my heart goes into mono-beat it pounds so fast and it’s been very hard to get it to slow. Anxiety for me has had physical effects too, and if you would like to read more about my own experience, here is the link to something I wrote on here a few years ago.
Before I forget, the ball slams. In the gym, go find a 5-10kg ball, most gyms have them. Lift it above your head, and keeping your core nice and controlled as well as you back and legs, slam it into the ground. I do this within my exercise routine, as it’s a full body exercise, but it’s superb after a stressful day. You. Are. Welcome.