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Following My Own Roadmap, Pt 3

Sheridan Taylor

In which our hero explains how he took his own advice after ignoring himself for many months and fixed his shit.

I started meditating twice a day. First thing in the morning before working out to start my day in a mindful and calm state, and last thing at night to relax for sleep. Hugely helpful. I can’t recommend it enough. I use a free app called Insight Timer to guide me through breathing and mindfulness practices. I have always found it extremely difficult to nap. If you can nap, do it. 30 minutes of napping is the rough equivalent of an hour of REM sleep. I can’t, like I said, but I use the meditation app to get to a state of wakeful deep rest. It works almost a s well. Yoga Nidra and Non-Sleep Deep-Rest routines are super helpful for me here.

I also started using the theta brain waves to my advantage instead of disadvantage. The brain produces theta waves when we’re lightly sleeping, or in a state of deep relaxation like meditation, and may occur when we’re drifting off to sleep. Smarter people than me think theta waves are connected to processing information, making memories, creativity, intuition, daydreaming, and fantasizing. Theta waves relate to the subconscious mind and store memories, emotions, sensations.  The subconscious mind never shuts off. That’s why we dream. When I’m bananas, I stay awake ruminating on how awful and horrible my life is, feeling sorry for myself, and basically marinating in negativity. Not coincidentally, I then can’t fall asleep for hours if at all, have terrible dreams, and wake up at 0-dark-stupid. My subconscious is fed negativity, so it feeds me negativity.

Now, at bedtime, after darkening the room, slowing my heart rate with diaphragmatic breathing, listening to binaural beats, and using progressive muscle relaxation to get as relaxed and ready for sleep as possible, I deliberately think about all the positives in my life. I consciously focus my dozy mind on everything in my life that I’m grateful for. I concentrate on the things in my life that I’ve done right, and potential solutions to things that I need to accomplish. That seems to program my subconscious to be positive. I’ve been having pleasant (sometimes weird) dreams and I wake in a neutral or even pleasant mood (and that’s pretty fuckin’ weird. Wonderful. But weird.) Before I use the Insight Timer app to meditate in the morning or get Non-Sleep Deep Rest in the afternoon, I try to think specifically about gratitude and how blessed I am in my relationships, for the same reason.

Even little almost imperceptible things are important. I remind myself regularly to let my facial muscles relax and let my shoulders drop and relax to the sides. Relaxing my muscles deliberately cause my entire nervous system to relax. At the same time, I try to remind myself to maintain good posture. I don’t allow myself to slouch unless I’m holding a wall up, watching my kids. I try to maintain an upright posture with my spine aligned, my shoulders over my feet, my hips over my knees, my knees over my feet. I pull my shoulders down, like I said, and pull my shoulder blades back and down while imagining there’s a balloon pulling my head upwards. I try to make myself smile. All these things convince my body it feels safe, confident and happy. So my body feels safe, confident, and happy.

More to follow, over.