Do you find it hard to fall asleep? Have you ever tried relaxation meditation techniques to help?
You and I know that our lives can feel crazy sometimes. It feels like there is just not enough time in the day to do everything you need to. These relaxation meditation techniques will help slow a busy mind, and help you get to sleep faster.
Full Body Scan
Doing a full body relaxation meditation is a great way to release any tension you may be carrying and calms the body and mind.
We carry tension all over our bodies that we are just not aware of. With this technique you'll relieve your body and help it to relax.
Step-by-step full body relaxation meditation
- Close your eyes and lie on your back. Take a few deep breaths.
- Bring your attention to the weight of your body touching the bed sheets. Relax your body, bringing all your weight onto the bed.
- Bring your attention to your toes. Focus on them for 2 to 3 seconds and on an exhale of the breath, release any tension.
- Bring your attention to your heels. On the exhale, release any tension.
- Bring your attention to your calves. Exhale and release any tension.
- Bring your attention to your knees and then relax them on the exhale.
- Bring your attention to your thighs for 2 to 3 seconds and then exhale and release the tension.
- Bring your attention to your backside. Exhale and relax.
- Focus your attention on your abdomen. After a few seconds, breathe out and relax, releasing any tension.
- Repeat the process with your hands, arms, shoulders, chest, neck.
- Now bring your attention to your chin. Relax and release any tension being held.
- Bring your attention your mouth. After 2 or 3 seconds, release any tension or stress.
- Repeat this process with your nose, cheeks, eyes, eyebrows, forehead, ears than scalp.
Once you’ve completed the body scan, start again from the toes. Complete this for several minutes until you’re completely relaxed.
Whilst doing the body scan, your breathing should be slow, deep and from the lower belly.
Like in any relaxation meditation, you may find that your mind wanders to other thoughts such as, worries you might have, or things that need to be done. That’s completely ok. Its normal.
Once you become aware of your wandering mind, just bring your attention back to the body and continue with your relaxation exercise. It may take several days to quieten the busy mind, but you’ll find the more you meditate the less wandering your mind will do.
You may have heard the term ‘mindfulness’ thrown around a lot these days. It simply means being aware of, or paying attention to our thoughts and emotions in the present moment. ( If you’re interested in learning more about it, I highly recommend reading articles and books by Jon Kabat-Zinn.)
Being mindful will help you become less anxious, stressed or angry and will help give you more control over your emotions.
Here is a step-by-step guide for a mindfulness meditation:
Step-by-step mindfulness meditation
- Close your eyes whilst you’re lying in bed, and bring your attention to your breath. Focus on the feeling of the breath moving in and out of the nose.
- Try not to control the breath. You want to simply be an observer. You’ll find that as you relax, your breathing will become more natural.
- You may find your mind wandering. As with any meditation, this is completely normal. Just simply acknowledge the thought that has you distracted and bring your attention back to the breath.
This is a simple meditation you can try tonight. The more often you meditate, the less busy your mind will be and you’ll soon find that you’re not so consumed by the stresses of the day that would normally stop you from having a restful night’s sleep.
The idea of using diaphragm breathing is to:
- Relax your belly as much as possible.
- Slow down your breathing, and
- Slow down your heart rate.
In our every day lives we tend to breath shallow and from the chest, rather than our full lungs. So, don’t be surprised if your first attempts to breath this way don’t come so naturally.
Step-by-step diaphragm breathing
- Get into a comfortable position, either lying down or sitting. If sitting, make sure your posture is upright, with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.
- Close your eyes.
- Bring your attention to your belly, placing one hand on top.
- Inhale deeply, feeling the belly rise with the in-breath and fall or recede with the exhale of the outbreath.
- Bring your attention to the different sensations or experiences with breathing. It’s as if you are riding a wave.
- If your mind wanders away from the breath, notice what thoughts or emotions are distracting you, then bring your attention back to your belly and the sensations of breathing.
- When you become familiar with the breath, feel free to move your hand away from your belly and place it somewhere comfortable.
- Try this for 5 minutes or longer. Whatever is comfortable for you.
Try this before bed so you are completely relaxed and have unwound from the stress of your day.
You may find that a guided meditation is the way for you to relax before bed. There are many apps you can listen to. We recommend shying away from screens and Youtube videos before bed. (click here to find out why)
This is a quick and easy way to relax the mind and help you get to sleep.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve used these techniques or any other techniques you find helpful.