What can you do when you find yourself staring at the ceiling after the lights go out? Here’s Dr. Jo’s D.R.E.A.M formula for getting relaxed and sleepy:
- D = Deep Breathing. Start with some slow, deep breaths and focus on blowing up your “belly” (the lower part of your lungs) as you inhale. Take in full breaths and then slowly let it out. Focus on the sound of your breath.
- R = Relax. Some people start relaxing from their toes on up. I like the reverse since I tend to accumulate my stress in my face and my shoulders. So, each time you exhale, relax one part of your body. I focus on relaxing my forehead first, then my cheeks, I drop my jaw, then my shoulders….
- E = Erase. Chances are your thoughts keep you awake. As you take your deep breaths and relax, don’t fight those thoughts that pop into your mind. Instead, imagine them drifting away on a cloud. Or, using a paint roller, just “paint” over them. (It helps to write down all your worries, your “to do’s”, etc. so that when thoughts come into your mind you can say, “It’s down on paper. I won’t forget, but there’s nothing I can do right now.”).
- A = Affirmations. It’s hard to think of two things at once, so it helps to repeat a peaceful word in your mind. As I exhale, I say the word, “peace.” Pick a word that helps you relax.
- M = Mental Image. If you’re still awake, picture a calm, peaceful place. It could be someplace you’ve been or it can be imaginary. Some people choose the beach, others think of being on top of a mountain. Whatever works for you.
This is excerpted from Dr. Jo’s How to Stay Healthy & Fit on the Road.