Last night I fell asleep thinking of you and I noticed myself smiling. - M. Bosak
These are words I could say many times in the last couple of weeks. Reflecting back on good times with the friends and family I get to share my life with. No, not everything is perfect, but it is exactly as it should be.
I've been trying something out lately. Intentionally going to sleep with a smile. I cannot remember when I received this advice or even who the source was. I kinda stuff my social media with mountains of positivity. Yes, I read news. Just as much as I need to. But, mostly I fill my feeds with people & posts I find uplifting, inspiring and educational. Things that will make me smile, learn and grow. Somewhere in that mountain of goodness I stumbled upon a link from a link, that led me to a YouTube video, that only had audio and a still picture, that I led me to a podcast. It was somewhere down this happy rabbit hole that I learned about the idea to pay attention to my feelings as I fall asleep. Basically just to take inventory at the end of the day before I close my eyes, checking in with how I'm feeling. And, in doing so redirect any negative feelings to positive ones. The point of all this: how you fall asleep is how you wake up. At least that is what the podcast claimed.
At first I didn't really give it much notice. I listened to the podcast as I walked home one day and thought, "Yeah, this idea of checking your feelings before you go to bed is kinda like my gratitude journals. I should give that a try." But, the day was busy and I forgot about it. It was really busy. So busy I didn't even write in my gratitude journal that night - which happens more often than I like - and being tired, I forgot about the podcast too.
A few weeks passed. Another challenging day came up as they do from time to time and crawling into bed something stopped me. I paused. Noticing my feelings for a moment, I suddenly remembered the podcast and the idea to check and redirect my feelings. Without my gratitude journal near and not liking how I was feeling at all, I figured this was a good time to try this out. I certainly didn't want to wake up grumpy. So lying there in the dark I began to redirect my frustration. "At least I have a job. I have years of experience and a courageous soul. I have time to create. I have friends and family who show me support and care in the ways they can and know how to," I began saying to myself. Essentially I was doing a mental form of my gratitude journal. But, most importantly, in addition to this I really focused on feeling good about the things I was thinking instead of just writing them down.
I've kept up this nightly routine sometimes with my gratitude journal and sometimes without. And, I've got to say it's quite amazing. Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE writing. I especially love writing things down that I am grateful for and have experienced the power of practicing that daily. And, I would strongly recommend you give a daily gratitude journal a try if you never have before. But, if you are short on time or if you'd like to go to sleep with a smile and wake up with a bright-eyed buoyancy I suggest this too, or maybe instead of the gratitude journal. Lie down and tune into how you feel. Really notice it. Allow whatever is there to come up. Seeing that your emotions pass before you. Judgement, nervousness, calmness, silliness. Just notice and be okay with what bubbles up. We all have different emotions as we go throughout our days and that's a good thing. Let them just be there. Then intentionally find something to be happy about and truly feel that too. Let happiness, however small, sink into your thoughts and bones. Look for ways you've been supported throughout the day. Be thankful for them and soon you'll find peace flowing in. Almost like a deep, relieving sigh and exhale, you'll likely find yourself smiling and dozing off to restful sleep and blissful dreams. It may not fix all your problems, but it will certainly give yourself a vacation from them. At least for the night. On good days, it will leave your heart feeling that much more fulfilled. Either way, this practice is a great way to set yourself up to wake up with a smile.
So in a nutshell, go to bed with a smile and you'll wake up with one too. Do it on purpose and soon your smiles will be finding you even before you begin to go looking for them.
Cheers to good nights, good mornings my friends! Thank you so much for reading and as always. . . .
Here's to enjoying your life & ALL GOOD THINGS!
P.S. - There is some yoga wisdom that goes along with this. Yoga sutra 2.33 translated says "When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite (positive) ones should be thought of. This is known as pratipaksha bhavana."