Mind Matters | How I helped my client overcome insomnia through mindfulness - Hindustan Times

Mind Matters | How I helped my client overcome insomnia through mindfulness

Sep 05, 2023 03:04 PM IST

Specific techniques coupled with self-awareness can transform your days -- and nights -- in very stark ways. Here's how

In the quiet hours of the night, when the world around her seemed to have surrendered to slumber, Jenny found herself locked in a silent battle with her own mind. Insomnia had taken hold of her nights, turning them into a marathon of restless tossing and turning. As dawn approached, she would feel defeated and drained, caught in a cycle of sleeplessness that seemed unbreakable. The weight of exhaustion began to seep into her days, casting a shadow over her ability to function, concentrate, or even feel joyful.

"Insomnia had taken hold of her nights, turning them into a marathon of restless tossing and turning"(Representative Image- Pixabay) PREMIUM
"Insomnia had taken hold of her nights, turning them into a marathon of restless tossing and turning"(Representative Image- Pixabay)

Jenny's journey into the realm of insomnia was a slow descent. The demands of her job, the pressures of daily life, and the relentless pursuit of perfection gradually chipped away at her ability to unwind. Her nights became a battleground where stress, worries, and racing thoughts collided with her desperate desire for rest. As the clock ticked away, Jenny found herself caught in a loop of frustration and fatigue, her mind refusing to relinquish its grip on the anxieties that plagued her.

Jenny's story is common: You dear reader can perhaps relate, or at least know someone who is facing something similar.

But Jenny's story is not one of despair. It's a story of resilience and the transformative power of mindfulness practice. Jenny decided to seek help when she realised that the path she was on was unsustainable. In her quest for solutions, she came across the concept of mindfulness – a holistic approach that offered the promise of breaking free from insomnia.

Our work together began with understanding the details of her sleep patterns, thoughts, and emotions. We explored the nuances of her daily routine, seeking to uncover the triggers that perpetuated her struggle with insomnia.

The foundation of our approach was cultivating mindful awareness. Mindfulness, as Jenny discovered, was not just a practice but a way of being – a way to observe her thoughts and emotions without judgment. Through guided mindfulness exercises, Jenny learned to detach herself from the swirl of worries that kept her awake. She embraced the power of the present moment, redirecting her attention away from the past and future, and towards the here and now. Here are some of the things we worked together on:

Creating a sleep ritual

One of the key components of our journey together was the creation of a personalised sleep ritual. What we don't pay enough attention to is the fact that the transition from wakefulness to slumber needs to be gradual. But what we choose to do depends on the individual. Jenny and I designed a routine that signalled to Jenny's body and mind that it was time to unwind, based on what suited her best: The ritual included gentle stretches, soothing music, and mindfulness practices that eased her into a state of relaxation.

In our sessions, we also delved into the realm of self-compassion. It became clear that Jenny's frustration with her inability to sleep was only aggravating her insomnia. Mindfulness practice empowered Jenny to treat herself with kindness, acknowledging her struggles without self-criticism. This shift in perspective allowed her to approach sleepless nights with a gentler attitude, fostering an environment conducive to rest.

In other words, mindfulness helped Jenny transform her relationship with sleep and self-care.

Mindful breathing

Mindful breathing became one of the pillars of Jenny's journey. The simple act of focusing on the breath enabled Jenny to feel calm amidst restlessness. With each inhale and exhale, she found a lifeline that guided her away from the web of thoughts and towards a place of peace. It was a practice that she could carry with her into the night, a beacon of peace in the midst of darkness.

A ripple effect

The effects of the mindfulness journey extended beyond the realm of sleep. As Jenny grew more adept at mindfulness, she began to notice a shift in her overall well-being. The skills she had acquired became tools for navigating life's challenges with greater resilience and grace. She found herself more attuned to her emotions, more present in her interactions, and more connected to her own inner wisdom.

As our sessions continued, Jenny's sleep patterns slowly began to transform. The nights that were once marked by restlessness started to offer moments of reprieve. The hours of wakefulness became interspersed with periods of deep sleep, and the frustration that had once characterised her nights began to dissipate. With time, Jenny's newfound mindfulness practices allowed her to embrace sleep as a natural and restorative state.

Jenny's journey from insomnia to restful sleep is a testament to the power of mindfulness coaching. It is a reminder that amidst the challenges of modern life, there are tools available that can help us reclaim our well-being. Jenny's story shows that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable struggles, positive change is possible.

As a mindfulness coach, witnessing transformation like one of Jenny's reinforces my belief in the potential for healing and growth that lies within each individual.

Bhupinder Sandhu is a London-based mindfulness coach who believes in the human ability to build a blissful world together. The views expressed are personal

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