Maybe you’ve been there.
It’s deep in the night when you should be slumbering peacefully.
Instead, your mind is turning something over and over and over.
At 2 a.m., my hamster mind feels free to explore a wide range of topics.
“Y’know, the phrase ‘apropos of nothing’ really bugs me,” it will suddenly say. “And also, the expression ‘easy peasy.’ And periods. Used. Like. This.”
I roll over and whisper, “let’s go back to sleep,” but the busy hamster feels duty-bound to remind me about the too-small sum I got after plugging my numbers into a Retirement Calculator yesterday.
Now the hamster leads me through the Home Depot parking lot to the shed kits. “Do you think we can afford the Majestic Western Cedar model to live in when we retire?” it asks. “Or will we have to go with the Val-U fiberboard economy shed?”
If that doesn’t get my attention, the relentless rodent moves on to worrisome topics like the peeling paint on the west windows of the house. Or the high price of health insurance. Or the National Debt. Or Tibet.
Late Night Worries
Why is it that issues loom so large at 2 a.m.?
Fortunately, with practice it’s possible to stop the hamster wheel. The next time your mind is stuck in a loop of worry, try this simple meditation:
1. Get comfortable in your favorite sleeping position.
2. Take several slow, deep breaths.
3. Send up a prayer for good sleep, if you like.
4. Think of a 2-syllable word that will soothe you. Some ideas:
- At Peace
5. With your word in mind, silently say the first syllable as you breathe in, and the second as you slowly breathe out. Inhale peace, exhale worry.
6. The goal is to do 20 consecutive quiet reps with no other thoughts, simply breathing in and out as you repeat the word.
7. If your thoughts interrupt the process, which they probably will, gently steer your mind back to the meditation and start counting again at #1.
8. Each time you do that gentle steering back, you’re working a muscle that will eventually grow stronger. The more you practice, the more naturally you’ll be able to quiet your thoughts and settle the busy little hamster.
9. Like drifting off with anesthesia, you will usually be asleep before you reach 20 reps.
Try it and see!
If this meditation helps you, I’d love to hear your experience.
Wishing you peaceful slumber and sweet, rodent-free dreams in the nights to come.
P.S. You might also enjoy “7 Natural Ways to Get a Good, Deep Night’s Sleep.”
Grateful thanks to Su-May for permission to use the photo of Tarquin the hamster.