Don’t hate me, I know I am blessed: I fall asleep inside three minutes after putting my head on the pillow. And I can sleep anywhere any time: in daylight or in darkness, with noise or without, in a crowded environment or in a peaceful one...
I’ve always been like this. To me, insomnia is still being awake 20 minutes after going to bed. When that happens, I get up and go watch TV until my eyes shut by themselves. That can take a while, but when they do, up I go to bed and fall asleep immediately. Yes I am blessed. I know. I’m sorry. Please don’t hate me.
It’s true, I do sometimes wake up in the middle of the night or in the small hours of the morning. It used to drive me mad, but since I learned that our sleep patterns have cycles, each of which last 90 minutes on average, when I do wake up, I don’t panic as I know that it is likely going to take me 90 minutes to fall back asleep. And it usually does. My mind stays calm waiting for the cycle to run its course....
This said, I know a lot of people suffer from insomnia. So I thought that I could suggest a little something to try which I know works (friends told me!)
So the experiment this week, if you choose to do it, is to try Dr. Weil 4-7-8 breathing technique.
It is said that you should practice this technique twice a day –in bed and at some other time of your choosing (can be while sitting).
Step 1: Throughout the entire duration of the exercise, touch with your tongue your two front teeth where they join your gum/palate. This will stop your thoughts going around and around and around.
(** you can use this mini-technique, with or without the breathing, any time you need to stop your thoughts going around in your head**).
Step 2: Breathe in to a count of 4
Step 3: Hold your breath in to a count of 7
Step 4: Breathe out to a count of 8
Step 5: Repeat 3 more times (personally, I would keep at it a little longer as it can’t be bad...).
When you count in your head, do it at a speed that is comfortable for you. You don’t have to count suuuupeeeeer slooooooooooooooowlyyyyyyyyy 1................................2.......................... .3....................4..................... in the hope that your slow count will relax you (it might, but you also might lack air!). As long as the proportion between 4, 7 and 8 is maintained, then you’re ok.
Please note: Dr Weil says that you will see best results after doing this for two months. Yes, I know, two months might seem an eternity, but
1) start by trying it for a week, notice any changes in your sleep or anxiety level and go from there,
2) you already have trouble sleeping so there is nothing to lose even if it takes two months to see results, don’t you think? Time will pass whether you try it or not...
That’s simple, isn’t it?
Try it and let me know if it works for you, if you notice any changes in your sleep or anxiety level, ...
Oh, I wanted to ask::
Are you blessed like me: Do you fall asleep easily?
Do you have any tips to share with other sleep deprived people?
What have you tried?
Sleep cycles last 90 minutes on average so if you wake up in the middle of the night, it is likely going to take you 90 minutes to fall back to sleep
The 4-7-8 technique helps with sleep AND WITH ANXIETY. Use it whenever you need it during the day.
Step 1 can be used by itself at any time to stop the thought going around in your head.
With Mel’s help
It is so easy to eat without noticing we do.
We talk, watch TV, read, play with our smart phones, some even walk...
And when we don’t actually slow down and take notice that we are eating, we miss the experience
(and what an experience!), we even may be more at risk of eating more than needed as we are more
or less disconnected from our body*. And that’s why...
The experiment this week, if you choose to do it, is to slow down and
to be completely and totally in the present moment when eating.
Sit with your food. In silence. Without distraction.
Slow down. Be present. Be in the moment.
Look. Smell. Listen. Taste. Savour. Feel.
How does your food look?
How does it smell?
How is the texture?
Does it crack under your teeth?
Or does it roll around in your mouth melting?
Is it hard to chew or soft?
Slow down. Breathe.
What does it taste like?
What are the subtleties of the food you are eating?
Is there a spice that you had not noticed before? Or a bit of citrus? Of vanilla?
Is it sweet? Too sweet? Or just right?
Is it salty? Bitter? Sour? Is it too much or just right?
What do you notice?
Is it as good as it looks? Or better?
Is it as good as you think? Or Better?
Be in the present moment.
Enjoy. Savour. Breathe.
Was it easy to eat slowly?
How did you find it?
Did it enhance the experience? Or did it spoil it?
And if it spoiled it, how?
Which senses did you use the most in this experiment?
Did a memory or a thought come up?
And... how do you feel now?
Try again. Try often. Eat slowly. Enjoy.
with Mel's help
* Note – If you have a tendency of eating to calm your emotions or if you binge, try to make a habit
of this exercise and let me know how it helps.
In French, there is an expression that says:
Il faut tourner sa langue sept fois dans sa bouche avant de parler,
which literally translates into: Turn your tongue seven times in your mouth before talking,
the idea being that while you’re turning your tongue in your mouth, you unavoidably have time to think about what you are going to say, and at the end of the exercise, what you say might very well be different or better thought-out than what you intended in the first place.
Based on that, here is the tip:
When you are about to burst, take a nice deep breath in and count to ten while breathing out. Or seven. Actually, counting to three might be all you need.
This ten second respite will allow you to notice what is really happening in yourself and what you are really reacting to in the moment. It will allow you to change positively the impact of what you are about to say/do in this moment of anger.
During these ten seconds:
You might realize that you are about to let out your anger on the wrong person/situation:
-it may be that you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, stressed, lacking support, time, patience, money... thus a bit too sensitive in this very moment to deal with anything. You’ve had enough. If so, it’s a clear sign that you need some ME time (to relax, to take care of yourself, to reflect on what is happening in your life, to get help...), be it for a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days...
In the meantime, breathe in, take control of your emotions and adjust your reaction positively or get out of the situation momentarily.
-it may be that you are angry at something that is not related to the situation in front of you but this anger needs to come out, somehow, one way or another. Indeed, there are very few safe escape routes for anger in our modern world, if any. It might not be safe to express your anger/stress say, to your boss, employees, colleagues, customers, friends ... so it usually comes out somewhere else in your life and might hurt the people you love the most. If this is the case, it is primordial that you find a way to let the steam off: dance, box, jog, meditate, write down your thoughts, ... You need to find your own way to unwind physically and emotionally, any way you see fit.
Again, in the meantime, breathe in, take control of your emotions and adjust your reaction positively or, get out of the situation momentarily.
You might actually realize that your anger is appropriate and justified.
If it is, what should you do then?
You could try to see the situation from outside of your body, as if you were a camera in one of the top corner of the room observing the scene as it is happening. From there, you will see the whole situation from a different point of view, a detached one. From there, you will be able to see yourself react and will be more able to choose how you want to do so.
You could start by taking another deep breath in and think of the result that you want...
Will you bursting out make the situation better or worse?
What is the other person telling you – in words or actions?
What is it that you really want to express?
How can you express it more positively?
If you manage to do so, how will that impact the situation?
How will you feel?
By taking a step back from your anger, if only for a few seconds, you will be more able to see the situation as it really is and react in a way which will open up to better results for all.
Try and let me know how it goes...
Remember: you don’t have to be perfect all the time, it’s ok. Nobody is.
What are your tips to help deal with burst of anger?
If you need help to deal with anger, contact me.
with Mel's help
Have you done experiment #1?
If not, please do so now. Click here for details
If yes, what did you find out?
Any patterns? Any repetitive thoughts?
I bet you found out that you talk to yourself all day (if you didn’t know already).
That your thoughts rarely stop, if ever, popping up.
It is also possible that they are not all very nice thoughts, I mean, that you are not being
very nice to yourself.
Chances are, you found out that there is one or two specific thoughts that come to you all the time.
Like in a loop. Round and round.
It could be:
I am so tired. I’m not good enough.
Life is s*%$t.
I am not a machine.
I’ve have had enough,
or something like that...
That’s normal, if normal means that most people experience this as well.
So, the experiment this week, if you choose to do it, is to start and question the truth of these thoughts,
be more specific and change the repetitive ones that are not supportive.
For example, if you tell yourself: "I am so tired".
Are you really that tired? Is it true at this point in time?
If yes, what is so tiring specifically?
Listen honestly to your answer and make a change: slow down, take a break, ask for help, go on a holiday, treat yourself...
If not, when did you start repeating that phrase over and over?
Was it during a very busy time? When was it exactly?
If it’s not true, how are you actually feeling?
You might realise that you are ok at the moment.
And since you are not actually tired, change that phrase to a positive one
and stop hypnotizing yourself into believing that you are tired.
Let’s take another example: "I’m not good enough".
Good enough at/for what specifically?
Is that true?
If you go around telling yourself you are not good enough, how do you think that is going to make you feel? What do you think you will notice? How will that influence your choices?
Every time you hear yourself saying: "I am not good enough", stop, check in and say something supportive.
Like: I am doing the best I can do today, I am worthy, I am learning to ____, I am in the process of ,
I’m getting better at this, What if I tried?...
In short, whatever your repetitive thought is, all you have to do is:
Catch yourself using it. Stop. And replace it with a positive one.
You’re going to need to make an effort at first but
know that you can quickly make a positive change in your life with this simple exercise.
Try it and let me know how it works for you!
If you need some help, contact me!
with mel's help
Experiment: Once in a while, I will present you with an experiment the goal of which will be to learn a little bit about yourself. They will most likely be very simple, but if you decide to do them and really take them seriously, you just might discover something interesting/useful/surprising... Have fun!
The experiment this week, if you choose to do it, is to become aware of all the thoughts that come to your mind on an hourly basis or more to the point, minute by minute. Here I am talking about the thoughts that do not specifically relate to work or life planning.
Notice your constant mind-chatter.
Become aware of the thoughts, positive or negative, that keep going round and round.
Become aware of the thoughts that undermine your every move.
Become aware of the thoughts that are supporting you, if any.
Notice them. Write them down. All of them.
During the whole day, for a week.
At work. At home. On the road. At the gym...
Listen to what you tell yourself.
Come back next week for the follow up to experiment #1...
and for experiment #2!
With Mel's help
Three weeks into 2018 already…
How are you doing with your New Year resolutions?
Have you abandoned them yet?
No? Great! Keep going!
Yes? That’s ok.... but...
Maybe it’s time to...
Do something differently?
Have you ever tried choosing a theme or an inspiring word for the year?
I did that for the first time in 2017 and I must say that when I felt a bit lost about which way to go or what to do next, remembering the theme I had chosen always calmed me down and put me back on track. And, the theme itself had more sides and meanings than I originally thought...
Would you like to try?
Here’s how (in 2 easy steps):
1) Choose your word/theme
Stop and think, take notes, notice what inspires you... and then close your eyes and ask yourself:
What do I want more of in my life?
How do I want the year to go? How do I want to feel?
At the end of the year, what do I want to have done?
What is one thing that I want to change, improve, learn, master...?
What word/theme would help get me there?
As a rule, I suggest that you choose something that inspires or makes you laugh.
Anything that will get you out of a negative state of mind would be perfect.
Calm. Patience. Love. Fun. Creativity. Action. Exploration.
Smile. Laugh. Trust. Believe. Live.
Take a step! Do the work! Keep going! Focus ...
Make that change! Try! You’ve got this! Why not? Let it go.
Better done than perfect! Dance like nobody’s watching! Be in the moment.
Don’t be so serious. Move your butt Coconut!
Be creative. find one that really resonates with you!
2) Write it down somewhere.
Write it in big, beautiful, colorful letters, or not
Use it as a wallpaper on your smart phone, or not.
It does not matter... what matters is that you make sure to
see it every day or that it is in your mind, like a mantra, ready to get you back on track when needed.
Try and see how it goes... and let’s talk at the end of the year!
with Mel's help
The ONE thing to do to achieve your goal
How did you spend your time in 2016?
Who are you?
We all wear many hats in our life; that is, we have different roles depending on the people we are with, the activity we are doing and the situation we are in:
wife/husband, sister/brother, mom/dad, friend, salesperson, student, carer, healer, coach, teacher, doctor, baker, writer, nurse, artist, translator, cook, musician, entrepreneur, accountant, web designer, athlete, photographer, cyclist, saviour, prankster, raconteur, observer, volunteer, helper, listener, speaker, activist, scientist, physiotherapist, postman, financial advisor, globetrotter,...
So which are your roles?
Make a list...
If you had to put them in order of importance, what would it look like?
If you had to put them in order of the amount of time you dedicate to each of them in your daily life, what would the order be?
Is the most important role, for you in your life at this point in time, at the top of this list?
If not, is it ok for now?
If it’s not ok, what little step can you take today to change things for the better?
Who do you want to be?
Is there a “role” missing from your list?
One that you are dreaming of?
One that is in your head but which does not feel possible... yet?
Think about it...
You might want to try some “roles” next to your name.
Say: Jennifer, best friend or Jennifer, landscape designer or Jennifer, dancer
Yes. Try some until you find one that, when you put it next to your name, makes you feel excited, happy, motivated...
What is it?
What little step can you take today for this “role” to come into your life?
Wake up! It’s time!
Time for what?
Time to do that thing...
That thing you want to start/stop, create, change, try...
5/10/20/30 minutes is all you need for the first step.
Do it now.
Do it for yourself.
Do it for the people you love.
Do it for your past, present and future.
Do it now. This moment.
When you are done, notice how you feel now that you made a move on that thing.
Tomorrow, take the next step.
You don’t need to know today all the steps you need to take to get to where you want to go.
You just need to know which step to take today.
Go ahead. Do it.
with Mel’s help
p.s.: Tomorrow won’t be too late, but why not make a start TODAY.
p.p.s.: Click here to read my short text: "The perfect moment"
The theme this month, here at with Mel’s help, is:
Try something new!
I hope you have tried a few new things and experiences.
(click to read the exercises for week 1 and week 2)
Here is a list of more ideas of things to try...
This week, it is all about “action/reaction”.
Will you try:
To notice what goes well instead of what goes wrong?
To say yes to life?
To smile more often?
Will you try:
To take a breath before reacting to what someone is saying?
To give someone the benefit of the doubt?
To see things from someone else’s point of view?
To stay calm when driving/...?
Will you try:
To take time to call/visit your parents/friends/...?
To take time to listen to them?
To take time for yourself and being ok with it?
Will you try:
To love your body a little bit more?
To love yourself a little bit more?
To accept and appreciate where you are at in your life?
To be grateful?
Will you try:
To notice what lights up your heart?
To challenge yourself?
To do that thing you don’t think you can do but want to?
Get out of your comfort zone!
On the last day of the month, ask yourself (and take notes):
What new things have I tried?
What have I experienced?
What new reaction have I decided to adopt?
What have I learned?
with Mel's help
As you might now know, the theme this month, here at with Mel’s help is:
Try something new!
Here are some ideas for this week.
Will you try:
This nice restaurant that just opened?
This paddle board thing?
This freeing (or so they say) parachute jumping thing?
Get up at dawn and go for a walk?
Listen to the songs of the birds around you?
Start a new habit?
Visit this neighborhood where you never go? Or that village that you have heard of?
Accept this invitation even though you only know one person who’s going?
Go out by yourself, to a café or restaurant? Or to a movie?
Will you try:
To enjoy yourself a little bit?
To notice when you do?
To breathe deeply more often?
What will you try?
What will you experience?
Get excited! Suprise yourself!!!
Note: come back next Monday for more suggestions.
p.s.: click to read the exercises for week 1 and week 3
This June, the theme here at withMelsHelp.com is:
Try something new !
But there are so many new things to try... Where to start?
Here are some ideas for this week.
Will you try:
A new recipe?
A trendy vegetable (a very exotic one or maybe just a purple carrot...)?
An ice cream flavor other than (your favorite) rum raisin? (Mine is chocolate. There is always a new combination of chocolate ice cream ;))
Will you try:
A sci-fi book instead of a thriller? Or maybe a novel by a French or Italian writer?
Some jazz music? Or maybe a bit of Mozart for a change?
Will you try:
This bright red top?
These flashy shoes?
Those sunglasses that make you feel like a star?
What thing will you try?
More suggestions will come the next two Mondays in June,
and they will be a bit more challenging... or not :)
p.s.: click to read about the exercises in week 2 and week 3
Let’s say you have a goal for 2017.
Be it: losing weight, writing a book, learning to speak Spanish, feeling confident (at last!), etc.
I imagine you, on the first of January and after careful consideration, saying to yourself: “Yes, this is the year when I ___ (insert your goal here)___”.
So, full of excitement, you wrote down your goal on a piece of paper, in your planner, or on a blackboard in your office.
For the first few days of January, you took some steps. You felt good, confident. You were so motivated you could feel that things were going to move for you, at last.
Then you went back to work, normal life took over, you delayed taking the next step, didn’t have time to, and then... you just forgot.
You forgot to check back on your goal, forgot to review what you wrote in your planner, couldn’t see what you wrote on your blackboard anymore as it was now part of the background, lost the piece of paper...
That’s what happens with goals, for most people. Yep.
So here is THE thing... Yes. I am now going to tell you about THE ONE THING you need to do to achieve your goal.
Just one thing to do, 5 minutes per week.*
5 MINUTES PER WEEK.
I am not joking.
But you have to do it! You have to take 5 minutes per week!
If you don’t then, you know, it’s not going to work. Obviously.
Ok. Are you ready? Here it is:
To achieve your goal, that goal that is so important to you that on the first of January you chose it amongst all others, you have to, for 5 minutes per week*:
close your eyes and re-connect emotionally with you goal.
You need to reconnect emotionally with it. Do you know why?
It’s because the driving force of all motivation is an emotion.
And the thing is, it is an emotion that you felt when you chose your goal.
But that initial emotion disappears quickly. That is why we need to reconnect with it.
Now, how do you do that? How do you reconnect with the initial emotion?
By asking yourself the following questions:
What motivated you to choose your goal? Why did you choose it?
How were you feeling before you chose it?
How did you feel after you did choose it?
What did you tell yourself?
What did you think?
Do you remember how easy it was to take the first few steps?
How do you see the results that you want?
How will you feel, what will you see, what will you hear, what will you tell yourself when you get to your goal?
That’s it. That is THE ONE THING to do, and that will take you 5 minutes J
When it is done, all you have to do is choose the step you want to take for the week ahead, and take action.
Try it and let me know what happens
* 5 minutes per week or PER DAY! If you do this exercise every day, things will be rolling for you.
Have you made your bucket list?
You know, that list of the things you want to do before dying (or “kicking the bucket”)?
Written like that, it might seem a bit macabre, but really, it’s not.
We are not here on earth only to go to work, stress and fulfill our duties.
We are also here to learn, grow, enjoy, discover, experience, live, have fun...
By making a bucket list, we remember to dream, we bring into focus, into our consciousness
what is important to us, and when we do so, we get inspired, to take action, and live a more fulfilling life!
It is primordial to make the most of our time on this beautiful planet.
How to make a bucket list
Think of the things that you want to do in your life, whether today, this week, this month, this year,
in the next 5, 10, 20, 30 years...
Things that you want to be, do, have, and most importantly experience.
Things that, if you don’t allow yourself to do, you will feel like you missed something.
Some will be easy to achieve, some will take time, some efforts, others money.
Some will seem crazy, some should take you out of your comfort zone...
Write as many as you can.
Come on, do it now.
Don’t stop until you have 50, or better 100 things on your list.
And... Be specific
It can be: skills (to learn or master), travels, events (to participate in or attend), activities, hobbies, contribution (ex.: volunteering...), etc.
Now, choose one thing that you can do in the short term.
Which first step can you take today to make this one thing happen?
Of course, as time goes by, you can update, change, add and remove things from your list, as long as whatever is on it feels great to you.
But refer to it often. And take action regurlarly!
Let’s make every day count.
with Mel's help / life coaching
Hi! I'm Mel! I am a life coach, not a writer, but I write articles once in a while which you might like... see under Categories below "articles" and "experiments".