By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Therapist Barton Goldsmith takes a look at how we can access some self-healing after a day of disappointment
Tribune News Service
Going to sleep after a tough day can be difficult.
Worry about the near or distant future has contributed to many a sleepless night.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could let go of those bedtime bad thoughts and replace them with ones that are more positive and sleep inducing?
As a child, bedtime prayers were a comfort, and prayers or meditation can help relax you, but perhaps not completely.
When you were young, having Mommy and Daddy gently kiss you goodnight and check for monsters under the bed also really helped. Your parents’ love is what comforted you.
Now that we are adults and have to comfort our own children, how do we get some of that same self-healing after a day of disappointment?
My wife and I like to hold one another and just say “I love you” in as many ways as we can think of, but the other night was different.
We were discussing the problem du jour as we got ready to sleep. We held each other close and reminded ourselves that, no matter what, we would be okay.
Then the thought occurred to me that among all the craziness of the day, we had also shared a magical moment, and I reminded her of it. We both smiled and felt the warmth of the thought and what had happened, and that little realization gave us both greater peace of mind.
Finding something wonderful in the day, even something small, can temper any harshness that may have crossed your path.
So now, before going to sleep, I’ve started asking my darling wife, “Honey, what was the best thing that happened to you today?” And it makes her smile, and we both fall asleep more easily. Just knowing that I have contributed to her inner harmony is enough to make me feel good, and I also share something I thought was amazing in the day.
If you’re not much of a nighttime meditator, and I never have been one, this can be a great tool to get you out of your head. Sharing the best moment of the day can go a long way to helping you see that things are better than you might have been thinking.
And if you don’t have a partner, or if yours is unavailable, just reminding yourself of the best thing that happened can bring you greater inner peace.
This exercise not only helps you sleep but also helps you wake up in a better headspace.
I have noticed that since we have been doing this, I wake up in a better place, not worried about what happened the day before or what’s going to happen when I get out of bed. I know that we are deeply connected, and that’s all that really matters.
Dealing with crisis is exhausting, and it can also keep you from getting the rest you need to battle life‘s demons, so give this little bedtime chat a chance, and see if it doesn’t work for you.
I think you may be surprised how powerful it is to spend just a moment thinking of the good.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)