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Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Dec 15th 2010

Over 2 million people struggle from sleep disorders. We can have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or both. A barrage of thoughts often haunts us through the night, “I can’t believe I can’t fall asleep, tomorrow’s going to be horrible, please, please, please fall asleep.” The anxiousness grows as we fall further and further from a restful state of mind. So what can we do when it seems like sleep is an impossibility?

Perhaps we can take a lesson from poet Wendell Berry in his The Peace of Wild Things:

“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s life may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. 
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

One practice that we can develop when have difficulty sleeping is to intentionally and nonjudgmentally bring awareness to where the wild things are. In other words, bringing attention directly to the anxious thoughts and feelings themselves. One of the reasons anxious thoughts continue to spin is because we’re caught up in them relating to the problem of sleep from the anxious thoughts instead of stepping out of the whirlwind of the mind and relating to the anxious thoughts.

Read in Full:  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=41423&cn=100



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