Can’t sleep? Try gratitude
I often enjoy the blogs of Leslie Sann. She is a joyologist – practices positive psychology which focuses on joy, resilience and strength. She has authored the guidebook, The Art of Spiritual Resilience.
In her recent blog, Happy for my Happy, she talked about gratitude as the great transformer. She shared this experience: “I opened my email last night and there was an unexpected request that knocked me off balance. I found my stomach rolling and a deep anxiety arising in me. The email made an unclear request and how I am to respond was uncertain to me. In the face of the unknown fear was triggered.”
She continued, “In bed that night I found myself rolling around in the disturbance and I fell into it completely. Holding myself close with my loving attention I reminded myself that life is FOR me and this too is an opportunity and a gift, even if I don’t know what it might be. I COULD choose to be grateful for my current discomfort. And so I was. As I sat in the energy of gratitude possibilities revealed themselves and I could see the positive potential of the situation, I was calmed and able to fall asleep.”
She finished with this counsel, “Even in the midst of adversity, even if what is going on is not what we want to be experiencing, we can trust our ability to meet every challenge with resilience, courage and strength when we choose an attitude of gratitude.”
This is reminiscent of St. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5: 18).
I am reminded of an experience I had recently. As I was getting ready to go to bed, a great sense of anxiety flooded my thinking. I became overwhelmed by a huge amount of work that I had to accomplish. I also became feverish and then had chills. I felt so totally overwhelmed. But I reached a point when a sentence from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy came strongly to
thought. It states, “The spiritual reality is the scientific fact in all things” (p. 207). That statement brought me so much comfort, I was so grateful for the release from anxiety it brought me, and I fell asleep.
In the next few days, that statement meant to me that God’s love for me was the spiritual reality, able to help me accomplish all I needed to do and to also make me well. It did.
Experiences like Leslie’s and mine help us stretch our thinking, as our experiences expand. Many of us face times when we feel a great foreboding or have something strange confront us. Many of us don’t like change of any kind. Especially at night, these feelings can overwhelm us and keep us from falling asleep. But that discomfort can be a time to stretch our gratitude, love or even our receptivity to God’s authority.
In his book, It’s Your Time, Joel Osteen wrote, “You’re a fully loaded person using about 10 percent of what God has given you. I want to stir you out of complacency.
“If you are not uncomfortable once in a while, then you’re not really using your faith. Faith is all about stretching. Your obstacles, challenges, and opportunities may seem intimidating, but God would not have presented them to you if He had no known already that you have what it takes” (p. 253).
If some foreboding thought presents itself when you are going to bed and taking rest seems impossible, try these solutions: express gratitude for the experience, realize God’s love for you is provable in every situation and stretch your faith.