Here in Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get all nerdy on you and present some pretty great reasons to start infusing gratitude in your life.
The land that Canada is on was originally occupied, and cared for beautifully, by indigenous people. Since this land was taken over without negotiation, we Canadians could at least be grateful for the life that this land has given us. There is nothing worse that first world problem whining in a land of such prosperity. Ok, said my piece on why gratitude should be a given, but since it still seems to be a difficult task to master, let me tell you what a attitude of gratitude can do for your nocturnal angst.
Often the reason why people have difficulty getting to sleep, and sometimes remaining asleep, is what you think before you go to bed. Scared, fearful, anxious, freakout out thoughts keep you in a state of “fight or flight” in your brain. Seriously! Your brain kinda needs you to be alert if you are gonna use your fists or your legs to run away. So, my suggestion is to do the following:
There are some pretty smart, researchers at the University of Manchester in England who looked at how gratitude might affect people’s snooze time. Their study included over 400 adults of all ages, even some with diagnosed sleep disorders. They asked these folks to complete questionnaires about gratitude, sleep and pre-sleep thoughts, and these people provided some pretty cool information that resulted in the data being smooshed into patterns and trends that showed that gratitude was related to having more positive thoughts, and fewer negative ones, at bedtime. What this means is that gratitude leads to dozing off faster and sleeping longer and better.
*With nerdspeak translations
Gratitude was uniquely related to:
- Total Sleep Quality: multiple measures of how you slept such as brain waves, duration, self-report of how you slept, etc.
- Subjective Sleep Quality: how you thought you slept
- Sleep Latency: fancy word, in sleep science, for the length of time that it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep.
- Sleep Duration: how long you slept as observed by sleep scientists.
- Daytime Dysfunction: your amount of sleep mixed in with how well you function during the day.
Here is an awesome resource, with a free APP :), to get you started on the magical infusion of gratitude in your life.
You can even get weekly free tips sent right to your email. Seriously, stop whining and start noticing what is going well in your life and you will start to sleep better (an then be less whiny). Even I get whiny at times, but I really try hard to balance my negative thinking with expanding my life view by forcing myself to also see what is going well. Trust me, it works 🙂
Surround your gratitude with healthy sleep habits.
I wish you all a weekend of getting some gratitude swirling around your brain . This is the first step to better snoozing’ 🙂
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
Wood A.M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 66 43–48
The Solution to All of Your Problems.
…ok, maybe, but how do I use them?!?
I am definitely guilty of suggesting apps to people without sending along some tips to make using them effective and easy. I have learned that simply suggesting an app to use is not enough. Teaching people how to integrate the technology into their lives is the key to benefitting from what the app has to offer. Any lasting change needs to become part your daily life and your way of being in the world. My suggestion is to be patient, take small steps, be kind when you forget (or fall right off that wagon!) and know that it is only the direction that you are heading, not how fast you get there, that is important
an App into Your Life
I scoured the web to see if there was any information about how to integrate the use of an App into our lives. I found nuthin’, nil, zero, nil, zilch, zip, nada, diddly-squat…
What I did find was a bunch of brilliant lists of suggestions, which is super exciting, but with no tips on the “how” part. So, once you start using these review/suggestion sites, you can find a plethora (I know! cool word!) of app ideas, the next step is to figure out how to use the app and integrate it into your life so that it can create the benefits that you are looking for.
Tips n’ Suggestions
You really need to start with a goal. Goals are what help us get through the painful times. When you feel stuck, you need to be clear about WHY you are doing all this yucky stuff, the stuff that you are procrastinating about, the slogging.
Ask yourself the following: What is it that I want to improve? Why is this important to me? How will this help me to get where I am going and create the life that I want? Where will I insert this change strategy in my life (practice times)?
Here are a few goal setting posts of mine to get you started:
- SMART Goal Setting Tip Sheet
- Emotional Intelligence Building – Self Actualization “Goal Setting”
- Motivation: When Goal Setting is Not Enough
- Goal Setting: Why am I Doing This Again?!?!
- Goal Setting: Pain + Fun = Motivation
Readiness to Change
First and foremost, you need to be ready to change, to grow and take on the sometimes scary task of moving forward with no idea about what the path and outcome will be like. Change is hard; “deciding” to change is the first step.
- Check out a previous post of mine to help you understand your readiness level: Stages of Change
It is important to have an understanding of how YOU work. What your preferences are. There is a personality assessment called the Myers-Brigges Personalty Temperament (MBTI) that is a great place to start on the path to understanding your way of being in this word that is most effective.
Quick explanation of the MBTI…there are 4 scales on the MBTI:
- Extroversion (E) – Introversion (I): Favourite World – Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?
- Sensing (S) – Intuition (N): Information – Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?
- Thinking (T) – Feeling (F): Decisions – When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances?
- Judging (J) – Perceiving (P): Structure – In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?
Free! Take a free version of the MBTI online: CLICK HERE
J-P Scale Interpretation for Life Change:
Judging – Perceiving Scale: The best scale to focus on to help you understand what your ideal circumstances needed to change your behaviour; structure vs flexibility.
When integrating an app into your life…
- Create a timetable and stick to it.
- Allow time to prepare and learn about the app, the features, how it works in your life, what your goals are, etc.
- Select an app that has the option to show your achievements and results. Take time to notice how far you have come, your progress, decisions, self-knowledge and behaviour change reached so far.
- Set smaller goals that lead to your larger goal. Create milestones.
When integrating an app into your life…
- Allow time for things to flow, not necessarily following your calendar, but still be dedicated to “keep trying”.
- Try new new ideas to create possibilities.
- Know that you need time to reflect and be creative.
- Use this app in a way that encourages personal freedom and choice (use some features and not others).
- Realize changes in direction are not necessarily impulsiveness
It takes time to change! Please don’t just try something once and then abandon it. If you are serious about personal growth, you need to allow time for your brain to change and create the neural pathways needed to build this new habit. It can take anywhere from 21 days, to 40 days to 245 days, depending on the person, the habit and the circumstances needed to have the new behaviour stick around. Source: University College of London
- Check out this post by a fellow blogger for more information about building habits: The 21 Days to Build a Habit Myth
Integrating the use of the technology into your life is the key to staying power. If you really want to change, you need to make the commitment to fitting in the strategies, the steps and maintaining the stamina. Yes, my, just now brain brilliance (temporary) approach: 3S’s…SSS! Follow the suggestions above and you will find yourself closer to actually making the app’s wisdom play a positive role in your life.
Make a Mash up!
A mashup is a song or composition created by blending two or more pre-recorded songs, usually by overlaying the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another, to the extent that such works are “transformative” of original content.
Just like your favourite mashup songs, integrate apps into your life with the same philosopical approach. Find the best parts and create something even better that is more personalized to you and your learning goals.
Get Started with This App!
Feel free to message me if you would like some suggestions for apps to try around mental health & wellness 🙂
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
eSuccess-Coach * Counsellor * Passionate Advocate for Student Success