So it's evening. You go to bed, your mind is racing, you try to relax but to no avail. You toss and turn. Your mind wanders from thought to thought and ends up in a frenzy. It's really disturbing. You just want to sleep but the neurological chemistry in your brain just won't quit.
You need your sleep. You know that if you don't sleep you'll be less effective tomorrow. The minutes turn into an hour and you're still tossing and turning. In our article, "1 Technique To Calm Yourself Fast" we taught you why scientists associated regular breathing techniques to calmness in the brain.
But what if your mind is so stressed out that you can't even focus on your breath? It happens, so we're here to help with a simple trick.
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First you need to understand what's going on.
When you go to bed after a long day, your body may be at rest but your brain isn't. Your brain is still firing thought through its neurons. When those thoughts manifest you pay attention to them with your prefrontal lobe then you start thinking. The cycles repeats over and over, until your plans for rest turn into a nightmare.
Now I'm going to share with you what Christian monks have known for millennia. Realizing that the mental life has to be disciplined they chant mentally and verbally. They employ prayer mantras all day, everyday. The practice of prayer mantras is so embedded in their life that even as they breathe they pray. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
When they go to bed guess what happens. That's right, the brain is still engaged in prayer. Christian monks are among the healthiest longest living people on the planet, and a good night's rest is part of their secret.
The repetitive focus of a mantra allows to the mind to relax which eventually turns into a restful night. The reason why this technique is so effective at night is because the mind cannot concentrate on multiple things at once. When you focus on one thought, or mantra, it takes energy away from the mental wanderings that cause stress.
The beauty of the technique is that you can use any mantra you like. In the Christian Orthodox faith the Jesus prayer is the preferred mantra, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. Have mercy on me a sinner."
You can use any Bible verse, prayer, or Bible affirmation. The following devotionals are affirmations designed to do two things for you. First they help focus your attention on a simple biblical principle. Second, they help change your psychology based on Ephesians 4:2 which allows us to embody Godly attributes.
The first five help you focus on positive personal attributes. The second set of five devotionals help you to focus on God.
I AM Evening Devotionals
- I am patient.
- I am kind.
- I am generous.
- I am loving.
- I am honorable.
- I am embraced by God's love.
- I am saved by God's love.
- I am resurrected by God's power.
- I am improved by God's love.
- I am inspired by God's love.
Evening Devotional Techniques
1. It's important to consider how you're going practice your new found discipline. The first thing to consider is that it's best to practice this technique in bed before falling sleep, so it should be done silently, mentally.
2. Use the tempo of your breath to repeat your devotional as a mantra. As you inhale state the affirmation, and as you exhale, do the same.
3. Pick one or two devotionals from the above list for your practice. It can be any two, it doesn't matter as long you feel they are important to you.
4. Here's how it works. As you inhale, mentally say the first one you picked, for example, "I am loving." As you exhale, mentally say the second one, "I am saved by God's love."
Remember it doesn't matter which two you pick. You can pick the same one twice if you like.
6. Repeat the devotionals as you breathe. If your mind wanders get it back to the meaning of the mantra and focus on that, then continue repeating. Keep focusing.
7. This is the best part. Sleep. Because you took away the energy from the wandering mind you gave your brain a chance to relax by giving it one task to do, not a million. You will naturally fall asleep.
Goodnight.You'll also find it helpful to repeat them throughout the day. Once in a while start "breathing" your mantra. You'll start to feel peace. This is a great way to reinforce your night time practice while influencing your mind throughout the day.
An additional step you can take is to start a Bible study around your devotional keywords. If you do, your Christian meditation will definitely improve as well.
Ready to try it? Start tonight. We would love to hear about your experience, let us know in the discussion box below.
God bless you. We're praying for you everyday. See you in the kingdom.