Applying mindfulness during a sleepless night

Recently I had an amazing experience of mindfulness during a sleepless night.  I drank a little too much tea earlier that day, and as is usual for me when I’m over-caffeinated, I was wide awake at 1am- after only 3 hours of sleep.  And then begun the battle in my head while in bed, where I oscillate between the long list of to-dos for the next day and the fact that I’m so annoyed that I’m awake and can’t sleep.  On this particular night, this battle probably continued for a solid half hour at least, and then all of a sudden I had this realization that my heart was extremely tight and contracted.  The caffeine probably also didn’t help my heart from being a little over-stimulated.  I was pleasantly surprised that I had been able to notice my heart, and decided that I wanted to fully tune into it.  The thoughts still were flying in, but I started noticing that as a new thought would arise in my head, that my heart would contract and tighten.  So I started breathing to focus my energy on my heart. Every time I felt a tightening or had a thought, I would take a breath and felt the tightness in my heart soften.  With each breath, the thoughts started slowing down and my heart felt softer and softer and softer.  Eventually the thoughts disappeared, and I drifted back off to sleep.

This was an incredibly powerful experience of mindfulness and body-sense awareness. Up until this point, I hadn’t experienced how the body can really be a mechanism for the internal state of our mind.  Since having this experience, I am more in tune with my heart as a way to check in on how I am feeling.  I’m realizing that as a “hyper-efficient” person, I have a tightness around my heart more often than I probably should, so I am now being more mindful about how my heart feels at different points during the day.

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