Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Relaxation Terminology

sunset lake FYI – For now, I’ve decides to blog once a week, see how that goes, and inform you if I decide to make any changes.

I’d like to discuss some general terminology as I understand it. I realized that some of the words I will be using with a great deal of regularity, may in fact mean different things to different people. It is important that you understand what I’m referring to when I use these terms. I often lack consistency with my terminology but I will try very hard to stick to the descriptions I will now lay out. If anyone is unsure of what I mean when I am discussing one of my ideas please let me know, I want to be clear, but I realize that often I’m not.

1. Calm and Relaxation: From this point on when I discuss calm I am referring to a state of mind, when I discuss relaxation I will be referring to a physical state of the body.
2. Anxiety, Stress, and Tension: Anxiety and stress are states of mind, while tension is a physical state of the body.

So let’s look at how these terms interrelate and how they factor into the discussion of sleep. When the mind is calm, our bodies will be more relaxed. When our bodies are more relaxed, our mind is more capable of achieving calm. When the mind is anxious and / or stressed, it in turn causes tension in the body. Conversely, tension in the body can greatly increase levels of anxiety and stress. It’s all interconnected. My nightly goal is to go to bed at night having achieved at least a reasonable degree of calm and relaxation. In order to realize my goal, I have learned to take “time out” throughout the day to check in with my mind and my body. I know that might sound a little NUTS, but it’s important to know when your body’s becoming tense, and correct the problem before it increases stress and anxiety, just as it is necessary to realize when anxiety or stress are causing body tension. It’s a vicious cycle and you have to know whether the body is negatively effecting the mind, or vice-versa.

I’d like everyone to try a little experiment. Set a clock or watch alarm for one hour intervals and do a physical and mental “check in”, determine whether you are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, stress, or tension, if you are, think back on the hours activities and try to determine what the source was and whether physical tension effected your anxiety and stress levels or was it the opposite. I always say “knowledge is power” and have found that by keeping track of my own personal observations, I can now recognize when my body or my mind might be creating a problem that could effect my coming night’s sleep. Once I’m aware of the potential problem, I can try to correct it before it gets beyond my control.

Sorry, I know I’ve been going on too long. General concepts are often vast, but I want to cover the basics before I deal with specifics.

Have a good night, and I hope 6 more follow.
Karen
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Monday, October 22, 2007

Flickr Slideshow

 Hello everyone! Many visitors have written to me saying they love the Flickr Slideshow on the site. There was, however, one very popular suggestion, and that was to implement a fullscreen option. I've now added that option, and also managed to embed the nature sounds mixing board in a more efficient and less obtrusive way.

So please check out the new Relaxing Nature Sounds Mixing board with Flickr Slideshow. I haven't tested in all operating systems and browsers, so please let me know if you find any bugs.

I also want to give a big Thank You to all the Flickr contributors for sharing their wonderful nature photos.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sleep Tips

mountain fog  I hope everyone has slept well! If not, I have a few ideas that might make tonight a little easier for you. I’m going to share my experiences as I experienced them. I would like to address issues at all stages of my battle with insomnia, so the thoughts and ideas will be sharing at first will be very basic. I realize they will seem obvious to some, but I figure… “best to start at the beginning”

As I said last time, I feel that relaxation is key to achieving a good night sleep. The challenge is in learning how to relax in a fast paced world. I find it difficult to not carrying the pace of my day, into my nights. I just can’t slow my brain down. I worry about dead lines, I carefully scrutinize the day’s events, I critically analyze how I dealt with situations. These are character traits I must strive to overcome if I am to ever relax. It is important to recognize the source of your stress or anxiety if you wish to gain control over it. If I go to bed with my brain still in high gear, I can guarantee that I will lie awake obsessing about some current concern. Each time I look at the clock my frustration increases and I begin to obsess not only about what I was previously obsessing about, but about how that obsession is keeping me from going to sleep. This becomes a vicious cycle, and once it begins, I have little or no control to stop it. I often compare my brain, on nights like this, to a hamster feverously racing on an exercise wheel, running to the point of total exhaustion and getting absolutely nowhere. I now know, if I go to bed stressed or preoccupied, I will not sleep. Nightly I struggled to prepare myself for that trip to my dreaded bed until I found the relaxation strategies that best work for me. I started putting on music in the early evening that I knew I found soothing, I took a hot bath, and spent time identifying and considering my accomplishments that day. It took a while to learn not to think about the things I hadn’t accomplished, but with time and practice, I’ve now become quite good at it. I’m aware this is not an instant fix,

Search this site and listen to some of the offerings, they’re really good. And as you listen, don’t try to force yourself to relax. Just allow yourself to experience sounds and take notice of how they make you feel.

For tonight I would encourage you to put on a favorite recording, not loud, and not stimulating, something that just makes you happy when you hear it. See if this helps.

Sound Sleeping,
Karen
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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sleep Disorders

Spiders Web My name is Karen, I’m 45 years old, and have suffered with a chronic sleep disorder for as long as I can remember. I have expended a great deal of time, energy, and study in an attempt to, if not overcome, at least to minimize the occurrences of those long, sleepless nights. I’ve done a great deal of research and with the help and advice from medical professionals, therapists, friends, and family, I have come to better understand my disorder, and develop strategies that help me. I’ve found this site quite helpful and in return I thought I might share some of my experiences with those of you that also come to visit and learn in hopes of a good nights sleep.

As with many disorders, the causes and cures for insomnia vary with each individual, but I do believe that the two most common causes of sleeplessness are stress and anxiety. In my experience it is those busy periods, times of uncertainty, occasions when things of concern are out of my own control that my sleep deprivation is at its most severe, all those times when I need my brain and body working at its best. Life runs at such a fast pace that I often get caught up in it, rather than setting my own course. The key to setting my own course is slowing down, taking time to step back, clear my mind, and breathe; in short, RELAX. What I have discovered is that by taking this time I see ways to increase my productivity and enhance my quality of life. I have found that sound greatly affects my mood and through avoidance of negative sound stimuli, and seeking out positive sound stimuli, I have a control over my stress and anxiety. This sight has provided me with information and resources that have helped me achieve this control. I can’t say that my sleeping disorder has been alleviated, but it has certainly become less severe.

I encourage anyone who is new to SoundSleeping to take some time and investigate it fully. It can really help, and it sure can’t hurt. And please, those of you that have had similar experiences with sleep problems, share with me your thoughts, experiences and strategies. Knowledge is power and I would like to learn to better achieve a “Sound Sleep”.

More later,
Karen
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