Old Town Crier

Sleepless? Meditate!

By Peggie Arvidson

Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you constantly feeling like you’re forgetting something and then stressing yourself out with worry when you could be enjoying your life?

Congratulations! You’re human in a modern world. Which doesn’t make it any easier, does it? Living with chronic sleep deprivation and stress leads to some really nasty side effects, the least of which is weight gain. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation can lead to physical illness, depression and a general dissatisfaction with the things you thought would make you happy.

So what can you do about it?

Meditate.

Before you shake your head and stop reading, hear me out.

For all the recent press meditation has gotten and all the self-help gurus talking about meditation, it still is mostly misunderstood by busy, stressed-out people like you and me.

For more than a decade teachers, yogis and even a doctor or two recommended that I try meditation. Some were emphatic, “What you NEED Peggie is a meditation practice! Then you’ll feel better!” and others, like one of my doctors were less emphatic, but willing to let me give it a try. When I asked him if meditation could help my chronic illness he said, “It couldn’t hurt.” No necessarily a ringing endorsement, but I was feeling worse and the fact that I was lying awake at night worrying about the course of my illness throughout the rest of my life wasn’t helping. My disease is very connected to stress, and stressing about the disease had me in a never-ending do-loop of physical crises.

Something had to change and I knew it.

The Type-A, good-student that I am went right to the book store and found a book called, “How to Meditate in a New York Minute.” Or something like that. The clerk at the metaphysical bookstore who was ringing up my order just chuckled. I looked him in the eye and gave him a half-smile, “Ridiculous, eh?” I asked. He just smiled again and said, “It IS funny to think that you can get still and meditate quickly!”

What else could I do? I wanted results and I wanted them right away!

You might be surprised to hear that my attempt to learn to meditate didn’t work right then. It was a process of several years before I found a “meditation” practice that worked for me. And it’s still a work in progress.

However, with even novice attempts at slowing down I began to feel a shift. And that’s why I’m a big cheerleader for the practice of meditation, so much so, that I every single one of my clients is given meditation “homework” during our time together.

Pragmatic at the core, I embrace a meditation practice that is useful and truly easy even for the most time-strapped, Type-A, over-scheduled, fast-moving person on the planet. I know it works because I was (and can still be) that person! Here’s my list of excuse-busters to help you get started today:

Alright! It’s your turn now. Be sure to let me know how it turns out!