Insomnia is a tricky beast to defeat. You can keep yourself hydrated, exercise regularly, completely cut out coffee, sleep in total darkness, and yet still find yourself fully awake when you’re supposed to be asleep.
This is because insomnia is usually caused by several varied factors that affect several aspects of your life. In order to have a real chance at beating insomnia, you need to open yourself to certain calming activities that might be able to suppress some of the factors preventing you from easily falling asleep.
Giving form to lifeless clay can be a very rewarding and relaxing experience. To start practicing pottery, all you need is some clay, an electric potter’s wheel, your own two hands, and a place in your home where you can get messy.
You’ll also need a very sturdy table that can take the pressure of kneading the clay. Much like in baking, you need to knead the clay in order to ensure the consistency of the batch. When you get the privilege of watching a master potter in action, you can see how kneading itself can be a repetitive, intensely focusing, and calming act – similar to meditation. It’s also a good mild workout for your hands and arms.
After properly kneading the batch of clay that you’re going to use, you can set it up on the potter’s wheel.
Keep a cup or bowl of water nearby – applying water to clay softens certain parts and allows for more malleability. To control the amount of water on the spinning clay, you can use a sponge or a piece of cloth.
As you mold the clay to your desired shape, do not depend on just your hands and eyes. The dexterity of your hands depends a lot on your posture as you sit and work. Breathe in to lengthen your spine, and when you breathe out, let your spine stay in that position.
This allows your lower back and core muscles to support your spine, letting your hands work with utmost dexterity. Keeping all of this in mind as you’re forming your first clay bowl is a very calming and focusing exercise. And the more you do it, the better you’ll become at achieving the relaxed state you need to make better clay pots with your hands.
#2 Longboard/Skateboard Cruising
Skating isn’t just for bored teens or kids who want a little danger in their lives. In fact, the reality is the opposite: at its core, skating is all about balance, focus, fun, and relaxation.
You can achieve all that by just focusing on the most basic aspect of skating: cruising. While it’s easier to cruise on a longboard because its size makes it more stable, regular shorter skateboards can also be used for cruising just as well.
The first step to cruising on either a longboard or skateboard is finding your stance. Are you a goofy or a regular?
The goofy or unorthodox stance means that your right foot is at the front of the board. Regular is the opposite, with the left foot in front and the right foot doing the pedaling. Once you find the stance that’s easier for you to skate with, cruising is going to be a breeze.
When you focus on just cruising and not doing tricks on a longboard or skateboard, you won’t need to stress out about perfecting certain moves or worry about wiping out.
Even just cruising or riding on your board can be hard to pick up at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize just how relaxing it can be. When you get used to cruising, you can enter a state of mind where it’s just you, your board, the open road, an nothing else – no job, no insomnia, no anxiety.
Just remember that longboard cruising is just as good at melting away time as it is at melting away anxiety – feel free to lose yourself in this activity, but do still try to keep track of the time.
#3 Muay Thai
This ancient Thai martial art is all about power, technique, speed, and aggression. Also known as The Art of 8 Limbs, one of its basic tenets is that the human body has 8 lethal weapons: 2 fists, 2 elbows, 2 shins, and 2 knees.
As you can probably surmise, it’s a pretty intense full-body workout that can develop strength, speed, and endurance. However, what most people don’t realize is that it’s also a great way to sharpen one’s mental focus.
If you position your body in the proper stance, breathe out as you throw a strike, and twist and move your body according to the prescribed physical technique, every fiber of your being is focused on throwing that single strike. In that moment, nothing else matters but your form and how it translates to an expression of pure physical power.
Apart from the calming effect of having to utilize every bit of focus that you can muster, the act of releasing power through your bones and muscles is a fantastic way to release aggression, which is another possible cause of insomnia.
Keep Your Mind and Body Open
Don’t be afraid to try somewhat strange and alternative treatments to insomnia. From the most relaxing traditional arts like pottery to the aggression-fueled Art of 8 Limbs, you never know where you can derive focus, calm, and relaxation. Insomnia may be a formidable beast, but with an open mind and healthy body, you might just be able to lay that beast to rest.
Randy Vera is a freelance writer, licensed nurse, and sleep enthusiast from Los Angeles, California. After traveling through SE Asia to learn of his heritage, he joined a few of his colleagues at One Bed Mattress. He practices Zen meditation daily and prefers living a natural health lifestyle.