My husband has been reading the Hunger Games trilogy and recently brought home the movie. It was late when we stopped the movie – to be completed the following evening.
I couldn’t sleep. There was this innocent girl stuck in a game which involved 24 young men and women with the last one standing to be the victor. Who would want to win such an event? Yet who wants to live? My mind was racing even though I knew she was going to survive.
The following evening I watch the conclusion of the movie, then watched some of the extras, then chatted with my hubby about it before going to bed, and went to sleep quickly.
I am sure that it was not just pure exhaustion – from hardly sleeping the night before – that allowed me to go to sleep easily. I was relaxed; my heart was no longer racing; I had answered most of my questions. I was at peace with the story – as much as one can be with a story that centered on themes including war, death, control, survival….
How is this explained?
Our minds are naturally drawn towards resolution. We like closure, that feeling of completeness. So much so that our mind will have a go at filling the gaps for us when we don’t know for sure. These gaps are filled based on previous experiences, existing facts and attempts from our minds to connect the dots. Even though I knew the main character was going to live the how’s, what’s and where’s were not all answered. The first evening my mind was busy working towards resolution.
Some other contributing factors to my difficulty in going to sleep that evening included:
Watching TV. TV right before bed is not recommended for many reasons, including the backlit screen.
An elevated heart rate. When your heart rate is up, as mine was on the first evening, your body is more alert and ready for action rather than sleep.
Practices to help you reach resolution
This is not just about watching exciting movies before bed – there are many other things, events, situations, decisions, projects etc that can get our minds working hard. Here are some ideas for working with your mind towards resolution.
Writing or journaling. Get out a pen and without thinking too much about it write what is in your head. Write down the words freely as they come to you. You may be surprised by the clarity you discover at the end.
Meditation. Sit in a quiet space and focus on your breathing. When a thought arises, notice it and let it go and return your awareness to your breathing. Pose yourself a question about something you would like greater clarity on. The let the question go. Trust that an answer will come when you are ready. Return your awareness to your breathing.
Slow down. Fitting a lot into your week limits your natural time for reflection.
Get enough sleep. Some natural resolution occurs in our mind while we are asleep. That is why you hear people say “I’ll sleep on it”.
Make a to-do list. Lists are great because they free your mind to focus on the task at hand instead of trying to remember all the things you need to do. A freer mind can more easily find resolution.
Talk to someone. Speak with a trusted friend, or see a counsellor. Speaking with someone else about our concerns or decisions we need to make can help us see them more clearly and can often help with bringing resolution to an issue.