To start with, think about your breathing. Keep it regular and slow. As you breath in think to yourself “sea” and as you breathe out think “shore”. Get a rhythm going. While you’re doing this imagine you’re standing at the edge of the sea looking down at your feet. As you breathe in and think “sea” imagine the small waves running over your feet as a small wave breaks and then, as you breathe out and think “shore” imagine the water retreating back to the sea. See the water as it goes back towards the sea and see the sand that is left behind. Feel that your feet are now on their own little mounds of sand as the sea has washed the surrounding sand away. Repeat.
Now, if you’re like me you’ll be thinking of a hundred other things at the same time. Maybe trying to work out what’s for tea, how to pay off your loan, you’ve just remembered the kids need a packed lunch for school the next day, mentally writing a presentation. Perhaps you’ve just finished work, it’s late and you haven’t had time to wind down properly so your head is swimming with figures. Whatever it is you need to concentrate. That might sound silly – having to concentrate to get to sleep. The natural reaction is to try and relax but if you relax all the worries come flooding back and make you more anxious. You need to concentrate on just two words.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t keep your breathing regular. What matters is that you say “sea” and “shore” to yourself as you breathe in and out. Really concentrate. Think the words as loudly as you can to drown out all the other stuff that keeps coming back to you. Also try to see the little waves lapping at your feet and then the sand as they go back out again. Concentrate as hard as you can on keeping the breathing, the words and the pictures all together. Don’t try to add anything else. Don’t try to count how many times you do this before you drop off. Just keep with the breathing, saying and seeing. It should soon settle into a rhythm but you might not notice. You’ll probably be asleep.