May 12, 2022

How to Quiet Your Mind Before Bed

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by April Kaiserlian, co-founder of the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness. Together, they discuss how we can quiet our mind before bed.

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

    • Why our minds ramp up and race as we’re turning in for the night.
    • What we can do to ease our minds before bed.
    • Tips on how to get back to sleep if we wake up in the middle of the night.
    • When we should seek out professional help if we’re consistently experiencing sleepless nights.

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica:
This is A Healthier Michigan podcast episode 106. Coming up, we discuss what we can all do to quiet our minds to get a good night’s rest.

Chuck Gaidica:
Welcome to A Healthier Michigan podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can improve our health and wellbeing through small, healthy habits we can start implementing right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica. And every other week, we’ll sit down with a certified expert to discuss topics that cover nutrition, fitness, a lot more. And today, mindfulness, and more than that too. On this episode, we’re diving deeper into ways that we can calm our racing thoughts as we turn in for the night. With us today is the co-founder of the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness, April Kaiserlian. Good to have you with us.

April Kaiserlian:
Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, let’s talk a little bit about your background because you’re a psychotherapist. You’re in a private practice, right?

April Kaiserlian:
Correct.

Chuck Gaidica:
And I know that you focus on experiential therapy and creative and contemplative therapy. And then there is a little background on you that indicates that you love color. You love to focus on what’s old, what’s new, what’s odd, what’s normal. And that sounds like you’re appealing to all of us.

April Kaiserlian:
Yes. I suppose you could say that. Yes. Appealing to everybody.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. We’re all going to have a little something. So there you are as the co-founder of the Center for Mindfulness. Give us a definition, I guess, first off. What is mindfulness?

April Kaiserlian:
Mindfulness is learning to train your attention to be in the present moment. There’s nothing wrong with the past or the future. We need an awareness of those too. We live in the present moment and so mindfulness helps us to be a little more here.

Chuck Gaidica:
Okay. So we want to be present in the moment, which is awesome. But sometimes we also get stuck in other places, right? We either are ruminating about the past maybe, or we’re worrying about the future. I guess those would be two interesting examples. So how do we get ourselves unstuck? Because oftentimes we go to bed preparing for a great night’s sleep and then there’s just something that’s keeping us awake.

April Kaiserlian:
Yeah. So first of all, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re not broken. Your brain is in fact doing its job. So I want you to think of your brain and body as input and output machines. So think of it as simple as you breathe in, you have to breathe out. Anytime we take in something, something needs to go out. Now, the problem with modern culture is that we have possible inputs and are swamped with inputs all day long. So then you lay down at night and you’re saying to yourself, “Ah, I need to go to sleep.” And your brain is like, “Oh, finally, I can do some output here.” And it does exactly what it’s designed to do. So mindfulness can help us become more aware of our need for the output end of things throughout the day. That is where the sleep hygiene actually begins is during the day. But again, remind yourself that you are not broken. Your brain is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, that’s good to know. And I think the other part of this is that sometimes I would say me, I don’t think everybody makes an assumption that if I’m laying down to go to sleep and it’s happened, or even when I wake up, right? I wake up too early and then I know I want to go back to sleep, but all of a sudden something else kicks in and I’m having trouble getting back to sleep. That it’s maybe a bad thing. And for some, just again, an example for myself, I’m entrepreneurial. So I’ll get some ideas and I’ll think, oh man, I should write those down. Years ago I remember I had a hack. I read somewhere, put a little shoebox, a little box next to the bed with a bunch of post-its. And if you get an idea, write it down, throw it in the box, and then it’s still safe, but it’s gone away from your mind. Is there a way we can practice some of those things that aren’t physical necessarily, where we can really just put that stuff on a shelf so we can get in the moment?

April Kaiserlian:
Well, there are daytime tactics or routines, and then there are helpful nighttime ones. Which ones do you want me to start with?

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, do you think we need to start during the day to set us up for a good night’s rest? Yeah, I guess we could do that. What should we be thinking about during the day to set us up for success? And then we’ll go into the nighttime habits. How’s that?

April Kaiserlian:
That sounds good. So during the day, while most people do associate mindfulness with quieting the mind, and that is often a byproduct of mindfulness, it’s important for most people to remember that it’s actually very difficult to quiet the mind. I’ve been on this journey for over 12 years now and I am not immune to the constant inputs that happen myself. I don’t really try to quiet my mind anymore. The brain is very fast moving. So it’s a moving target you could say. But what I have experientially found with myself and many of the people that I work with, you can focus on your body, which is far more slow moving. So you might think of it this way. When your mind is racing, likely there is also a lot of muscle tension going on in your body. And while it’s difficult to slow down the mind, most people can become much more aware and more easily of tension in the body.

April Kaiserlian:
So as a meditation teacher, a lot of people think that I sit and I focus on my breath to quiet my mind. Actually what I do is I might start with my breath, but I actually focus on my body. So if I’m going to sit for three minutes to practice a mindfulness, or 10 minutes or 15 minutes, I focus on my breath for a moment or two. But then what I do is I actually sit there and I soften the muscle tension in my body. And I do that formally as a meditation practice.

April Kaiserlian:
Because again, most people in our modern culture, we absorb and hold so much physical tension that you cannot get the mind to slow down when the body is racing or vice versa. The body is just a little easier to soften than the mind. And so then what I do informally all day long is I soften my body. Can I drive with a little less tension? Can I make my coffee with a little less tension? Can I talk to my kids with a little less tension? And that is what I actually monitor throughout the day. This then impacts how I approach myself at night as well.

Chuck Gaidica:
So then you’re getting ready to go to sleep. We hear about everything from different kinds of light being emitted from devices. I mean, what are you doing now to set yourself up in a similar fashion? Are you going through a mindfulness practice just before you’re falling asleep? Give us some good ideas there.

April Kaiserlian:
Yeah. So again, I am not going to set myself apart from everybody else. I am a very normal human. I just happen to have a set of tools that are a little bit more available to me. I’ve been teaching and practicing for long enough now. I do something at night, again, I’m like everybody else. I might be on my phone till the last minute because I came across something I’m interested in. And no, it’s not great for sleep hygiene. But when I put my phone down and I turn it off, turn off the light, what I do is I lay in bed for a few minutes. And again, I might notice my thinking mind, but I go to softening the muscles throughout my body. I actually call it my bedtime facelift. Truly. I will save a lot of people money in this way. If you really cue in, you’re probably holding a lot of tension, right between the eyes, right between the forehead or the eyebrows, in your muscles of your jaw.

April Kaiserlian:
I mean the face just it… What do they say? By the time you’re 50, you have the face you deserve? We hold a lot of tension in our face muscles and I will lay there for a few minutes and I will just soften as much as I can throughout my body. So again, now that’s building on my daytime practice too. So that comes a little more naturally to me, but it’s like I’m laying down and I’m sending myself this signal. I do not need to have all this tension. And so then I’m more easily able to fall asleep. Now I have middle of the night habits too, that I’d love to share.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. So when you say middle of the night, does that mean that you’re getting another burst of energy that’s waking you up? Why would you even need something middle of the night?

April Kaiserlian:
Again, I have middle of the night thoughts, worries, concerns. Again, the brain is doing exactly what it should do and when I, or you, fall asleep and we’re offline, our defenses are down. We’re unguarded. Again, the brain is often like, “Oh great. I can finally do some of these other tasks.” Now we want to get away from that and do more of that outputting, you could say, during the day, but it happens to all of us at night. So I came up with three A words that I want to give you. So one is you could say acceptance and I would say compassionate acceptance. I’m also a self-compassion teacher. And when I went through a two year period where I was struggling with a lot of grief and I had a lot of wakefulness at night, my own meditation teacher said to me, “April, how you treat yourself in the middle of the night is probably your most important practice right now.”

April Kaiserlian:
And she was absolutely right. Most people will be very harsh with themselves. And you can imagine what that does to the tension and the body and the mind. So acceptance is the first piece. You just say to yourself, “Of course, I’m having these thoughts in the middle of the night. My brain’s got some time finally,” and you can hear the tone in my voice there. The second piece would be a little bit of what you alluded to, acknowledging. Acknowledge the thinking. It might seem bizarre or out of place or concerns or worries you haven’t thought about in a long time, but acknowledge and say, “Okay, you know what? I’m going to give these thoughts some time tomorrow when I’m awake,” but acknowledge them. This is where if you need to, you could get up and jot them down as a placeholder. It’s also great if you can just stay kind of dozing and you say, “Okay, I will take care of those thoughts tomorrow,” but again, you’re not going to beat yourself up.

April Kaiserlian:
You’re not going to determine if they’re valid or invalid. They need some attention, but during the waking hours. And then finally commit to some action. Very briefly in your mind, say, “Okay, again, I will commit to revisiting these thoughts tomorrow.” You might commit to, “I think I need to talk to my therapist or a friend.” You might also commit to napping. That was one of the most vital practices that I incorporated into my life when I was struggling with a lot of sleeplessness.

Chuck Gaidica:
Now that’s counterintuitive, right? Some people would say, “Well, wait a minute. If I take a nap, there’s no way I can go to bed on time at night. I’m already rested during the day.” You’re saying that actually helps you.

April Kaiserlian:
It helps me. And it continues to immensely. Again, I went through a couple of years of regular restlessness. And one of my continued sleep habits is this. If I’m awake in the middle of the night, struggling with some thoughts or difficult emotions, again, there’s that compassionate acceptance. And I will literally scan my schedule the next day and say, “Okay, is there a place where I could rest for a little bit? And if not, can I take something out of my schedule?” Now I was a former not liking to nap kind of person. I hated napping. I will tell you I can take a nap in anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 minutes now. And it’s one of the most compassionate things I do to myself in the middle of the night. Just say, “Hey, sweetie, here’s a spot tomorrow where you can rest.” And I really encourage people to advocate for this in their lives.

Chuck Gaidica:
Wait, I’m going to start calling myself sweetie. That’s the first part of acceptance for me. That’s going to be a good one. But I went through a period of grief too. 2019, I lost both of my parents back-to-back within about four and a half months. And then there was all the legal, all that stuff that comes about. So I’m laying in bed and I’m thinking. And I think what you’re saying I found to be helpful for me, I acknowledged it. I didn’t push it down, put it in the cellar somewhere, and just suck it up and I’ll be okay. I think part of what you’re saying is that too, right? When you acknowledge you are not bearing this, which am I wrong? It doesn’t have as much chance of creeping back up or lurking later if you’re acknowledging it along the way. Does that make sense?

April Kaiserlian:
Absolutely. Yeah, that is what I would call, it’s good mental hygiene. Most of us are in the habit of trying to push these things away. We’ve gotten a lot of cultural messaging, societal messaging around how to deal with things that are painful and difficult. And while it’s a bit counterintuitive to offer oneself compassionate acceptance, especially in the middle of the night, is profoundly helpful. I think of it as again, good mental hygiene. And it’s been said, there’s a mindfulness practice called Soften, Soothe, and Allow. And allowing is mentally compassionate. And yes, I do call myself sweetie or sweetheart. That comes from one of my meditation teachers. It wasn’t always a habit, but it is now. I’m very, very gentle with myself around these things.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Well, that’s nice though. I mean, that is a good way to give yourself a hug on top of everything else. So here we are. So you’ve already saved us money. I don’t have to get Botox because now I’m going to unfurl my brow.

April Kaiserlian:
Yes, yes, yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
At night, right?

April Kaiserlian:
You’re getting the idea.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. I’m going to loosen my shoulders while I’m laying there. I’m going to soften up physically.

April Kaiserlian:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
And so now it’s time to work on the mental or the sleep hygiene part. What am I now going to start to do to quiet my mind? How do I start to dial it down a little bit?

April Kaiserlian:
Well, this is again where I would say your body is your friend. The brain is so fast moving. It’s designed to do that. Your body is much more slow moving. You can also think of mindfulness as brain training or attention training. So we have a very strong tendency to go toward the thinking mind. That is one place where you can put your attention. You can also put your attention on your body. So it’s a little bit like think of it this way. Mindfulness is like this. Let’s say you’re reading a book and you hear a noise in the other room. You look up from the book and your attention is drawn to the other room. Now you can redirect your attention back to the book. Now that is what essentially mindfulness is at its foundation. So when I lay down to go to sleep at night, my attention may be drawn to my thinking mind.

April Kaiserlian:
Again, I don’t beat myself up about that. I have a mind that is full. I redirect my attention to a pleasant sensation in my body. That could be the coolness of the sheets against my skin. It could be an enjoyable sound that’s in the room like a fan. Now the attention will go back to thinking, because thinking is very sticky and redirecting the attention back to a place in the body, something in the room, the environment that is not thinking. Now you might have to do that quite a few times. And again, you’re training a muscle there. Might not be strong at first, but with repetition, we can strengthen our capacity to shift our attention.

April Kaiserlian:
So that’s where I would say to you. I don’t really worry about quieting my mind so much anymore. I know how to shift my attention, pretty much at will. The paradox here is if I’m tired or sick or really stressed out, you’re going to have less strength in that muscle naturally. So again, that’s not a function of a person being broken. It’s just going to take a little more time.

Chuck Gaidica:
And maybe some of us do that and don’t even recognize that you’re able to assign value to it as a good routine. You find that the coolness of the pillow and I’m like, “Oh, man, this is just the best.” And when it’s not cool anymore, I turn it over and, “Oh, man, this is just the best.” So I think some of us have those routines and we don’t recognize them as being “healthful,” but indeed we are settling ourselves down for a good night’s sleep, right?

April Kaiserlian:
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I would say, try to recognize those habits you already have and build on those.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, that’s really good. And I think, I don’t know why this popped in my head, but I was thinking of my wife. And when you were talking about softening your shoulders. And she actually apologized, we have five kids and now four grandkids. And so a habit I know for both of us is we’ll go to bed praying, right? And so she’s apologized to the youngest of our kids, our youngest daughter, because she’ll say, “Sometimes I get so comfortable I fall asleep before I got to your name.” Sounds kind of funny to say it.

Chuck Gaidica:
And so now, as you’re talking about all these healthful ways of calming the mind and bringing it down, it is interesting that when you go to bed being grateful and thinking about others and how grateful you are for them in your life and in this case, praying for them, I’m working the same way independent of my wife. I’m going through this list in my mind. And there are some times where I think it’s worked so well that I’ve calmed myself or I wake up the next morning and I think, wow, I’ve got to pick up with Riley again because I didn’t get through the list. But what that’s telling me as you’re describing this is that actually there’s healthfulness in this routine because it’s working, right? Even though we had to pick up Riley tomorrow morning.

April Kaiserlian:
Yes. Absolutely. And I’m glad you brought prayer up as an example of good sleep hygiene, a way of caring for your heart, mind, and spirit, I would say. There is a practice of meditation called Passage Meditation. And just as I can shift my attention from thinking to non-thinking aspects of my experience, you can also shift your attention in your own thinking mind. The brain can really only hold one thought at a time. And so some people may pray or go through a gratitude list in their mind.

April Kaiserlian:
Again, you are determining the shape of your thoughts there. And passage meditation is where you memorize a certain passage. It could be a favorite piece of poetry. It could be a favorite prayer and you could fall asleep. I would encourage you again, soften the muscles in your face and in your body. And then you repeat whatever this favorite passage is until you fall asleep. And then you can use that same technique in the middle of the night. Again, you’re telling your mind, “Thank you. Now is not a good time for those other thoughts.” And you shift your attention to something that is helpful and supportive.

Chuck Gaidica:
Interesting. So if you do get that jolt in the middle of the night, in my case, it could be because literally we have a two dog night. We have two dogs that love to be at the foot of the bed or the one who tends to spoon me if I lay sideways. So if you do get the jolt and it’s not the dog and you do wake up abruptly, right? This idea of calming, going back to something that you know can soften the thoughts, because you’ve already gone through the practice of working on the face muscles and getting relaxed physically, right? And that happens to us a lot. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we have no idea why we woke up.

April Kaiserlian:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So again, you can shift even the content of the mind. And that’s not to say you’re fixing all of your problems or pretending like they’re not there, but we do have a lot more say over the chatter in our minds. And we can replace it with more helpful chatter in the middle of the night.

Chuck Gaidica:
That’s interesting. Yeah. That’s really interesting that we can replace that with more positive thoughts, more gratitude, cetera. Can you override those other bad thoughts, et cetera? Is there a way that you can literally bring more peace to your life by positive thoughts versus negative thoughts, et cetera?

April Kaiserlian:
That’s a good question. I would say it’s a little bit of both. If negative thoughts are sticky, then there’s often something there that needs your attention, that needs your care. That needs to be taken seriously. Now again, a lot of us are so critical or judgemental of our own thinking mind. We have a hard time making that step to say, “Hey, I think something’s bothering me here. And I do think I need help with this.” So we have to take those things seriously. And it’s a both and, right? We can also train our minds to move toward what is lovely and good in our lives, because the reality is, it’s less that we can experience one or the other. Life is a constant mixture of pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow.

April Kaiserlian:
And really we’re learning to navigate both at the same time. Again, we live in a culture that wants to replace all negativity or all pain with positivity and pleasure, but that is impossible. And that causes people pain to think that they could live that way, sometimes called toxic positivity. It’s learning to graciously accept both. And I once came across a beautiful article, it was called Paradoxical Gratitude. It’s a gratitude that allows you and I to acknowledge what is beautiful in our lives and to acknowledge what is painful. One does not have to negate the other. And too often we do that. I see that a lot in my practice. I call it the gratitude hammer.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, interesting. Yeah. And that kind of falls under one of those As you talked about acknowledging, right? You’re acknowledging the positive as well as the bad stuff maybe.

April Kaiserlian:
Absolutely. Acknowledge the mixture.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, you may have heard one of the dogs I have with me, she always comes in to record and she decided to wake up. So it’s ironic that she’s actually going through her mindfulness practice, shaking her head here just a minute ago in case you heard her. So let’s talk about this idea that I know you talked about. I want to back up for just a minute. During our day things we can do, but if we just rewind the clock to just, I don’t know, two hours before bedtime. We’ve had episodes that we’ve talked about the physical things we should be practicing. Not eating right up to bedtime. You don’t want to have half the Girl Scout cookie box and then say, “Oh, time for bed.” That may not be a good idea with a cup of coffee. But what are the things that you would say we should practice that lead up to bed that we can really, again, employ in our lives that will help us?

April Kaiserlian:
Well, in all honesty, I don’t know that – the classic ones, like you said, I don’t drink caffeine later in the day. But sometimes I might eat later at night or kind of be busy right up till bed. Again, I have a very full life like anybody else. And so a lot of the kind of classic information right now is yes, prepare for bed two hours before bed. So you want to begin to wind down those inputs so that you can start the output process. You’re giving your brain some room to begin to process the day. You might even sit down an hour before bed for even just five minutes to review your day. So you can, at that point, write down anything that’s stressful. And again, that acceptance of, of course, this is stressful. I’m going to acknowledge it and I can take some action tomorrow.

April Kaiserlian:
So to do the output process sooner is ideal. But again, I actually am focusing on trying to give you practices that I do right when I climb into bed, because I often climb into bed at the end of a very busy day. But the primary thing that I found is helpful is softening that muscle tension all day long. I think of it as the physicality of thinking. There’s the thinking mind, and there is always a mirror in the body in terms of muscle tension that reflects back the tension of our thinking minds. And so softening your body throughout the day and then again, doing some of that earlier in the evening, of course. I mean, gosh, that’s like bonus, right? That’s beautiful when a person can do that. I just recognize that most people, their lives are not designed that way.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Yeah. So you’ve referenced your practice several times. How do we know for ourselves or a spouse or anyone, even one of our kids because sometimes kids have this trouble too, when we should seek professional help? What are the signs that we’re having trouble that goes beyond us being able to even accept some of the practices you’ve discussed today?

April Kaiserlian:
Yeah. I’m so glad you’re asking that question. One would be, if you climb into bed and you start to have a habitual anxiety about falling asleep. You’re nervous about falling asleep. You actually want to uncouple that association early on. And so that’s where talking to a healthcare provider, sometimes gentle, natural sleep aids can help uncouple that anxiety from bed. You don’t want that association to get solidified because it gets harder to uncouple it as it goes along. So if you start to notice that a week or two in a row, then contact your healthcare provider. And that’s also where contacting a therapist can be really helpful because often our intrusive thinking is our brain trying to get our attention about something that needs to be taken care of. And I would say to you, most of us cannot do that alone.

April Kaiserlian:
We need someone to bear witness, to hear our stories. Most people have a very difficult time affirming that they’re struggling in any way. And so to meet with a mental health professional, who can say, “Oh gosh, of course, this is difficult for you. And I’m going to sit here with you and we’re going to untangle this together.” One of the primary things I find myself saying to many of my clients is, because a lot of people will try to defend their pain or defend against it with what is good in their lives. It’s the classic like, “But so much is good in my life. I shouldn’t be struggling in this way.”

April Kaiserlian:
And I have to often work with the word “and.” You have so many good things in your life and you are struggling. And so we are going to attend to that struggle together. But a lot of people have, there’s a “but” there. I’m struggling, but so much is good in my life. And they use it to try to cancel it out and that doesn’t work. So seek out help from your medical doctor or a mental health professional if you start to associate that anxiety with laying down. If that’s happening regularly, again, reach out.

Chuck Gaidica:
And I’ve seen even in my own family dynamic with my late father, that there was so much energy expended in… He couldn’t sleep the night, he’d get up, he’d move to the couch. Then he couldn’t sleep on the couch and he’d get… But a lot of that was actually just a function of ruminating. The energy that he must have been expending laying there thinking about something over and over, you would think that that would actually tire him out enough where he would go to sleep. And in his case, that was not the situation, which was sad to see a cycle developed that eventually he was able to get some help. But it was just really interesting to watch it occur because those physical manifestations you’re talking about, they can become a real thing.

April Kaiserlian:
Yes, absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica:
You’re just moving around the house at night when you’re not supposed to be.

April Kaiserlian:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, what are some takeaways that you can give us that we can all put on our mental list at least to get a good night’s sleep and make sure we’re staying restful for the night?

April Kaiserlian:
Again, begin to attend to your body during the day. At the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness, we have classes starting again in June. We have a mindfulness-based stress reduction course. We also have a mindful self-compassion class. I cannot emphasize the compassionate piece enough and the body centered approach. And then I suppose what I’d like to leave you with are some of my favorite words from one of my teachers, Sylvia Boorstein. She’s a psychotherapist and she’s been teaching mindfulness and self-compassion for probably close to 50 years. And when Sylvia is struggling, and you can offer this to yourself in the middle of the night or anytime during the day, she’ll put her hand on her heart. That’s a form of soothing touch. Most adults forget they can do that.

April Kaiserlian:
And she says these words. She says, “Sweetheart, you are struggling. Relax, take a breath. And then we’ll figure out what to do.” And I want you to imagine for a moment, imagine talking to yourself like that in the middle of the night, let alone during the day when you’re struggling, I meet almost nobody who does that naturally, but it can become more of a natural habit to approach oneself without aggression and actually with compassionate acceptance.

Chuck Gaidica:
And you’re saying this and as a guy, I’m trying to think of a new word for me to use for myself. I don’t know if I would call… I did a drive thru the other day for coffee and somebody called me honey. And it was like, wow, it’s not even PC anymore, right, that that could possibly happen? And yet it was kind of a delightful thing to hear. It wasn’t flirtatious. It was nothing like that.

April Kaiserlian:
Sure.

Chuck Gaidica:
It’s just when you say a word to yourself, you think, well, that’s not going to have much impact. And yet, as you’re saying that out loud, I’m thinking, I actually feel good listening to you say it.

April Kaiserlian:
Good. And so much of it, it’s not just the words, it’s the tone. That’s what you’re picking up on there.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

April Kaiserlian:
You could simply say your name with more matter of factness, possibly a kind tone. Now it took me a long time to actually learn to have that tone. It is not natural to me. And trust me, if I can learn to do it, I’m convinced most people can. I had the self-compassion heebie jeebies, I called them for years because it felt too syrupy. But even to say to yourself, “Ah, April, you are struggling right now.” Right? That is very different in tone than like, “Oh my gosh, what is wrong with you?”

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Or would you just get to sleep already? And then roll over and you’re still uncomfortable. Yeah. No, the tone is really important, even if it’s just a nonverbal thing that you’re doing. Yeah. Very cool.

April Kaiserlian:
Absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, April, it sure has been great to have you. And I think we’ve learned so much from this. April Kaiserlian who is with us today. She is a co-founder of the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness. And I think you’ve left us with so many great takeaways and I’ve got… I don’t know. If I call myself honey in my mind, I guess that’s okay. I don’t know.

April Kaiserlian:
Yes. Absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica:
At least there’s no $6 coffee attached to it, so that’s good.

April Kaiserlian:
There you go. There you go.

Chuck Gaidica:
April, you have a good rest of your day.

April Kaiserlian:
You too. Thanks so much.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, thank you. And thank you for listening to A Healthier Michigan podcast brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show and you want to know more, check us out online at ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast. You can leave us a review or a rating on Apple podcast or Stitcher. You can get new episodes on your smartphone or tablet and be sure to subscribe to us on Apple podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. I’m Chuck Gaidica. Be well.