In part 4 of our “Mindfulness Monday” video series, Dr. Yael Rubin, PhD, LP, consultant at VITAL WorkLife, discusses the Cognitive Shuffle, a mindfulness exercise to help you fall asleep at night. The Cognitive Shuffle exercise started as a way to help people fall asleep because it mimics our brain when we are actually falling asleep. As we are getting into the space between being awake and falling asleep, we actually have a lot of thoughts, so it mirrors this process without overstimulating, which can help you get to sleep faster.
What is the Cognitive Shuffle?
The Cognitive Shuffle involves thinking of random items that are easy to visualize and non-threatening. Pick a word and gradually spell it out in your mind. For each letter of the word, think of other words that start with the same letter and visualize them. Repeat this for each letter in the word. In the video, Dr. Rubin shares a few examples of how this exercise would work in practice.
For example, you might start with the word “breath.”
B-words could be banana, bake, baby, bye, etc.
Then move on to R-words, relax, rain, radio, running, and so forth.
A couple tricks she notes is to make sure you don’t associate two of the words together. In other words, make sure back-to-back words aren’t too closely linked together. You want the words to be distinctly different, so your mind doesn’t travel down a train of thought or start on a story.
Take note if something is a little bit of a trigger word for making you not feel relaxed and move on, Dr. Rubin says.
Mindfulness and Meditation Apps
In the video, Dr. Rubin also shares there are many mindfulness apps out there that can be helpful, with not only the cognitive shuffle, but also to help deepen our practice and try new mindfulness and meditation exercises and techniques. Take a look at Healthline’s top 10 mindfulness apps of 2019 here.
Subscribe to our blog to receive daily or weekly updates from VITAL WorkLife. Part 5 of our “Mindfulness Monday” video series will be a mindfulness exercise with Dr. Yael Rubin.
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