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Finding Freedom In Writing

Finding Freedom In Writing

“Everyone who remembers his own educational experience remembers teachers, not methods and techniques.” Sidney Hook, Education for Modern Man.

Students Are Also Your Best Teachers

We heard of teachers who are ever so inspiring, giving up so much in order to help their students achieve great things in life. Once such movie about teachers is Freedom Writers, a story based on Woodrow Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach, California, and their English teacher, Erin Gruwell. This movie is about a teacher inspiring change through her own actions, motivating and bringing good influence into the lives of students.

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    English teacher Erin Gruwell was challenged with her new class of not-eager-for college students who often got involved in gang fights, and disliked her because she is white. It wasn’t until Erin held a discussion about a drive-by shooting death that she begun to understand what she was up against. She then assigns her students to write journals which will not be read unless they agree, and her students started to open up to her.

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    Everyone should have equal opportunity to learn

    This movie not only highlights problems with the American educational system, but also our society’s challenges in schooling children from poor and complicated family backgrounds. The movie doesn’t give miracle answers for all of these kids who are still living at risk, desperately needing help, but it does give hope, that maybe someone like Erin will be able to speak for them and let them tell their stories. “Even if nobody else read it, the book will be something to leave behind and said we were here and this is what happened, we matter, even if it was just to each other”

    This movie is beautifully filmed, telling the stories of students who just want to be able to live out their dreams in an unjust world.This inspiring film delivers a positive and productive message for each of us. If you believe in hope, you will find this movie on your favourite list.

    Watch Freedom Writers on iTunes

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    More by this author

    Anna Chui

    Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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    Last Updated on July 14, 2020

    How to Get Deep Sleep in 5 Steps Naturally

    How to Get Deep Sleep in 5 Steps Naturally

    Why do we need sleep so much? Deep sleep is a blissful state of consciousness and our best beauty treatment. Can we learn how to get deep sleep? Of course!

    Many of us have problems of getting quality sleep because of various reasons. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia[1]. Millions of people around the world suffer from insomnia.

    Ultimately, deep sleep plays a crucial role for the quality of life we live.

    From a biological perspective, a good night’s sleep is important for building a stronger immune system against infections, heart disease, and numerous of other illnesses. It rids our body of exhaustion and pain, frees our mind from any sorrow or worry, and may even prevent diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s[2].

    The Wisdom of Deep Sleep

    If you’re wondering how to get deep sleep naturally, keep reading. Sleep is a mental phenomenon. Its subtlety and complexity, especially when it comes to deep sleep, is of a spiritual, metaphysical nature; however, it is impacted by various external factors.

    These factors are the physiological and psycho-social aspects of our life that play a main role in sleep disorders. By not exploring the nature of deep sleep and neglecting the physiological and psycho-social aspects of our life, we can create negative habits that cause a vicious cycle that leads to poor sleep.

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    Deep sleep is explored and practiced in one of the most concise and most important texts of Indian philosophy, the Mandukya Upanishad. The wisdom in this mystic text is quite compressed and might be ungraspable at the beginning, but it offers the answers on deep sleep and the other three levels of consciousness.

    I’ve been exploring this subject matter for over seven years and have discovered that, apart from the physiological and psycho-social prep work for going to sleep, a certain sense of spirituality and a recognition of the ego is necessary.

    What Stops Deep Sleep?

    The cause of sleeping disorders is most probably going to lead us to the fact of fragmenting the life of “one-self” in two entities:

    1. The social identity = me as individual (Ego)
    2. The external world = as not-me

    Deep sleep is determined by behavioral influences. If there is no disruption in the circadian rhythm (sleeping during night and being awake during the day) or environmental factors (quiet, dark, rather cool sleeping room), then the question arises: why do I have problems with my sleep? Is there any mental disharmony (dissatisfaction, anxiety, stress, or depression) within me, that prevents me from enjoying deep sleep? If you want to learn how to get deep sleep, it’s important to answer these questions first.

    To naturally transgress from the wakeful state of consciousness to the deep sleep state of consciousness, we need to develop a sleep ritual to ease us into deep sleep.

    How to Get Deep Sleep Naturally

    Try incorporating these five steps into your routine to prepare your body for deep sleep. By experimenting with each of these steps, you’ll find what does and doesn’t work for you and your consciousness.

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    1. Shower at the End of the Day

    This is a good way to calm down mentally and to feel comfortable and clean in your skin. If you have no possibility to take a shower, than wash your face and teeth properly. Enjoy this step and start slowly retreating from the day. Make this one of your last physical activities for the day.

    Express gratitude that you’re able to retreat peacefully, wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Stop talking, verbally as well as mentally.

    2. Shut Down the Mental Chatter

    Decide not to think about anything that concerns tomorrow, yesterday or today. Your highest priority is sleep.

    Your smartphone and the rest of the gadgets should be switched off, your kids should be tucked in, and everything should be set to hibernation mode. In case something happens and takes you out of this step, step 3 below is the technique to be applied.

    3. Soothing Exercises

    There are several relaxation techniques you can do to sooth your body before sleep. Stretch your spine by pulling up your arms above your head. Let your breathing lead the body movement in order to relieve tension in your muscles. Gently rotate your pelvis, making circles to the left then to the right. Do this for at least 3-5 minutes.

    For another 3-5 minutes, stretch your mandibular muscles by gently opening and closing the jaw. Massage your head, neck, and jaw muscles, gently circulating with your hands. This will relieve this whole area of tension and prepare your body to fall asleep easier and quicker. Again, let your breathing lead the movement of your hands.

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    4. Deep Breathing

    If you try nothing else before going to sleep, at least give this a go. Slow, controlled breathing can reduce your heart rate, lower stress hormones[3], and relax your muscles, all of which are essential in preparing your body for deep sleep.

    Simply pay attention to your breath and breath gently, slowly and deeply. Following the flow of your breath will break down the process of thinking.

    This conscious, deep breathing technique is the only natural way to stabilize your heart rate, your body temperature, and calm/cease your mental fluctuations. As a result, the nervous system soothes and stabilizes the production of hormones.

    All these factors take you more effectively and more efficiently to the so called N3 stage of NREM sleep:  deep sleep.

    5. Meditation

    Continuous, conscious deep breathing leads you automatically to a meditative state of mind in which all bodily functions are balanced and prepared to regenerate in sleep. Do the following meditation practice:

    Consciously generate thoughts about how your breathing pattern will take you from this wakeful state of consciousness to deep sleep in a peaceful way. Meditate on yourself as a pure being that has no form or name. This is quite abstract, but so is deep sleep. In the state of deep sleep, there is no body, no mind, and no experiencer. So, let your “self” be carried into deep sleep by not analyzing how it’s done.

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    When the state of deep sleep has transgressed to the state of wakefulness, the concept of the social identity acknowledges the experience of nothingness.

    Once you’ve gained expertise in this step, you will never have problems falling asleep, given that your circadian rhythm and environmental factors remain in tact.

    Final Thoughts

    Many people have their own specific sleep-ritual approach that involves physiological, psycho-social and spiritual aspects. The bottom line is that, if you want to know how to get deep sleep, you must find a way to silence your mind to the extent where no concepts, ideas, or beliefs can influence your wakeful state of consciousness.

    Take this sleep-ritual approach and allow yourself to put everything aside in order to effortlessly and carelessly transgress into deep sleep.

    Pay respect to the power of your intelligence that keeps your body healthy every single day, enabling you to enjoy the wonders of life, of which the biggest one is you.

    Let go of your dilemmas and look deep inside yourself, where the infinite silence of deep sleep resides.

    More Tips on How to Get Deep Sleep

    Featured photo credit: Gregory Pappas via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] American Sleep Association: Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
    [2] National Institute of Health: Sleep deprivation increases Alzheimer’s protein
    [3] Neurological Science: The role of deep breathing on stress

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