We all have nightmares. For some people, they are merely an occasional nuisance. For others, nightmares are the bane of their existence. Often portraying our greatest of fears, they induce unimaginable terror. I remember when I was thirteen years old, I had a nightmare about Batman (don’t laugh at me, it was scary). He was chasing me with a knife; a bat knife specifically. Not wanting to be stabbed, I ran away from him as fast as I could. The road was dark, desolate and damp. Each step was heavy and the air was so thick I could not breathe. The sky was dark and overcast like dark cloth. It was a desperate feeling. No matter how fast I ran, the distance between us kept decreasing until finally, he caught up with me and a wall appeared behind me. I was cornered. As I was there standing helpless and afraid, the most amazing realization struck me. I realized I was simply having a nightmare. As a result I did the coolest thing. In my dream, I put my hands on my eyelids and I yanked them open. I woke up and the nightmare ended. For everyone, though it might not be as death-defying as my trick, this is how a nightmare ends. You simply… wake up. You simply open your eyes and realize its a stupid nightmare. You need to be able to wake up, otherwise a nightmare will simply keep going and going and going until it consumes you.
WHO AM I?
Hello my name is Mr.Cloud and I’m here to show you a very important mandatory skill in life, as mandatory as the capability to wake up. Not just important, but mandatory. Without this skill you may double your risk of cancer, uncontrollable weight gain, increase susceptibility to depression, increase chances of stroke, contribute to heart disease, trigger psuedoepileptic seizures, weaken your immune system, and even trigger unexplained death. Despite how crucial it is, many modern inviduals like you and me, lack or even forget this essential skill and experience catastrophic effects that ripple across different aspects of a person’s life. It is literally similar to not being able to wake up from a nightmare. I will share with you my terrifying life experience, and how I overcame it by honing this crucial life skill. I was not only able to help myself, but the people close to me as well, and hopefully you take the time to hear me out so I have the chance to help you.
MY LONG STORY
I was a healthy individual. I ate right, I worked out regularly, I washed my hands religiously, never used any kind of illegal drugs, and barely drank alcohol. I had regular check-ups with my primary care physician, and I was diligent enough to not punch my dentist in the face whenever I went in for a cleaning. In short, I was a health nut. To give you a better perspective of how healthy I was, I basically scheduled when I would eat AND drink. Perhaps “health nut” was an understatment.
I was also very busy. I managed an online business, went to college, and worked part-time as a server. All the while balancing my social life between friends, girlfriend, family and collegues. One would say I was trying to accomplish too much, and I would eventually go crazy. That was not the case with me. I had a high stress capacity.
In my own kind of way, I was happy. I liked the challenge, it was fun. I would wake up straight to manage my online business, drive to school, finish my homework there, go home to work online again, go to my restaurant job, head straight to the gym right after. Once the hard part is done, I would hang out with my friends, girlfriend, do family errands, or whatever I needed to do. Before I end the day, I would check my online business again to see any updates and do anything that needs to be done before I go to bed. Just reading all of that probably stressed you out. Yes its a lot of things to do and each of these duties would often times carry unexpected stress with them such as a surprise quiz, looming rumors of a lay-off, workout injuries, competition with other online businesses, and of course relationship troubles.
You’re probably thinking, “its nice to hear about your life story and all, but what does this have to do with this mandatory life skill you were talking about?” If you looked closely you would see that despite the fact that I seemed to be totally okay, there is something missing in my life – something I never really thought I needed to do. I was very healthy, 13 percent body fat at that time and as I said earlier I have a very healthy diet. To add to that I can handle a lot of stress. I was in my right mind, I wasn’t freaking out, I wasn’t depressed, I wasn’t manic, nor psychotic. I never told a good looking bald guy I see dead people, nor did I chump on people’s faces to make a point. I was completely in the right state of mind. However, despite all that, I was missing one very VERY important skill.
Unfortunately, things progressively became more difficult. At my restaurant job, aside from the increased workload the management started laying people off. At college, my grades started suffering. With matters of the heart, my relationship with my girlfriend started going downhill. Paperwork for my online businesses started piling up. As a result, I started seeing my friends less and less. Its pretty obvious that I’m having a bad time.
In response to all these problems, I quit my restaurant job to devote more of my time to my online business. I also used the extra hours to catch up on my studies. I kept having long talks with my girlfriend to resolve our issues. I had a pretty good plan to overcome my problems, and I was happy. I was still living healthy and I was still in a good psychological state. Despite that, my lack of that one mandatory life skill will soon show its devastating effects.
It started like a whisper. I would wake up feeling tired, a heavy burden on my shoulder would weigh me down the entire day. Sometimes it would feel better, sometimes it would feel worse. I would get random aches and pains in my body for no apparent reason.
And then, it struck me like a thunderbolt.
I was working out at the gym. I just got done doing my warm-ups and stretches. They gym was moderately packed, and I was at my usual spots. It felt like any other day at the gtn. Feeling ready to roll out the big guns, I went to the weights-rack and picked up a pair of 30-pound dumbbells. I sat down and started doing seated shoulder presses. At this point, I started to feel some pressure in the back of my neck. I’m used to muscle pain, so i thought its probably one of those and did not raise any red flags. I kept working out. I kept pushing. I kept pumping iron, and eventually went to a pair of 60-pound dumbbells, my maximum at that time – Don’t judge me.
As I was straining to do the last rep, a sudden extreme pain shot up from the back of my neck into my head. It felt like my head was going to burst open. Despite having a high pain tolerance, It was one of the most painful experiences I’ve endured in my entire life. My eyes were blurry from the blood pressure pushing at the back of my eyesballs. Weakened from the abrupt sensation, I was lucky enough to safely lower the weights down without injuring myself. After a few more seconds, the pain slowly subsided leaving me wondering what on earth just happened.
On my way home, my heart started beating rapidly for no apparent reason. My head started hurting again, and out of nowhere I felt my heart stop for a second and my body involuntarily gaspsed for air before it started again. I had no idea what happened. At this point I knew something about my body was totally wrong. Having immediately researched my symptoms online as soon as I was home, it came to my attention that I could possibly have a brain tumor. This is when I panicked. I went to the doctor, and got myself checked out. They gave me a CT Scan which came back negative. All vital signs and blood-work reflected a perfectly healthy invidual. I was relieved and optimistic.
I thought the worst was over, however, the headaches never stopped. Worry replaced optimism. Whenever I did strenuous activites, such as working out, a sharp stabbing pain in my head would progressively become worse until it was simply unbearable. Time passes and my condition did not improve. I started seeing multiple negative issues sprouting up one by one. There were instances when I would try to go to sleep and I would have mini-seizures. My memory also started suffering badly. I found myself wondering what I was doing a few seconds earlier, and not being able to recall exactly what I did the day before. Waking up from frequent nightmares, I would sometimes find myself unable to move paralyzed in a state between sleep and alertness. I would go through the day yawning. The weight of my arms felt like cast iron. There are times when random parts of my body would suddenly burst into pain. My body fat percantage went up from 13 percent to 19 percent. My immune system was so weak that I kept getting sick. Acne and pimples started sprouting up on my face and back. I kept experiencing tachycardia, a sudden increase in my heartrate for no apparent reason. I kept going back to the doctor who kept saying there was nothing wrong with me. It was a helpless feeling. I felt like I was trapped in this prison of constant pain and fatique.
One day after another spell of severe headache brought me to the emergency room, the doctor alludes to an idea that changed my life forever. He said “You are too stressed out. Maybe you should take some time off and relax.”
That’s it! The Holy Grail. Relaxation is that mandatory skill that would vastly improve my life. According to many reputable sources including the New York Times, recent studies have shown that relaxation triggers countless positive physiological effects. The most notable is its role in boosting immune system reselience. According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, relaxation training in medical students during exams was found to increase their levels of helper cells that defend against infectious disease. A study performed by R.J. Davidson and his collegues of Psychosom Med has shown that after eight weeks of intensive relaxation, participants have shown significantly stronger immune systems. A vigorous immune system has a multitude of positive benefits including increased energy, a healthy age-defying skin, youthful hair growth and a clearer complexion. Studies have also found that relaxation decreases cortisol levels resulitng in less craving for unhealthy foods. In terms of psychological benefits, studies suggest that relaxation improves an individual’s decision making capabilities, improve memory, shield from depression, and decrease likelihood of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is also been suggested that relaxation works as some sort of aphrodisiac for women by releasing the emotional burden often clogged up by the daily stresses life. According to revolutionary scientific findings, there is evidence suggesting a link between stress and breast cancer progression. Relaxation seems to delay the progression of the disease and speed up recovery of breast cancer patients. An individual who doesn’t have breast cancer is suggested to have a higher likelihood of staying cancer-free. (Sources of these all the above scientific findings are cited below) I came to realize that my years of built up stress from my hectic lifestyle caused this erruption of health issues. This epiphany convinced me that relaxation will be my salvation. It is the pair of hands that will yank my eyelids wide open and wake me up from this nightmare.
There was one problem. I had no idea how to relax. To me relaxing was simply doing nothing and getting bored in the process. I did my best trying to relax. I started going to massage therapists, but they were so expensive I would be buried in debt eventually. I was so desperate to relax I bartered with a hair stylist to give me a scalp massage without the haircut. She was feisty, but caved in due to my impeccable haggling skills. I tried yoga, but having to drive to class each time with a fixed schedule did not allow me to get much benefit out of it, when I needed it. Desperate to find relief, I started watching relaxation videos online, but they only worked once. At that point I knew I was unto something because I felt a significant relief whenever I was able to relax. I went on a quest to find the “magic pill” that would permanently fix my problem. The solutions I found were sand castles on my palm that crumbled away the moment I picked them up. As frustation mounts, the temporary nature of these solutions gave me more stress. I felt like I was missing a humongous piece of the puzzle.
But then something miraculous happened. My answer came not in the form of a relaxation video, or a yoga class, or some article on the internet by some guy with a cheesy nickname, but in the form of a pretty girl. For sake of simplicity, let’s call her “Pillow.” Now don’t jump into conclusions because this is not what you think it is. I met her through a friend and I immediately liked her. She was energetic, fun, confident, and relaxed. Using my smooth pick up skills and hypnotizing charm, I immediately annoyed the heck out of her. Despite that, we still clicked and started talking for hours. Always happy and worry-free, she always made me picture a cloud in my head. Now don’t get me wrong, she is gorgeous and fun to talk to, but that was not the unique characteristic that interested me the most. It was the fact that whatever we did or wherever we went, if she wanted to sleep she fell asleep within 10 seconds of closing her eyes. This astounded me more than you can imagine. Here I was on an epic journey to find this seemingly unreacheable feat, and she just flips it like a light switch. I felt like I was in the presence of the Usain Bolt of relaxation. As I spent time with her I learned a lot of about the mindset which helped her become worry-free and fall asleep on a dime. Serving as an inspiration, she gave me direction on my quest to divulge the fundamental aspect of relaxation. I decided to look into the science of relaxation and how stress is accumulated. Having a degree in psychology with countless hours of writing scientific reports, I totally did not go to the library and went straight to Wikipedia to do my research. Why do it the hard way eh? (wink wink, nudge nudge). Unfortunately, some of the content I needed was only accessible from an online database. As I stepped into the hallways of the library, bad memories of college course-work went rushing back. It was tough. Anyways, I digress. My mind was blown. Not from the revolutionary knowledge consolidated within these excerpts, but from the tediously boring nature of the current relaxation methods. They were all really boring. They were all too serious about it. I mean, I know you are progressively relaxing your muscles, I know that you are trying to let your body know that you have nothing to worry about, so why should you be so serious. I thought to myself, relaxation should be fun and laidback – not constricting and rigid. Combining what I have learned from my pretty friend, the science of relaxation and my own personal touch, I have deviced a set of rules. A guide to relaxation and sleep that helped me make gigantic improvements in my health and wellness. It helped me get to sleep faster and easier, and not only that, improve the quality of my sleep. Regularly applying this relaxation regimen, my body bounced back. The positive benefits also progressively healed me and made my body stronger and more lively than ever before. All those random body pains started disappearing, my skin was a lot more vibrant, I was more energetic, more relaxed, more attentive, my memory improved, and I was in a better mood consistently. I felt like I have finally awoken from that nightmare I was not able to escape from. I have escaped from Batman.
An invidual that is not relaxed cannot go to sleep. The basic rule of physics “a body in motion will stay in motion” suggests a very important aspect in relaxation and sleep. Physiologically speaking, a body that is stimulated and active will tend to stay active. This means if you just came from a long day of activities, there would still be untamed energy circulating throughout your system. You will not be able to relax. If you are not able to relax, you will not be able to sleep. The correct course of action is to let that untamed energy fizzle out before you relax. This is called winding down. Undemanding activites such as watching tv, reading a book, playing a game, chatting with friends etc. would be sufficient in letting that energy slowly wind down to the point where you can relax. However, that is only half of the story. Not only do you need to wind down your body, you need to wind down your mind. A mind that is stimulated will tend to stay stimulated. Unlike the body, your mind can keep on going. Continuously stimulating your mind will keep it at a higher energy level for a longer period of time, which is the most common cause of sleeplessness and stress. Controlling your thoughts is an extremely difficult task. Often times, exercises designed to control your thoughts are extemely boring, which makes it difficult to work. Not to mention, today’s hectic lifestyle makes it more difficult for our mind to stay at peace i.e a rogue phone call can make your mind go haywire and make sleep impossible. The solution to this problem is to control the amount of stimulation to the mind using behavioral and cognitive modification techniques. One common thing among people like Pillow, the pretty friend i mentioned earlier, is that they have modified their behavior in such a way that they are able to shield themselves from unwanted stimulation when they want to sleep. This is more difficult than is sounds because this type of behavior is dependent on the personality type of an individual. For example, an anxious type of individual is more likely to entertain mental stimulation like a sudden bad news, than a laid-back individual. Laid-back individuals like these are often type-B personalities and high strung individuals are type-A. Despite the simply nature of the theory, a lot of people are a combination of both types. The secret is by breaking the process down into rules and guidelines so that any individual with any kind of personality including type A and hybrid personalities can relax like a naturally laid-back type-B individual can when faced with stressors.
This website is the answer to that problem. The contents on this website are designed to naturally draw you towards the proper set of behaviors to induce relaxation. With each day you consistently hang out here at Yawn Central, your subconscious is reprogrammed to get rid of harmful behavior and cognitive schema and instead solidify behaviors and thought processes that would enable you to live a long, healthy and happy relaxing lifestyle. However, you need to take the first step to solving your problem. What is that? Just don’t worry about it. Forget your sleeping problems. Trust me. Let me do the worrying for you. After reading this long and pointless article about my life, you can accomplish anything. I will open your eyes to a new better and brighter world free from worry and stress. I mean who cares really. I can completely mess up my gramarrralkdjalkj and it won’t matter. My website is still here and you are still here reading it. They are just problems. To be honest with you. I wasn’t sure how to end this long essay. But you know what, who cares. I’ll just end it like this.
When you go to YawnCentral.com and get comfy at your favorite relaxation spot, you drop everything. You can deal with them tomorrow. The moment you stop reading this article, you are taking a stand against your worry and your problems. You are giving them a curfew. Right now all you need to know is that you are right here, and we are just here to hang out, relax and sleep.
YAWN CENTRAL TEAM
I would like to give credit to all the people who helped me create this website who all have their own fields of expertise and their own way of helping. For those who want to contribute to the website in some way or want to collaborate with me you can contact me in the “contact” page or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For random non-business stuff you can reach me at twitter @MrCloud101.
FRIENDS AND COLLABORATORS
MrCloud – Owner/Artist – @MrCloud101 – Deviant Art Profile
Gyn – Strategist/Web Consultant – email: email@example.com
RChie – Video Editing – youtube: Sixsixflagsflags
Xembyr-roseX (CJ) – Photographer – deviantart: Xembyr-roseX