How do you reduce your stress and anxiety?
The right mindset is what distinguishes a natural sleeper from an insomniac. Given the same circumstances (say, an important meeting or a job interview tomorrow morning) the natural sleeper goes to bed relaxed and slowly drifts off to sleep waking up refreshed the next day while the insomniac goes to bed tense obsessing about what needs to be done or what could go wrong and only falls asleep when exhaustion has been reached, waking up grumpy and anxious the day after.
The good news is it is possible for anyone with an insomnia mindset (the worrier) to switch and get back to a natural sleeping mindset (the relaxed person). This doesn’t mean it will happen overnight, but if you are patient with yourself and focus on changing the negative habit of worrying before bed you shall succeed.
EFT is a very easy way to reduce anxiety and it can be invaluable if you feel you cannot seem to stop your obsessive thoughts. However, there are a few simple things you can also do now to help yourself now.
Can’t sleep? Say “F**k it” to it.
Worrying about sleeping or not sleeping is what actually keeps you awake. Worrying makes you tense and tension is the opposite of relaxation. Relaxation is what is needed for you to sleep naturally. You don’t have to try to sleep. It just happens when you stop trying to make it happen.
One way to deal with this is to use reverse psychology and try to keep awake instead of trying to sleep. That will reduce the stress associated with trying to sleep and paradoxically you will be able to sleep. Alternatively, a very good way to lose your attachment and therefore your anxiety is to just say “F**k it” to it. This is the equivalent of the eastern concept of ‘acceptance” but we in the west understand it more easily this way.
When you say “f**k” it to anything you let it go, you stop caring and you relax. You have survived not sleeping before, you will survive again. It’s not the end of the world. A watched pot never boils. What you resist persist. So just stop watching the pot, stop resisting, stop trying so hard and give in to whatever is now. Perhaps you could do something else for a while. Eventually, you will naturally fall asleep, if you stop wanting it so much. Consider buying this book “f**k it, the ultimate spiritual way’ by John C.parkin.
Use positive Language and Imagination
If you spend all your time telling yourself negative things such as
- “What if I can’t sleep?”
- “I’ll never be able to sleep again”
- “This is useless”
- “If I can’t sleep tonight tomorrow will be a disaster”
- “I have to sleep 8 hours or I won’t be able to function”
- “I’m scared of going to bed in case I don’t sleep”
what you are effectively doing is hypnotizing yourself into not sleeping. Your subconscious follows your orders no matter what you say to it, so it will do what you imagine and think.
So imagine how much better it would be to choose to hypnotize yourself into sleeping well by saying to yourself more beneficial things such as
- “I am looking forward to relaxing in bed”
- “I love the feeling of relaxation I get when I am in bed”
- “No matter what happens I’ll be ok” “I am going to have a wonderful relaxing sleep and Ill wake up refreshed in the morning”
- “I am safe and secure”
- “sleeping is such a peaceful and nourishing experience”
- “I relax easily and naturally in bed”
- “I get all the sleep I need each and every night”
- “every noise I hear helps me relax more as I feel safe in my cocoon of warmth while the world goes on outside” etc
Remember that what you imagine tends to come true so if you cannot change what is accept it and reframe it in your mind in a way that makes you feel better! The same way you make yourself feel bad you can make yourself feel good. The choice is yours!
Keep a Journal
If you have thoughts that keep you awake consider writing them down on a journal before bed. Write down your feelings, your problems, your solutions, your tasks, your to-do list. See it as a way to store them safely in ‘hibernate mode’ until you wake up again. This way you can let go of them confident that they will be there for you to ‘resolve’ if you wish tomorrow.
Listen to Soothing Music or a Hypnotic Tape.
An easy way to distract your mind is to focus it on something other than your thoughts. It is easy to hear your chattering mind when all is quiet, so introduce some soothing music in your environment or listen to a hypnotic tape. You could use binaural beats or subliminal tapes. Whatever you do make it enjoyable, not just another chore and try to let go of ‘results’. This is just for you to enjoy no matter whether it makes you fall asleep or not.
Put your life on hold
If you use your bedtime to plan your day or solve problems you will keep yourself awake by not allowing your brain to calm down enough to sleep as well as creating an association between bed and conscious thinking rather than sleeping. It has now been proven that ‘sleeping on it’ makes people make important decisions 40% quicker than if they don’t. This is not due to conscious thinking but to subconscious processing (which takes place during sleep). So if you have an important decision to make, write it down, ‘put it to sleep’ and pick it up tomorrow morning. You could even ask your subconscious to give you a dream that will give you valuable insights on it.
Throw the clock away.
Watching the clock will only make you more anxious thinking of all the time you have wasted keeping awake and worrying about how little sleep you are getting. Get rid of it. Use a mobile phone to wake you up or some kind of clock that doesn’t make a sound or emit light. Alternatively get a clock that emits a more relaxing light such as blue rather than red.