Anxiety, a Little Thief, Robber of Sleep

anxietyNo one would describe me as an anxious person, but I get anxiety.  Usually it’s middle of the night, I want to go back to sleep, full body dread, nauseating anxiety. My anxiety usually starts by being woken up by something like my child crawling into my bed or using my bathroom.  In my half asleep-ness I will think random thoughts.  These thoughts turn to negative thoughts that cause feelings of dread and are usually thoughts of the future.

They begin present based. Here’s an example: Middle guy crawls into bed waking me… Aware of his presence, I think… aww I hope he wins his playoff game today. I better make sure they eat dinner early because older son has playoff game too.  I’ll go to middle son’s game first, then head to oldest. I’m so proud of oldest making honor society. I can’t believe he will be in high school next year. Time flies and I’m sure high school will fly too.  How are we going to pay for college? Once money thoughts arrive they usually snowball into… OMG will we have enough money for retirement? Did I make the right career choices? Etc.

Once I begin my day, I realize how silly some of my worries are and how wasteful my wee morning brainstorming was. Many people don’t realize, but their anxiety is a result of their thoughts.

It seems two types of thoughts lead to anxiety:

Thoughts of future…  “What if” thoughts

Thoughts of past… “Should have” thoughts

Neither which you have any present control.

Here’s some tips on how to manage anxiety:

  • Try to stay present.
  • Say STOP. Once during a dread attack with nasty little thoughts flying around, I thought STOP. Immediately the feeling of dread disappeared.
  • Meditate. I am NOT good at quieting my mind, so I use meditation music. At times in the middle of feeling anxiety, I’ll grab my phone, put ear buds in, go to YouTube and listen to an anxiety reducing meditation recording.  I usually listen to one with isochronic tones and/or binaural beats. (That’s a whole other article.)
  • For the ladies, keep in mind it might be a hormonal thing.  I often find my anxiety comes right before Aunt Flo.  So remember it will pass.
  • Avoid all things negative. The news, gossip, people.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Accept uncertainty.
  • Write down the worries/thoughts, especially the reoccurring ones. Perhaps it’s something that needs to be addressed or you might realize the worry is irrational.
  • Avoid comparisons. Habitually comparing yourself to others will cause stress and anxiety. The end.

If you are having anxiety that is becoming overwhelming or interfering with your day to day life, you might want to seek help from a therapist.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

― Mark Twain


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