How Do I Sleep when Worrying Keeps Me Awake?
By: David Lechnyr, LCSW
Obsessions and worries can keep one tense, anxious, upset, and unable to stop one from thinking. Most anxious person are aware that their thoughts are irrational but feel unable to stop themselves. Here are a few ideas that might prove helpful in overcoming these difficult times and being able to sleep better.
Worrying As An Inherited Habit
Worrying robs us of being able to live in the present moment of life. Life gets focused on trying to control the future in some way while worrying that the worse things will happen. Many worriers say that they come from a family of worriers who have been like this for generations.
Many people feel that worrying is productive and helps to find solutions to problems. The reality is that it only delays the solutions while causing the person much upset, energy and exhaustion. Many people are so use to worrying that they don’t even realize that they aren’t enjoying their lives until it is pointed out to them. Worrying is a habit pattern that reinforces itself by it happening over and over again making it a major part of one’s life and functioning.
It increases one’s heart rate, increasing adrenaline rushes. After a while though it feels normal and the person feels abnormal only when they are not worrying. This all creates a habit of low grade stress in life.
Ways to Stop Worrying
There are ways of working to stop obsessive worrying by using the following steps.
Set Aside A Time To Worry
Consciously decide that you can only worry at certain times of the day. Schedule a 20-30 minute period of time each day when you will sit and think about what you are worrying about. At other times of the day you have to remind yourself that you cannot worry about things now but will be able to do it later.
Decide To Be Realistic
Realize that you have over-estimated the likelihood that your fears will become reality. Ask yourself, what evidence is there to support your concerns. Ask: what control could you have over it by worrying about it anyways.
Gather evidence like you are testing a problem so that you can find the evidence to support your worries. By gathering the evidence, you will be able to able to solve, or not solve, the problem.
Do Something Rather Than Worry
Rather than worry about an event, make it happen. Let yourself be embarrassed about something. If you feel you never have enough time with the kids, take off work early at times. Feel the fear and do it anyways. Quit the stewing and start to doing!
Visualize (See) A Good Outcome
Worriers tend to see only the bad things happening. Focus on positive things happening and develop a positive attitude.
Enjoy The Moment
Since worrying focuses on the future and the desire to control it in some way, we miss what is happening in the present. Focus on the enjoyment of the sun, the good day, the smell of dinner, the kids playing.
Work It Out
Do some walking, exercising, and work out the muscle tension. Do deep breathing, relaxation techniques, stretching muscles.