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Tracking for less anxiety and a better night’s sleep: tonight’s journal writing exercise

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Feeling out of control causes stress and shame. If there is something in our lives that we are not managing well, chances are we are worrying, anxious, and not sleeping well.

Whether it is binge-eating, being in a toxic relationship, or drowning in debt, it is easy to feel lost in the darkness and not see a way (the light) out.

Tonight, I invite you to use your journal for tracking. What do I mean by tracking? Choose something in your life that is causing you sleepless nights… perhaps it is a relationship, your finances, the extra weight you can’t seem to lose…

whatever it is, commit to tracking it in your journal for one week.

So, for example, if it is about a relationship, keep track of the situations that lead up to an argument.

If it is your financial life, track your income and expenses (down to every cent).

If it is about your weight, track everything you put into your mouth for one week.

You get the idea. What we keep track of, we will gain insight from. It is harder to be in denial about something when it is right out there in the open in front of us.

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I am going to commit to tracking my expenses for the coming week. What are you going to track?

If something is worrying us, isn’t it better to confront it and have it on paper rather that swirling around in our minds when we are trying to sleep? I believe this is a worthwhile exercise for peace of mind.

Let me know how you do!

In Peace,

Debra

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What makes you feel triumphant? This evening’s journal writing exercise.

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According to Dictionary.com, triumphant means:

1. Having achieved victory or success; victorious; successful.
2. exulting over victory; rejoicing over success; exultant.

I think it is important to celebrate our successes and focus on what makes us feel victorious (over challenges).

In other words: TRIUMPHANT

What a nice powerful word. We are simply going to write this word at the top of our journal entries and see what comes out. List whatever comes to mind. Ready?

Here we go…

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Triumphant

1. When I am able to successfully help somebody the way they needed help.

2. Doing something that required a leap of faith (and despite the fear) I did it anyway.

3. Enjoying back patio that is not screened in on a summer Florida evening and there are no bugs.

4. When a spark of inspiration ignites and I do something about it (take action).

5. When I get a compliment about something I did (not just about my appearance).

6. Seeing above the fray… not getting lost in the drama of day to day life.

7. Sharing something special and the recipient(s) get it.

8. Finishing the Honolulu Marathon at age 15 (when I had just recently recovered from a bad bout of strep throat).

Well, this is a great exercise and I will finish in my private journal.

Your turn, friends.

In peace,

Debra

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“That which causes us trials shall yield us triumph: and that which make our hearts ache shall fill us with gladness. The only true happiness is to learn, to advance, and to improve: which could not happen unless we had commence with error, ignorance, and imperfection. We must pass through the darkness, to reach the light.”
Albert Pike quotes (American Lawyer, Journalist and Soldier, 1809-1891)

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What do I love? A very fun journal writing exercise

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Okay, so we are going to have some fun in our journals tonight. Ready? I know I am. The exercise is simple. We are going to write down as quickly as possible (and in no particular order) a list of things we love right now. I encourage you to not think too much. Just write your list. Quickly! Just see what comes out. I often think that when I do not overthink things the real truth will come out.

So, let’s get started shall we?

As I do from time to time, I will begin my own journal entry but then send you off to do yours, okay?

What do I love?

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1. Being married to the love of my life and my best friend

2. chocolate

3. Florida

4. A glass of red wine at the end of the day

5. My daughter

6. My cat

7. My son

8. My parents

9. My brother and his wife

10. My home

11. Really good food

12. Jazz music

13. Cooking (while listening to the jazz music, sipping on the red wine, in my wonderful home)

14. Learning new things

15. God and realizing peace.

16. The outdoors

17. Moving my body

18. My job

19. Getting people to think (I love to ask questions…)

20. Christmas lights

21. The beach

22. Hawaii

Okay, I must stop. Trust me, this is a really fun exercise and you won’t want to stop until you have at least 100 things that you love written down in your journal.

Have fun. Love to all.

Debra

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Three questions for our journals tonight

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Like the genie who grants us three wishes, our journals tonight are going to grant us three questions to explore.

Ready?

Here goes:

1. What do I need to pray on?

2. What do I want to learn more about?

3. What am I thankful for.

Perhaps as I sometimes do here I will begin my own entries. Let’s see…

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What do I need to pray on?

1. The future and direction of The Warm Milk Journal
2. Somebody who I am close to…
3. The health and prosperity of my community

What do I want to learn more about?

1. Review French which I studied many years ago in school
2. The wine industry
3. Marketing

What am I thankful for?

1. My husband and daughter and son and cats and brother and sister in law and parents and friends…

2. My job

3. My home. I love my life here in Florida!

4. My health

5. God

I have so much more I can write but I will as I often do, finish this privately so that you can begin your own writing.

Thank you for being here on this journey. I wish you a peaceful night tonight and every night.

Happy writing!

Debra

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Putting God first for a good night sleep: tonight’s journal writing entry

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For those of us who lose sleep at night due to anxiety I encourage us to look within ourselves…

No matter what our religious background or beliefs may be I think the more we get out of our own way and have faith in God,

the more free we will be from our anxiety and enjoy a restful night of blessed sleep.

These days I have been putting into practice a few things that I am very excited about that (for me) put God first and as a result,

I am sleeping blissfully. It will be different for all of us. I will share a bit and then I invite you all to explore how you can put God first to get a good night sleep.

Make this tonight’s journal entry if you wish…

I recommend before you begin to write, to sit and close your eyes and breathe in to the count of seven and breathe out to the count of seven. Do this four times. Be sure you really fill your belly as you breathe in.

Then when you are ready, open your eyes and write.

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I am putting God first by:

1. Forgiving myself and others every time I experience a thought of judgment or regret about the past.

2. Taking time to stop and breath.

3. Closing my mouth more and opening my ears more.

4. Focusing on what is truly important rather than getting caught up in petty details of daily life.

5. Reading spiritually nourishing books in the morning and at bedtime.

6. Not fretting about the future: AKA having faith

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This is a wonderful exercise and I could keep going but I will stop here so that you may begin your journey too peace, a good night sleep, and putting God first (whatever that may mean to you).

In Peace,

Debra

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Three things to write in your journal at bedtime

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Writing in our journals at bedtime is a wonderful habit to get into. What to write about. Here are three wonderful entries….

1. List five things you feel thankful for.

2. Write down a question you have for God or the universe.

3. Write down an achievement you have made recently that you feel proud of.

Now light’s out.

Good night!

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What makes you feel the most shy? (a post for those of us with mild social anxiety)

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If you have been here a while, you know that I have a history of social anxiety. I believe that social anxiety is one of the leading causes of insomnia and preventing us from living the life of our dreams (our mission). So, perhaps we need to take a closer look at this…

Tonight I am asking you to look at something that may be a bit uncomfortable for you but do ask yourself:

What makes me feel the most shy?

If you get in a relaxed place in your journal writing and respond to this question in your journals I believe you may gain some insight.

As hard as it is, I will share with you what makes me feel the most shy:

1. When I have to go to big parties and I don’t know anybody

2. When I have to attend small gatherings and I don’t know anybody…

3. When I am in my reflective, introspective world, and suddenly find myself having to be “on”.

4. When my energy is just not there and I want to be in my cave.

That’s a few. There are others.

If you are willing, please share with us your challenges with shyness and social anxiety. I know there are many of us out there.

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We need to accept ourselves and know deep down that there is nothing wrong with us.

This topic will be continued in future posts.

Wishing you peace and a restful night tonight and every night.

Debra

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All things sweet… tonight’s list for our journals

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There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate. ~Linda Grayson, “The Pickwick Papers”

For the last week I have been on a no-carb diet and I am literally dreaming about dessert. The night before last I dreamed about gourmet ice cream. Last night I dreamed about layered cake with frosting and pudding between the layers…

I also have been challenged the last few days with a wrist/arm injury that has caused me to be a bit blue.

Hence, I declare tonight to be a night of thinking of all things sweet! (you all know how I love writing lists) Are you with me?

Photo credit: vinepair.com

Photo credit: vinepair.com

In your journals, list as many sweet things as you can think of. Write quickly. Don’t edit yourself. Just have fun and see what comes out. I have a feeling that once you are finished with this list you will be feeling quite effervescent and happy…

Okay,

My list of all things SWEET:

1. Chocolate: especially Cadbury milk chocolate or Lindt extra creamy milk chocolate
2. My husband
3. My daughter
4. My cat, Mew
5. Honeysuckle
6. Gardenia flowers or fragrance
7. Banana loaves baking in oven
8. A full tank of gas
9. A check in the mail
10. A great story

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I could literally write about a hundred more things because this is such fun but I know you have your own list of sweet things, so what are you waiting for? :-)

In Peace,

Debra

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The light has returned! I am writing in my journal outside for the first time in months!

I love it when we spring forward an hour and daylight savings returns. That means I can return to my favorite writing place in the world: my back patio garden! Perhaps the calendar is not saying this is the first day of Spring but it certainly feels that way to me.

Here is the view I have at this exact moment as I write this (and it’s almost 7:00 PM):

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It’s still a little cool, yes. My plants have not recovered from the few hard freezes we got this North Florida winter. Hmmm…..

but, you know what?

I am outside!!! I am writing outside. Do you ever take your writing practice outside? If not, I highly recommend it. There is something about being in the fresh air and connecting with the natural world that makes one’s spirit soar and creativity leap off the keyboard or flow from the pen…

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I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

In peace,

Debra

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Kahlil Gibran

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Eight things to keep track of in your sleep journal

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I have been writing about sleep for four years and I have been challenged with sleep and anxiety issues most of my life. One thing I find very helpful and healing is writing. There are many kinds of writing we can do to nourish ourselves. We can write a story, poetry, free- write… we can focus in a fun way and write down specific lists such as our top ten bucket list, etc.

This post I want to explore the idea of a more clinical way of writing and that is keeping a sleep journal.

What is a sleep journal? A sleep journal is a place to observe and gather data… data about your daily life that may or may not affect the quality of sleep. if done consistently and frequently enough, patterns will emerge and you will gain some insight as to what is causing your insomnia.

Dieters may keep a journal about their eating habits. Runners have their running logs. People who work out have their training journals. Wine enthusiasts have their wine tasting journals. Travelers have their special journals.

We sleep-challenged folks can have our own special journals!

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This is not a place to be creative or judgemental. This is a place to simply observe and record your findings.

You can use a plain notebook, journal for this purpose, or manage your sleep journal on your computer in a Word document or one of the many on-line diary programs or apps that are available.

Here are the things that I encourage you to monitor. You can edit or add any ideas of your own:

1. Record how much caffeine you consume throughout your day

2. Record what you have eaten during the day

3. Record alcohol consumption

4. Record medications taken

5. Record any exercise you have had and time of day

6. Interactions with other people that are notable (this could be at work, at home, or on the highway or supermarket).

7. Record the time you went to bed the night before and the time you wake up

8. Every morning, describe how well you perceived that you slept and how well rested (or not) you feel that you are.

This is a good start and I will stop here. Feel free to add any ideas you have. Commit to keeping this journal for at least 30 days.

In Peace,

Debra

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