Sometimes we can do all the right things: not drink caffeine, worked and played hard all day, be tired and ready for sleep and yet we still don’t sleep because our monkey minds still want to be active. I usually don’t have a hard time going to sleep initially. My biggest challenge is getting woken up in the middle of the night (my bladder, a cat, my snoring husband, etc.). When I return to bed I’m still very sleepy and I think I won’t have any problem going back to sleep. Fortunately that is the case some of the time. Some nights, however, my mind little by little wakes up and begins its monkey running on a treadmill thing… you know, I start thinking about a post I want to write for The Warm Milk Journal (how ironic is that?) or I am thinking about my job or what I want to cook for dinner the next day…
The way to get back to sleep as soon as possible when this middle of the night insomnia occurs is to get your mind to stop thinking and yourself centered. Here are some good ways to do this:
1. Get up and write in your journal for a few minutes until you feel sleepy again.
2. Get up and read a book.
3. Try recalling what you were dreaming about when you were previously asleep. Focus on that dreamland and it may just take you back.
4. Do a breathing excercise. Two of my favorites are breathe in “So”, breathe out “Hum” and also breathe in to the count of 5, hold breath for count of 3, and then exhale to count of 4. Repeat.
5. Sex (making love with your partner or masturbating will turn your mind off and relax you back into sleep)
6. Visualize the colors of the rainbow slowly. Red, orange, yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, violet….
Try not to worry about not sleeping. That will just provide bananas (fuel) to the monkey mind.
To be vigilant: ” alertly watchful especially to avoid danger” (Merriam-Webster)
Even when I am at my happiest and most centered- I am always aware that the monkey mind and anxiety monster are not ever too far away… ready to tickle and tease and taunt me with their utter nonsense!
I must be ever so vigilant to keep these foes at bay.
For general prevention of anxiety and maintenance of an anxiety free state I:
1. Exercise daily
2. Connect with others
3. Spend time outdoors
4. Have some daily down time: on my computer, journal, a good book, a hot bath, a nice glass of wine, good movie with family, etc.
5. Spend time doing tasks that are meaningful to me (such as my writing).
6. Helping others (getting my head out of thinking of myself)
If I do feel an anxiety attack coming on (it does happen), here’s what I do to extinguish it before it catches fire and gets me…
2. Talk it aloud with my husband while he just listens and holds me ( I feel affirmed and loved and safe and the anxiety usually dissipates).
3. A brisk walk outside does wonders
4. Jump on my mini-rebounder trampoline to music
5. Stretch and do some yoga
6. pet my cat
7. call my mom
9. Write down my fears in my journal
10. Put a few drops of Newton homeopathic drops under my tongue. There are two I like: “Blues & Mood Support” and “Stage Fright – Fear” (www.NetwonLabs.net)
I only use these drops if I feel a strong upset or panic attack coming on (thankfully it does not happen very frequently)
Life is too short to let anxiety, over thinking monkey minds, and the resulting insomnia and stress that accompanies them occupy our lives.
Be ever vigilant and you will live a well balanced and happy life and sleep well at night.
In your journals, as fast as you can, write down as many words as you can that:
This exercise ought to tire that monkey mind right out and get you sleepy again.