For years, I would suffer from insomnia on evenings that I had to socialize. If my husband and I went to a party or we had friends over for dinner… it wouldn’t matter if I had a perfectly good time or not. Inevitably, when it was time to hit the pillow my mind would start it’s chattering… I would go over the evening in my mind over and over again in minute detail. I would worry about what I said or how our house looked (if we were the dinner hosts for that evening). I agonized about what our friends thought or how I appeared to others. This would go on for a long time. It was not a fun night when this happened and needless to say, I did not sleep well.
If you can relate to this, you are not alone. There are many of us with social anxiety. It manifests in differing degrees, perhaps, but it is more common than we realize.
The Mission here at The Warm Milk Journal is:
To live a well balanced, rewarding life of our dreams by day and sleep restfully at night.
We can’t very well do that if our monkey minds are churning around agonizingly over and over again about stupid stuff. Right!?
For a quite a few years I actually was prescribed a low dosage of Clonazepam to help me sleep at night when my anxiety was at its worse (about 12 years ago now). I am happy to say that I have been medication-free for five years and it is rare that I lose sleep over social anxiety.
Here are three things that I have found that help me:
1. At some point, I realized that people (in social situations) are not thinking about me. No, do you know why? They are busy thinking about themselves. That’s right! So what am I doing wasting my precious time and energy worrying about what they are thinking of me?
It was once said that:
What others think of me is none of my business. ~ Author unknown
Amen! That one idea has helped me considerably!
2. Calming activities before bedtime such as: writing in my journal and meditating are most helpful.
3. If you are lying in that bed in the dark stuck on a monkey-mind thought…become the observer and ask your mind what is it going to think next. For instance, ask :
I wonder what my next thought will be?
I picked up this neat little trick from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and it really works. Give it a try!
To get a good night sleep, here are 17 things to let go of as you turn off your light and put your head on your pillow:
1. Let go of any resentment you are feeling. Just let it go!
2. Any hurt feelings you may have. Let it go. You are safe. You are loved. You are enough. If you need to share something with your spouse or partner, do so. Have them listen. They can hold you. Then let it go. If you are feeling hurt by someone who is far away or not with you, consider writing a letter (just the process of writing itself will be healing). You may or may not decide to send it. Write it, let it go, and go to sleep.
4. Worry about what others are thinking of you. None of your business. Let the whole people pleasing thing go. You can’t please them all- never will.
5. Fear. Imagine the worst thing that can happen and the outcome. Then see yourself deal with it. Now, let it go.
6. Worrying about the future. No reality here. It doesn’t exist. Let it go!
7. Fretting and regretting the past. Again, this is not your reality. This is not your life. This is your mind wanting to play with your peace.
Let it go!
8. Your mile long to do list can be a real sleep thief. Before you turn in, Cross off everything except for maybe the 1,2, or 3 most important things on that list. Tell yourself that even if you just do one of those things the next day, you will have a wonderfully successful day and the rest of the items of the list don’t matter or can wait- yep, let them go!!
9. Criticism of others. It is easy to fall into the blame game. Know that we are all trying our best. Putting our energy into wanting to change others is only setting us up for disappointment and insomnia. It won’t do much for our relationships either. If you are tempted to think or say a critical thought about another, imagine them as an innocent five year old child.
10. Criticism of yourself. Don’t spend another tortured night beating yourself up. It is cruel. You don’t deserve it. Give yourself the love and peace you deserve. Let the critical self talk go. Now!
11. Inhibitions. Are you holding yourself back? Consider letting go of the voice that is always telling you “no”. Go to sleep tonight with a smile at the thought of doing things you want to do.
12. Let go of clutter, anything that no longer serves you.
13. Let go of perfectionism
14. Let go of over committing yourself or your family. Your kids don’t have to be involved in every extracurricular activity your community has to offer. You don’t have to bring work home.
15. Let go of needing to be in control all the time
16. Let go of high expectations. This can be exhausting! Let things be as they are. Let them go.
17.Let go of caring too much.
Let it go. Breathe. Let it go. Ahhh… Let it all go… Your life and peace of mind and getting a good night sleep are much more important than any of the nonsense listed above.
Over thinking leads to anxiety and insomnia. What do I mean by over thinking? Do any of these apply to you?
1. You can’t make up your mind about something. There’s just so many options available!
2. You worry about how people will react or what others will think about…
3. You stew in your mind and replay a social interaction that took place recently or a while ago.. (a phone conversation, a conversation at a dinner party or at work, etc.)
4. You are stuck in indecision because you want to make the right decision. What if you are wrong and you make the “wrong” decision? Horror! Better to make no decision at all, then, so your mind tells you.
5. You have a perfectionist streak in your personality and want things just so…
6. You have a hard time being in the present because you are thinking that maybe you should be somewhere else doing something else.
7. You are prone to experiencing buyer’s remorse.
8. You are prone to regret.
9. You have a fear of failing.
10. You are someone who likes to keep your options open…
If any of these apply to you, you are an over thinker. Chances are you could enjoy more peace and more sleep if you could overcome some of these
over thinking habits.
Here are seven ideas on getting off the over thinking treadmill:
1. Stand tall and think confidently about yourself (you are enough, it doesn’t matter what others think)!
2. Practice making decisions. Even if it is something small like what to order on your dinner menu at a restaurant. Pick something that catches your eye and decisively with enthusiasm order it! Enjoy your meal. Don’t worry about the other things on the menu that you might have ordered or look on at your mate’s or other patrons dinner plates and worry that you could have done better in your dinner selection.
3. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, be happy with it. You are where you are supposed to be doing what you are supposed to be doing that very moment. It is perfect.
4. If you feel you made a “wrong” decision, think of it in terms of you are getting closer to the “right decision”. Be proud that you are taking some kind of action. The only way to really fail is by practicing inaction. By taking action, you are a success- no matter what the outcome!
5. Try this little trick I learned from Eckhart Tolle’s The Now: Close your eyes and ask yourself : “I wonder what my next thought will be?”. This somehow stops your over thinking monkey mind in its tracks. Try it. It really works.
6. Learn to meditate.
7.Discover a passion and then focus on that one thing. Specialize in something. A focused mind with purpose is one at peace and sleeps well at night.
Debra : )
Designed by Colleen M. Messer.