Tossing and turning. Demanding the thought go away but finding it’s still there three hours later gnawing at you. Even a small niggle can feel like a huge mountain of a problem after the sun goes down. It’s difficult to let things lie when they’re not resolved. It’s like our brains go into overdrive, prodding us to stay awake and do something about it. So how can we put them to rest and get some shut eye?
Don’t keep your to-do list in your head. Write down anything you need to remember so your brain doesn’t feel the need to remind you about it in the middle of the night. I keep paper and pen next to my bed so if anything pops up I can write it down and forget about it until the morning.
Obviously if you can deal with your worries during the day they won’t be left over to bug you at night. If you can’t deal with it right now then make arrangements to tackle it later. Even booking an appointment can put your mind to rest.
Your brain loves a puzzle, especially at 3 o’clock in the morning. If there’s a problem you’re worrying about come up with a list of possible solutions. Even if you don’t know how to fix it yourself coming up with the next step to try can help ease your mind. For example planning to ask a certain person who knows more about it or reading a particular book.
Sometimes you wake up worrying about things you can’t fix like global warming or world peace. If you’re fretting about something big then go big and solve it. In a fantasy world with no rules how could this be resolved? Fairy godmother waving her wand or perhaps humans having the ability to fly? What if everything worked out happily ever after? Make it big and colourful with sights, smells and sounds, like a waking dream.
When we deliberately try not to think about our worries we can find ourselves thinking about them even more. (Don’t think about white elephants. See what I mean?) But when we engage our imaginations we can help ourselves to relax about it and even sometimes come up with the actual solution.