One of the most frustrating things, in my opinion, is being restless before bed. Sometimes when I lay down at night, my mind begins to wander and think about everything I cannot control. Whether it’s a small issue going on in my life presently or something from the past, there are nights where it feels like I cannot control my thoughts and let my mind relax.
While I try and give myself at least eight hours of sleep each night, sometimes my body simply wont let me. Small thoughts turn into hours spent tossing and turning, contemplating decisions or possibilities.
Growing up with anxiety has taught me something very valuable. That is, your mind has the power to control everything. What you fear is something you imagine and fear is only real if you let it hold you back. The mind is in complete control of how you live your life and move throughout your days. Someone once said that the body achieves what the mind believes, and I believe this is absolutely true.
The ability to control anxious thoughts and settle an anxious mind has taken years and years of work. It is something I still work on.
A racing mind that is accompanied by irrational worries or uncontrollable fears is something my doctor diagnosed as anxiety. But it was just over a year ago that I decided to end the fear of being anxious and instead understanding it. That is, understanding what makes me anxious or what causes my brain to spiral into what feels out of control.
Because my anxiety tends to become most present at nighttime when I am winding down before bed, I decided to take control and take proactive measures. I have discovered tactics that work for me and can ease an anxious mind.
If I can offer anyone advice who suffers from any form of anxiety, it is to begin to understand what makes you anxious instead of avoiding the cause. When you begin to understand what causes you to feel anxious, the less you fear the reason and the more likely you will be to accept and deal with it at the source.
Before I end my day and try and fall asleep, I now make it a priority to do one of the three things I discovered works for me. Concentrating on something that does not require much brainpower helps me to relax. Focusing on a miniscule task, for me, provides a healthy distraction and engages my imagination. After about 30 minutes, my mind has drifted into a state of clarity and on the brink of falling asleep.
Read a Novel
I was never a big fan of reading in the past because I always associated picking up a book with some form of studying or schoolwork. Luckily I have discovered that there is so much more than that - books provide an opportunity to let your imagination run wild and live vicariously through the characters. Whether its getting through a chapter of one of my favourite novels or reading something educational I enjoy (nutrition, recipes, health etc.), it allows my mind to focus on something enjoyable and positive.
Use an Adult Colouring Book
Do not judge this method until you try it. Sure, colouring books are used by children everywhere. But I promise, an adult colouring book is so much more than it seems. It is fun, relaxing and they allow you to embrace a creative side you haven’t been in touch with since you were young.
Use A Journal
Writing down my thoughts before has given me the chance to end my day on a positive note. I try and avoid any form of planning before bed such as writing in my agenda or setting goals. Instead I just write anything I am feeling or want to reminisce about. A few short and simple sentences can completely alter your mood and allow you to focus on something happy and light.
Winding Down Before Bed