Podcast 035: Anxious Thoughts
Last night, I woke up with my mind spinning with anxious thoughts about the previous day.
Maybe you’ve experienced this, too.
You wake up in the middle of the night or maybe just before you’re alarm goes off. Your heart is pounding and your mind is racing.
Maybe like me your mind is focused on recent events from the day before.
Or maybe your mind races with the same type of thoughts every time you wake up. If you’re battling your weight, maybe you’re beating yourself up for something you ate. Or maybe you wake up obsessed with a certain food you want but are trying not to eat.
Maybe your anxious thoughts aren’t about the past but the future.
Are you worrying about losing a job or a big payment due?
Maybe you have a large medical bill.
Maybe you just had to replace something expensive on your car.
Maybe your fridge just died.
Or maybe these worrisome thoughts are something you always battle, even if they’re not that pressing or important.
Do you wake up in the middle of the night rehashing your work day?
Do you scrutinize every little thing your co-workers or boss said to you, no matter how minor or inconsequential?
Does your mind fixate on your finances, even when you’re holding your own in that department?
Do you think about vague possibilities like a tree falling on your house even though no storm or high winds are coming?
Do you worry about what your significant other is doing all the time, even when deep down you know they’re just at work?
Having anxiety or anxious thoughts is something many of us deal with.
But there is a difference between being concerned about a situation demanding your immediate attention – like your house being foreclosed on this Friday – or what life coach Brooke Castillo calls a continuous thought loop.
If you always or frequently wake up with your mind spinning, no matter what’s going on in your life, this may simply be a pattern your brain is creating.
And the good news is, if this is merely a pattern, that pattern can be broken.
One great start to breaking the pattern is to be aware of it in the first place. That alone starts to reprogram your brain to see this as an unnecessary and unhelpful pattern.
So the next time you wake up before you’re ready with wild anxious thoughts, you’ll say to yourself, “All right brain, I know what you’re doing.”
You might use a humorous tone, a chastising tone, or a knowing tone – whatever works best for you.
Know or say, “My brain is doing this not because something horrible is wrong, but because it’s just used to doing it. My brain has gotten comfortable with waking me up with anxiety. But I am breaking that pattern right now.”
Next, fill your mind with happy or peaceful thoughts.
- A loved one’s smile
- A calm lake, ocean or other body of water
- A soft breeze blowing through tall grass or trees
- White noise like the whir of a fan or heater
- Soft music
- The laughter of children – especially if you love those children
- The sound of your heartbeat
- The sound of your body softly breathing
- The sound of someone reading to you quietly
Once your brain has been refocused, you should be able to fall back asleep.
But what if your anxious thoughts as real immediate concerns?
Since you still need your rest, there are a few things you can do.
- Meditate, either in silence or through a Guided Meditation (My coach Betsy Pake recently did a Guided Meditation at the end of one of her recent podcasts, and she’s inspired me to do the same.)
- The phenomenal Rikka Zimmerman and Jason Stephenson also have some wonderful Guided Meditations, so I’ll link to those in the show notes
- Another great tool is to say some positive affirmations to yourself.
- Remind yourself that you are a beautiful, powerful spiritual being.
- Remind yourself that you control your brain, your brain doesn’t control you.
Say at least ten positive things to yourself.
- I am strong
- I am capable of releasing my worry
- I can figure this situation out
- Everything is going to be okay
- I know God/the Universe has my back
- This, too, shall pass
- I am a badass
- I can handle this
- I allow inspiration on how to solve this problem to come to me
- I am at peace
- I believe better things are coming
Next, visualize yourself happy or peaceful with no problems.
Remember you are a spiritual being borrowing this earthly human body. In truth, you are eternal and endless. The wisdom on how to make your difficult situation better is within you.
You carry a connection to the divine with you at all times, so let that connection open. Listen to it. Try to go to sleep. Then see if a solution or at least a way to make things better has come to you.
Another visualization you can do is to picture yourself floating above your body or even this world, away from and above any problems you may be experiencing.
Once up there, feel the love of God/the Universe. See a perfect, smiling vision of yourself- your spiritual self – coming up to you. Let that being hug you and fill you with unconditional love. Really feel it.
Anytime that anxiety returns, picture that spiritual version of yourself smiling at you and loving you. It’s very powerful.
Believe you can overcome any obstacle in your path because you can. You are so much more than flesh and bone.
Know that you are love and light and infinite possibility.
I’m sending my love and peaceful thoughts to you right now.
If you’d like to listen to my Guided Meditation, just keep listening past my outro. Make sure you can give your full awareness to it for safety’s sake. In other words, no driving or operating heavy machinery.
Close your eyes and through your nose, take a deep calming breath.
Lay back and relax each part of your body in turn: your toes and feet, your ankles and legs, your torso and shoulders, your arms and hands, your neck and head.
As your breathe in and out again, be aware of any thoughts circulating through your mind.
Do not react to these thoughts, simply observe them from a distance.
Know these thoughts are not you.
Know these thoughts cannot hurt or control you.
You are above the earth, safe and warm and at absolute peace.
You glance down at our shimmering world, the blue and white, green and brown, and feel nothing but love and serenity.
You relax deeper into your comfortable bed. Your body is completely relaxed now, your mind placid and at ease.
You take one more long inhale and exhale and let yourself slip into beautiful oblivion.
Did this information help you? Did you enjoy this brief meditation? Let’s discuss in the comments below. [podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6133216/height/360/width/450/theme/standard/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/” height=”360″ width=”450″]