The Pursuit of Happiness
Why are we always trying to be happy?
It’s no secret that anxiety and sleep problems go hand in hand. How does this happen? It all starts with stress and tension, which can lead to anxious thoughts while you’re trying to fall asleep. When your sleep is disturbed by worries of the day or even nightmares, it becomes difficult to go into a deep sleep state and get a good night’s rest. Your body and mind will be exhausted from lack of sound sleep, which only causes more anxiety because you’re not feeling refreshed after waking up.
I will outline five ways to help relieve some of your stress to get better quality sleep. These are tips and techniques I use myself and recommend to my clients.
Try meditation or Self-Hypnosis. There are many forms of meditation so if you’re a beginner, start simple. The goal is to focus on your breath and clear your mind. A simple way to start is by focusing on your breath while lying in bed. Close your eyes and only concentrate on your breathing. It’s okay if your mind wanders when you notice it walking; go back to your breath. Try it for five minutes at first. You can do it longer or set a timer, so you don’t have to worry about checking the clock. Next, try Self-hypnosis. It’s a great way to train your mind to shut down and relax. Guided hypnosis, online hypnotherapy, and meditations are a great way to fall asleep.
Get creative: When you’re feeling tense, sometimes it can be helpful to get your mind off of things. Draw, write, paint, or do something that allows you to express yourself creatively. Writing is a great way to relax and clear your mind before bed. I recommend that clients keep a daily journal by their bedside. Writing is a great way to put worries or thoughts down on paper. I recommend the old-fashioned way: using a pen and paper. Your brain can contextualize your ideas so you can leave your anxiety on the form and not in your mind.
Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that have mood-lifting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to relieving stress and anxiety. Not only will you feel better after a workout, but you’ll also sleep better at night. I recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week.
Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to improve your mood and promote relaxation. Lavender oil is known for its calming effects, and it is used in many different ways. You can add it to lotion, put a few drops on a tissue, place it near your bed, or use an aromatherapy diffuser. Many different oils have relaxation properties, so find the one that works best for you!
Talk about it: This one might be the hardest, but it’s one of the most important things to do. Share your feelings with someone you trust. Your sleep problems might not go away overnight, but it will help to get things off your chest and talk through some of the issues causing the anxiety in the first place. When you can sell your worries and fears out loud to somebody, it helps you articulate what’s going on inside.
Try some of these to use what works for you. The most important thing is to reduce the stress and anxiety that keep you up at night. Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you deserve to feel happy and rested.
Keep a lookout. I will be sending you tips soon: on different ways to prepare yourself and your environment so you can create optimal sleep conditions for yourself.