Traditional Ideas to Calm Your Racing Mind
If you have trouble falling asleep because of racing thoughts, you are not alone.
This problem is so common that there are there literally hundreds of thousands of sources where you can find lists of ideas about how to calm yourself down before you go to bed.
There are breathing techniques and meditation apps. There are directives to exercise moderately, avoid caffeine late in the day, eat carbs to stimulate serotonin, and get sunlight in the a.m. You can get out of bed, listen to a podcast, create meaningless tasks in your head to distract you from your worries, write down your worries before you go to bed, smoke some marijuana, take a sleeping pill, consult a sleep specialist. The list goes on.
Why You Have Trouble Falling Asleep
Here is a look at a racing mind from the perspective of Bioenergetic Therapy, which is the type of body-based therapy I practice.
When your thoughts won’t stop racing it’s because there are feelings in your body that you have split off from consciousness. For whatever reason, you don’t want to feel them. Your mind is working really hard to keep you from feeling them, but by doing that, it’s creating a bigger problem for you (insomnia) than if you were to simply feel your feelings.
During the day, there are lots of ways you can distract yourself from the sensations of your body. It’s easy to avoid your feelings. But at night. Well, you know what happens. And then you have trouble falling asleep.
Generally, the feelings that make your thoughts race are fear and sadness, mostly generated due to a feeling of helplessness. If you can’t figure out which it is by feeling, then the content of your worrisome thoughts will probably clue you in. Once you can recognize feelings associated with your racing thoughts, you can try to let them move through you.
In other words, the secret to getting rid of the racing thoughts is to feel the feelings associated with them. It’s really the only way. You will never get relief from a feeling that isn’t expressed. And even if you try to avoid it, it will always find its way to expression, either directly or indirectly. Hence, the racing thoughts.
What this means is that if you follow this advice you will probably find yourself crying a lot. So, prepare yourself and prepare your bedmate.
If you follow this advice and can’t seem to get to your feelings, there is some other work you need to do to prepare yourself to feel more easily.
When You Breathe More, You Feel More
To feel more easily, you must deepen and expand your breathing. There are many ways to deepen and expand your breathing, but one of my favorites is 5 minutes over a stability ball with arms overhead. Once you have loosened the contractions around your breathing apparatus, you are much more likely to notice and have access to emotions in your body. Now you can try to feel the feelings associated with your racing thoughts.
Once you have expressed whatever feelings are inside you, your body will naturally return to a state of equilibrium. The racing thoughts will be gone and you will relax. And if you are tired, you will have no trouble falling asleep.
Have any questions or want some help with expanding your breathing or noticing and expressing your feelings?
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