So step one is actually to recognize the thoughts that are creating the anxious feelings. So before anything happens in our body, it first happens in our mind. Now, eventually what can happen is anxious patterns can start in the body and trigger the mind, or it happens so fast, the thoughts happen so fast and you’re not conscious of them, that it just feels like anxiety comes out of nowhere. But anxiety actually is fear of the future. And so in order to get back to the present, which is what is, we need to identify what are the thoughts creating the anxiety? And in this case, the anxiety about sleep.
So maybe right now you’re thinking, “Oh my God, if I don’t sleep, I’m going to lose my job. I’m going to lose my health. How much longer is this going to go on for? Is there something wrong with me?” Now, these types of thoughts are very common, and they’re also anxious producing thoughts. So you want to take an inventory and the next time you start to feel anxious about what are those specific thoughts for you? Is it, you feel like something’s wrong? Is it, you’re afraid you might lose a job or a relationship? Or whatever it is. A lot of times these thoughts are unproductive. They’re not based in reality, they’re catastrophized. But we need to identify them. So step one is to recognize that you’re having these anxious inducing thoughts and to recognize the thoughts. Step one.
So step two, get curious. So curious is really important state here in order to solve sleep anxiety. If you’re not curious, if you’re in a state of resistance, and we’ll talk about why curiosity is not a state of resistance. If you’re not in this state of curiosity, of openness, of willingness, then it’s going to be very hard for you to shift out of the anxiety. And so paradoxically, shifting out of anxiety actually starts with you accepting, getting curious about what you’re experiencing, the physical sensations, the racing mind, the racing heart, getting curious about the thoughts that are creating those sensations.
And then moving on to step three, which is actually allowing them to be there. And I know it sounds counterproductive, it sounds very paradoxical, and this is a little bit hard to get. And for our clients that we work with at Sleep Science Academy, sometimes it does take a couple of weeks to really, not just cognitively get acceptance, but how to embody acceptance. And so I want to share with you just a couple tips about how to practice acceptance, which is really step four.
Acceptance is simply truly being okay with what is, without any emotional charge around it. So oftentimes what happens is, we resist what is. So we resist the feelings of anxiety, the racing heart, the racing mind. We resist maybe the sweating or the uncomfortability that comes along with anxiety, the physical body sensations. And because we’re in a state of resistance, what we resist persist, and it anchors in this pattern in the body. And so how do you get off of this vicious cycle, this anchoring in the body is you actually accept it. You allow it to be there. You get curious about it. And this does take practice because it doesn’t come naturally. That’s for sure. So truly accept the moment, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it’s not what you want, rather than wanting it to be different, trying to escape the moment, escape the uncomfortable thoughts, escape the uncomfortable feelings.
This, again, creates resistance. And you can kind of think you got it, but how you know you really got it is when you’re feeling the anxiety, you’re feeling the sensations of uncomfortability, and you’re also at a place of peace. And I like to say acceptance felt in the body is kind of like how forgiveness feels. So if there’s ever someone that wronged you, that you are carrying around this resentment or this judgment or this hatred or whatever you want to call it towards this person, and you were able to truly forgive that person, it kind of feels like a weight lifts off your shoulders. Now, you still might be uncomfortable, you might still have some harsh feelings toward them, but when you truly forgive or you truly accept, it kind of feels like a lightness in the body, even when you’re uncomfortable.
So those are some pointers for you all. So step five is to seek support. This is such a simple concept to identify the thinking, to get curious about the thoughts, get curious about the feelings, and then to accept and fully accept whatever it is that’s happening. And oftentimes, again, we might think we get it cognitively, but until we’re embodying it, that’s… When we’re embodying it, we’re present. And again, it feels this sense of lightness. It feels like a sense of ease. And this can be hard to do without support. So seek support from a counselor, from a coach, and if there’s anything we can do for you at Sleep Science Academy, get and reach out to us. Love to support you. This is one of the core strategies that we use in our programs to truly help people overcome countless years and even decades of chronic insomnia. So seek support, practice these five steps and let me know in the comments how it works for you.
Overcoming sleep anxiety is one of the biggest hurdles to solving insomnia and naturally restoring sleep cycles. In this video, you’ll learn how to overcome sleep anxiety in 5 simple steps.
1. Recognize and identify the thoughts that create anxious feelings
2. Get curious to shift out of a state of resistance
4. Practice acceptance
5. Seek support
Learn more about how we can support you https://sleepscienceacademy.com/masterclass