Many mornings, I wake up around 4:00 or 5:00 am worrying about stuff. This is my worry time and I am sure it is deeply rooted in childhood traumas and family business.
Over the years, I have used a variety of approaches to getting back to sleep including thinking positive thoughts, progressive relaxation, prayer, meditation, and diphenhydramine (Benadril). All these things work, sort of.
I have concluded that nothing will change the basic fact that my brain is wired to worry. No amount of logic, yoga, breathing, or meditation is going to eliminate worry. Though, if you’re a worrier and you are not practicing some form of meditation, you really need to consider it.
Maybe you’re like me. It’s okay. There are a lot of us worriers. Every expert has a solution to this. Here is mine. It has three steps.
Step 1. Accept Your Fear
Recognize that you are worrying and that your worries have no real meaning. You are, at the moment, safe in your bedroom. There are no lions or tigers or bears. Nothing bad is going to happen, at least, until morning. After that, all hell may break loose.
Step 2. Make Room for You Fear
Locate your fear. It will be in your body somewhere. Mine is usually centered in my stomach. Once you have located your fear, let it be there. Don’t fight it but don’t fan it either. Make some room for it. It won’t last, unless you want it to and that’s another discussion.
Step 3. Cultivate Faith in Tomorrow
Remind yourself that nothing can happen that you can’t handle. People who believe in God like to say that God never gives them more than they can carry. Also remind yourself that fear is part of being alive and anyone who has nothing to worry about must lead a pretty dull life.
Fear is part of life. Move over and make some room for it.
Less than Helpful Advice
If you want to know more, the advice above is based on Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). There are lots of books and web articles about it.