I heard a story today about a man who didn’t want to go to bed because he knew that when he was alone in the dark, that was when the thoughts came to him and they were troubling thoughts about his health and his death and he didn’t want to be alone with these thoughts.
It was unbearable for him to be in a situation where his thoughts were racing and scaring him. He found a temporary solution was to drink alcohol, he was constantly excessive drinking and partying, staying out late and being the last of his friends to leave any party. He would regularly pass out rather than go to a natural sleep which then meant that the thoughts couldn’t trouble him. Or, quite often that didn’t work, so he would stay up as late as possible either doing activities at home or talking to his girlfriend, keeping her up late too. But this way of living was taking its toll, both on body and mind.
I wondered how many other people that would resonate with. As I get older, the appeal of going out partying all the time has rather lost its appeal, but I know plenty of people who stay constantly busy, or drink at home late at night, or take drugs to numb their feelings. There are others who might over-exercise, excessively chasing the adrenaline which stops the other thoughts from coming in.
Depending on anything external to get away from your own thoughts, is always ultimately fruitless. It can feel good for a while though, which is why it’s so tempting to do it. Insomnia, the inability to go to sleep, or the constantly waking and lying awake with a racing mind is incredibly normal and usual. All of us at some time or other will suffer with this. If there are stressful things going on, it is entirely normal to have some insomnia. When it becomes constant, chronic and you are using substances to numb the feelings and get any sleep, it can turn into a major problem. Our bodies and our minds need us to sleep so that the essential cell rebuilding, and brain processing can happen.
Our subconscious brains are incredibly active at night, healing us, and problem solving, and organising our mental filing cabinets. If we miss out on this, our bodies become ill, and our minds unhappy, our emotional state is unbalanced and we can act irrationally too.
It’s an issue that we can’t ignore.
So, what’s the answer to racing, unbearable thoughts? It’s to understand a few key valuable pieces of information.
My Top Tips and Hypno-hacks
1. You are not your thoughts.
2. You don’t have to believe your thoughts.
3. If you try and push thoughts away, they come back stronger. It is better to allow the thoughts to be there, and notice that you are not your thoughts. When you start to notice the difference between you and your thoughts, you can start to analyse them. Do I need this thought?Is it useful to me? Is it a recurring thought? Is it actually true or not true? Creating the separation between the thought and you, means that you can start to notice the thought and the emotion that it brings up in you.
4. As you practice this, you get better at not needing to react to thoughts. I describe thoughts as clouds in the sky, they come and go, and they are not you. The real you is the you which is always there and the essence of which is love and joyfulness.
5. It is trying to push away thoughts, trying to run from them, numb them, hide them, squash them, drown them in alcohol or drugs which makes them worse.
This is why mindfulness and meditation is increasingly popular as people try it and realise that they feel calmer, more in control, more relaxed.
Meditating for just a few minutes before bed is the best way to have a beautiful deep sleep. Some people feel that this is too ‘woo woo’ for them, so if that is you, just call it, sitting quietly. As a beginner, listening to a guided meditation is the best, as you simply have to sit and listen to it but it really works and unlike drinking into oblivion, a few minutes of quiet calming meditation has no hangover.
When I treat clients for insomnia, there is usually a reason for the thoughts, and in hypnosis.
I help my clients to re-frame whatever is causing the sleeplessness, and the recurring thoughts. Once the mind has processed the thoughts, using various therapeutic techniques, they change and lose their power of control over their subconscious mind.
You can give my free deep relaxation audio a try below…