Last week, I found myself lying awake in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep, due to stress and a racing mind. I started thinking about how I could help myself relax and clear my mind. Turns out, thinking about the 3 tips below (and actually doing them) helped quite a bit, and eventually, I found myself drifting back to sleep much faster than I would have if I would have just kept stressing out about all the things on my mind. So, if you find yourself stressing out and unsure about what to do, here’s a good place to start. Obviously, I’m not a doctor or anything close to it – I’m just sharing what works for me.
Close your eyes and picture a certain set of items. I usually pick a color and then try to think of as many items in that color as possible. Be sure not to move on to the next item until you can clearly picture the first item in your mind. For example, if you choose to pictures items that are green, you might first visualize an apple. Once you can see the apple in your mind, you might move on to visualizing a fern. I find that this helps to clear my mind, because the only thing I can focus on is what I’m trying to visualize. I find this to be especially helpful when I’m having a hard time falling asleep.
Breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 2, then breathe out for 5 counts, pause for 2. Repeat, making sure to count and focus on each second. When I concentrate on my breathing, I’ve realized that it makes it hard for my mind to think/worry about other things. Steady breathing also helps with feeling calmer overall.
Write it down.
Write down everything that has you stressed. Getting it out of your mind and turning it into something tangible helps to make it feel more manageable. Keep in mind that this shouldn’t necessarily be a to do list, but more of a way to visualize what has you stressed.
How do you deal with stress? Have you used any of these tips in the past?