self help

Up At 3am With Uncontrollable Thoughts?

Your mind might be racing, or you’re having a panic attack or something’s just not letting you sleep. It’s your thoughts and they can be your closest friend and your worst enemy. It’s okay, just take a few deep breaths and place your hand over your heart. Feel it beating…you’re alive, that’s all that matters right now and you’re going to get through this.

Bring Your Thoughts Back To The Present

Our plan is it to bring our thoughts back to the present. The fact we cannot sleep is likely because we are either overthinking about the past or the future – things we do not have immediate control over. You have already felt your heart beating and you are now placing your thoughts on your breathing, breath by breath. Now let’s look around the room, what do we see? Is it dark? Are the lights on? Take in your surroundings and appreciate where you are right now, this is your present.

Grab Something To Write On

As much as we really want to get to sleep right now, we have to address this anxiety we’re facing and think about our long-term wellbeing. Once you feel comfortable in your environment – you can take your thoughts away from your breathing and grab a piece of paper or something to write on.

Now we have brought ourselves to reasonably steady state so that we can sit down and address what is worrying us. On this page simply write down what you are thinking, it can be anything – things that are worrying you, issues you want to solve or stresses about the future – there is no wrong answer.

From here, what we want to do is ask ourselves, ‘why are we having these thoughts and are they detrimental to us?’ If so, we need to do something about it. Here’s what I suggest – pick the biggest problem on that page – the one that bothers you the most and stash all the other issues somewhere else for later. Let’s attack that big one first. I guarantee you that if you can solve the issue that is worrying you the most, the rest of the problems on that page will become twice as easy to solve.

Write A Plan For Tomorrow

So with that big problem – let’s write a plan for tomorrow – what are we going to do to make sure that we are working towards it? We don’t have to fully solve it tomorrow – but we must start. Set yourself some goals for the next day, week and month to overcome the issue. And before you get to sleep think about what your plan is for tomorrow and be happy in the fact that you are working towards becoming a better person.

You have designed goals that will make your life easier – so I hope you can rest easier now with the thoughts of the actions you will make tomorrow as positive ones.

If you’re up and you have questions, post them in the comments.

Much love always,

~ A.M, 2018

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11 comments

    1. Thank you for sharing. What you’re saying is so true, it often takes us by surprise and for no reason, and that can be scary. What’s important is that we are prepared with tools to confront it when it comes. Wishing you all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great advice. Another thing to do is to address the racing thoughts with physical activity to reset the circadian clock for the next night. In high stress careers, thought can often become burdensome. Therefore an exercise regimen is an absolute must. 3 am is now a meditative journey with iron and the depth of exploration running on an elliptical with a fresh mind offers. What is coolest, I can even get the pleasure of catching up with a few blogs I love to read while running on the elliptical. Win, win, win. Great article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback. That’s definitely an interesting topic to explore. Thoughts are great, but it’s true, sometimes we just need to reset, to let go and to not think for a while. There’s plenty of fascinating research coming through currently in regards to Neuroscience and stress. Definitely something I will be exploring in future articles.

      Always a pleasure to hear from you Dr Maples. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for this piece. I woke up at 4 am with runaway thoughts and tried to go back to sleep even though I know that never leads to anything good. When I finally got up half an hour later I went into a full blown panic attack. Thankfully, I’ve spent the six months doing CPT for multiple traumas and I know how to get out of the panic attack. I put my head under the sprayer on the kitchen sink and soaked my hair and neck with cold water. The shock of the cold water actually brings me back to a more regulated state with even heartbeat and slower breathing. The thoughts were still very busy so I decided to do some writing and came across your article. Now I know what I need to write about. Very helpful. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the practical method you have for getting through a panic attack – something I’ve never really considered. Calming yourself down is 100% necessary, and if you have a method for that you’re already halfway there.

      I’m glad to hear that the writing has helped, it’s a rock for me. Best of luck lifting that first stone!

      Like

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