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I frequently suffer from stress, sleeplessness, and anxiety. I'm looking for things I can do to find peace and calm my racing mind. What are some good ideas?

Asked 4/9/2021 17:53 by Justin H.
Jennifer Bralick, RN

Jennifer Bralick, RN

Answered 4/9/2021 21:08

Hi Justin! First of all, I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. Are you looking for advice on what to do to help calm your thoughts down at night, to help you get better sleep — or just things to do in general? If you're primarily looking to improve your sleep, here are some things to try. Turn off your screens at least an hour before you want to go to sleep. The visual stimulation from bright screens (not to mention the stress of what you might be browsing online!) can definitely wreak havoc with your sleep quality. Try reading a book instead, or doing something like a crossword puzzle or sudoku. Keeping a journal can also be helpful for both men and women dealing with stress. Write down the things that are causing you anxiety or occupying your thoughts, and then close the journal and put it away for the night. This physical action can help reassure your mind and let go of them. Think about other activities that, throughout your life, have given you joy or a sense of wellbeing. Some people find peace and focus through manual tasks like model building, Legos, woodworking, or other crafts (they're not just for kids!). In the evening or any time during the day, a slow, gentle walk can be a good way to relax. This is especially true if you draw your mind away from the thoughts clamoring for your attention by really noticing what your senses are experiencing. What does the air smell like? Is it cool or warm? What flowers are growing nearby? Are any birds singing, or dogs barking? What do the clouds look like? If you try to find beauty in your environment and allow that to absorb your attention, there will be less room for racing thoughts. Here are a couple more ideas: * A cup of herbal/non-caffeinated tea * A hot bath * Movement (I hesitate to say "exercise" because that causes some people additional stress—just look for a way to move your body that you enjoy. It will release endorphins that help lift your mood and channel your energy to something other than stress and anxiety.) * Mindfulness or meditation (since you're already burdened with overactive thoughts and anxiety, try focusing on a single, simple thing, like a beautiful place or, if you have trouble visualizing, the feeling of joy you experience when you're with a loved one. If your thoughts wander, bring them back to that subject with compassion and without judgment.) * Try deep breathing. Inhale deeply on a count of 5, hold for 5, and exhale slowly for a count of 7. At the beginning you may only be able to do a 3-3-5 breath, but aim for 5-5-7 ultimately. This helps some people find calm (and sleep!) at bedtime, but is also a great thing to do before you eat or whenever you feel your stress level climbing. I hope some of this may be helpful for you! Don't hesitate to reach out if you have other questions or would like further guidance!

Casie Pelnar

Casie Pelnar

Answered 4/15/2021 15:43

Hello Justin. I agree with everything previously written but wanted to add that alternative modalities particularly CranioSacral Therapy (CST) can help the body to find that state of relaxation. While CST helps the body to find areas of strain, it also helps the body find the release from that strain. Those strain patterns can affect the nervous system and cause dysfunction that results not only in hormone imbalances, but also in anxiety, depression or insomnia for example. You can search for a CranioSacral Therapist in your area by using the search criteria on this website or by going to www.upledger.com and click on the 'Find a Therapist' icon. I wish you the best in finding the avenue which works best for you.