How to Calm Your Anxiety Before Bed [Activity]

How to Calm Your Anxiety Before Bed [Activity]

Trigger Warning: The world and everything in it.

I’m not suicidal but damn, sometimes not being alive sounds real good.

And if you’re here, I am going to assume you’re not completely unfamiliar with that feeling.

But don’t look alarmed, you’ll alarm people.

And there’s absolutely no reason to be alarmed.

I don’t have much to say about what’s going on in this post, but rather, I have something to do about what’s going on inside of you.

I want to share a tool with you that I sometimes use to help me work through the darkest of my thoughts.

This is my small resistance.

It is an exercise I came up with that is an amalgamation of different techniques and activities I have encountered in therapy and the self-help world. But when it boils down it’s very cognitive-behavior-therapy-esque.

I use it when I am spiraling and/or I’m having trouble falling asleep. It’s an unloading exercise that makes your articulate the thoughts going on in your head so you can see them for what they really are.

An Anxiety Activity to Help You Sleep

Disclaimer: Still not a doctor. Go to therapy. Take care of yourself.

Step 1.

Write down the deepest darkest thoughts you are having.

Including the petty, basic, bullshit drivel you’ve been hurling around inside your head.

Some examples from my personal brain crap tank are:

  • What if my boyfriend is just using me?

  • I’m afraid that my friends find me annoying.

  • I’m worried that I am too much effort for people.

  • I’m scared that I am too fat to be loved.

  • I’m scared that never going to be able to have kids

  • I’m worried that I’m never going to be happy

  • I feel like there’s no point in being alive

  • What if people think I smell bad?

  • I feel like my boyfriend won’t love me unless I do things for him

  • I never feel like I do enough.

  • Sometimes I feel like my co-workers secretly hate me.

You get the point.

Write down every single thing that’s keeping you up at night. No matter how stupid you think it is.

Acknowledge it. Write it down.

[ DO NOT TYPE. WRITE. ON PAPER.]

Step 2.

Keep writing.

I’m serious. Write down every single thing. You should be tired when you finish. There should be nothing else to write. Empty it all out.

Go for gold. Don’t stop until you’re done.

Here’s some of my empy-the-tank thoughts for your amusement and inspiration:

  • I’m jealous that my cat likes my boyfriend more than me.

  • I feel like I’m a bad person because I keep my cat indoors.

  • I feel guilty that my cat isn’t living her best life.

  • I feel like I’m creepy.

  • It makes me so sad that everyone is horrible and mean.

  • I’ve worked really hard to get where I am and I still feel so far behind.

  • I’m afraid no one will ever love me enough.

  • I’m afraid no one really understands me

  • I am a huge drain on everyone

  • I’m afraid my ex will fall in love with soneone and want to have kids after he told me he didn’t want them

Step 3.

Turn the page.

Step 4.

Now write the truth.

The most objective objection to each of your thoughts that you can think of. It helps to ask, is this thought true? Is it accurate? What is the most unemotional way of conveying the truth about this statement?

If it helps, take on a trusted friend or parent’s voice and imagine the thing that they would say.

Here’s some examples:

  • What if my boyfriend is just using me? It’s unlikely my boyfriend would be going through the trouble and be so affectionate and kind if he was using me. What does using someone even mean? What is he even using you for?

  • I’m afraid that my friends find me annoying. If that were true, they probably wouldn’t be inviting you to things and tell you they love you all the time. Also, they are kind of annoying too.

  • I’m worried that I am too much effort for people. You’re not too much effort for the right people.

  • I’m scared that I am too fat to be loved. There are lots of fat people who are loved. Your weight has exactly zero to do with how lovable you are.

  • I’m scared that never going to be able to have kids. You’re doing what you can and making the choices you need to make to get there. You can’t tell the future. You don’t know what’s going to happen.

  • I’m worried that I’m never going to be happy. Happiness is not exactly a realistic goal for anyone. Happy should not be the goal.

  • I feel like there’s no point in being alive. There probably isn’t but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t good things you can experience and do with your life.

  • What if people think I smell bad? You shower regularly so it is unlikely. But if you do, then, whatever.

  • I feel like my boyfriend won’t love me unless I do things for him. Your value is not dictated by the things you ‘do’ for other people.

  • I never feel like I do enough. You are a super hardworking badass. Your ‘doing’ just looks different from other peoples. Also, compared to who?

  • Sometimes I feel like my co-workers secretly hate me. That’s probably not true, but even if it was, they don’t have to like you to work well with you and respect you.

  • I’m jealous that my cat likes my boyfriend more than me. He’s novel and pays more attention to her, she’s your little baby.

  • I feel like I’m a bad person because I keep my cat indoors. You want your cat to stay alive, so yeah, this is a good idea with where you live and your cat's ridiculous antagonistic behaviour.

  • I feel guilty that my cat isn’t living her best life. She’s spoiled rotten - proven by the fact that you’re even worried about it.

  • I feel like I’m creepy. Define creepy? Most dudes are way creepier than you could ever imagine to be.

  • It makes me so sad that everyone is horrible and mean. Not everyone is horrible and mean, but yes, it does feel like that some days. Don’t be horrible and mean yourself.

  • I’ve worked really hard to get where I am and I still feel so far behind. You’re living in a fucked up time and far behind compared to who?

  • I’m afraid no one will ever love me enough. Then you should probably work on loving yourself or question why this is so important to you.

  • I’m afraid no one really understands me. Why is being understood so important to you? No one can really truly understand another person anyways. But you can try.

  • I am a huge drain on everyone. I am sometimes a huge drain on everyone.

  • I’m afraid my ex will fall in love with soneone and want to have kids after he told me he didn’t want them. You have 100% no control over this and you probably didn’t really want to have kids with him anyways.

Repeat for every single thought.

Step 5.

Turn the page.

Step 6.

Now address every single one of those thoughts you wrote down using purely positive language. There are a couple different ways you can do this:

  • Write how you wish things were.

  • Write the thought that you wish you were having.

  • Rewrite the thought in the positive.

  • Write the base need or desire that is not being met that would create that thought.

Here’s some examples:

  • What if my boyfriend is just using me?

    • My boyfriend brings lots of great things into my life and apprecites me.

    • My relationship is balanced and good.

    • My boyfriend is lucky to have such a giving partner.

    • I am feeling unappreciated or out of sync with my partner.

  • I’m afraid that my friends find me annoying.

    • My friends love spending time with me.

    • I’m excited to spend time with friends.

    • I’m really lucky to have such kind, patient, and weirdo friends who love me.

    • I am feeling insecure in my friendships.

You get the idea…

When you’re finished this all, you’re going to be tired. So go to bed. You’ll find that most of this will have emptied you out.

What you’re doing in this activity is holding space for yourself.

You are making room for your thoughts and feelings to be heard. Giving them as much room as they need. And then you are not negating them, but putting them in perspective.

This activity won’t solve all of your problems, I can promise you that. But I’ve found it extremely helpful in processing what I am feeling and getting a hold on my thoughts that seem to be spiraling out of control.

I hope it helps.

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