Worry is a constant struggle for many of us. Sometimes our mind will latch onto a concern and not let go. It's as if worrying will somehow solve the problem. If we obsess, we reason, we will figure out a way to solve the problem eventually.
Worry is often linked to feeling out of control of something. It is a fear that something "horrible" will happen and we will have no control to stop it. I often call it living in "what if land." We ponder; "What if I lose my job," "what if my son gets in a car accident," "What if the dog throws up on the carpet," "What if I don't like my new job."
Many worriers have trouble falling asleep. It can take an experienced worrier hours to fall asleep sometimes. Often, a worrier will be awakened at 3 am stare at the clock helplessly while the redundant list of worries cycle through; 3:00 am, 3:15 am, 3:45 am, 4:30 am. Sometimes even though we know worry doesn't help anything we still do it. It just is a hard habit to stop.
A well known sleep specialist described the worry box as a method to combat nighttime obsessions. I have been pleasantly surprised by how well it works for my clients.
- A small note card box
- note cards
- a pen
- Write your worries on each note card.
- Place cards in the box.
- If desired, alphabetize or organize by category (Family, finances, etc...)
- Close box.
- Open box 1x per day to worry deliberately for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Close box to send a message to yourself that your worry time is over.
- If you start to worry remind yourself that it is not your designated "time" to worry.
- Repeat daily.
You can decorate your box, put a lock on your box, or use it also as a prayer box if so desired. The idea is that your brain no longer has to obsess about your worries because they are written down and kept in a secure place. You can remove, or move irrelevant worries to the back of the box and see how things change. When your box is closed you are not allowed to worry until your next designated "worry time."
Often this simple technique helps the brain to relax and the worries to subside. This will free up time for more enjoyable activities and thoughts.
Go ahead, give it a try. If you do, let me know how it helped.
Blessings, and happy sleeping!