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Posts Tagged ‘insomnia’

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

Managing the Racing Mind

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Emotional regulation is a core executive function. Regular meditation and a good sleep regimen, among other methods, foster the emotional competency needed for successful decision-making and execution of tasks. A common complaint among my clients is their struggle with “a racing mind.” A racing mind jumps from one thought to another at random, making it seemingly impossible to let go of fears and worries. Meditation, or attempts to fall asleep at a normal hour can be maddening for some. Perhaps this is why many folks keep the noise and distractions alive well into the wee hours of the morning because “quiet” for them is a breeding ground for worry.

For a person suffering from anxiety or depression, worry finds an opening in a vacuum of quiet. Real concerns and irrational imaginings can flood your mind filling every nook and cranny with fear. If not managed, a mind out of control can lead to panic attacks, chronic insomnia and/or depression. To naturally slow down your mind and steer it in a more positive direction, try these methods:

1) Before bedtime or prior to an attempt to meditate, write down all that’s bothering you. List the things you can control, and accept the ones you can’t control. Include any solutions to these problems. Putting them in writing helps you address them and move on, hopefully to less worrisome thoughts.

2) Have ready some “detours” for your mind when worry intrudes. In advance, create a gratitude list, an outline for your next blog, or prepare some mantra-like affirmations using your name, for example: Carole, everything is OK, or Tom, you’re doing the best you can; it’s all you can do.        

3) Repeat a favorite prayer over and over.

4) Shift to a breath pattern that takes up a lot of mental space. Choose a breathing pattern that requires enough focus to overwhelm negative thoughts: Lie on your back with one hand on your chest and another on your midsection. Inhale and exhale audibly through your nose for 3 slow counts in, hold your breath for 2 counts and breathe out for 4 slow counts. Feel your heart beat slow down as your midsection rises and falls.

Let me help you find a non-medication approach to managing your racing mind. Contact me at the Hallowell Center 978 287 0810 or RebeccaShafir@gmail.com  

 

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Worry Wisdom

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Among the many attributes associated with entrepreneurs, the tendency to worry is high on the list. Worriers, like entrepreneurs tend to be conscientious, ambitious, competitive, and always on the lookout for opportunity.

These positive traits may also associated with problematic characteristics that can endanger one’s ability to lead effectively: hyper-controlling, trouble relaxing and having fun, easily bored, obsessive and, in some cases, paranoid. Furthermore, my clients who endorse chronic worry often have trouble sleeping. In an earlier blog, I mentioned how one’s executive functioning (the ability to get work done, done well and on time) can be compromised without consistent, good quality sleep. There are many ways to manage worry, but these are the ways my clients have found most successful:

1) Choose a time of day (not when you get into bed!) to make a plan(s) for solving the problem(s). Put your plan in writing. Review it when worry creeps in. Worry cowers in the face of a plan.

2) In a non-worry state, create a drop down menu in your mind of other thoughts to shift to when worry sets in. It’s too late to compose this list in the midst of worry. Your menu can include: a great vacation you had, an inspirational article or a lecture, a favorite song you can replay in your mind, the many things you have to be grateful for, etc. Just about anything that is unrelated to your worry should be on the list. It’s important to be able to shift to other thoughts and maintain perspective.

3) Think about how little worry has paid off in the past. How many hours, dollars and days could have been put to better use if you had managed your worry?

4) Share your worries with others. Speaking aloud to a mindful listener helps you separate facts from fiction, be creative, share solutions and derive a plan.

5) Finally, meditate on a quote by Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) a Roman Stoic philosopher, “There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

What solutions to worry have you? I’d love to hear them! Share your ideas with me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com

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