Yesterday you laid in bed and tried to get a well earned good night sleep. But, you couldn’t. One thought after another started popping up. A stream of unrelated (usually insignificant) thoughts started and you can’t come out of this “magical” circle.
Why is this happening? We live in a time when most of us have constant low-grade stress that becomes so normal that most of the time, we don’t even realize it’s there. When we are stressed the body start producing the hormone cortisol, which can wreak havoc on our mental and physical health over the long-term. The thoughts that come up at night are associated with the increased presence of cortisol in our body system.
Needless to say, you need to decrease your stress level, thus reducing the amount of cortisol in the body. There are many tips and techniques which can help you achieve this, but here we focus on the top 7:
1. Meditation – has a number of positive effects on mind and body. Can be very hard (after all in order to work it needs our undivided attention) which is why many people try it once or twice and give up easily. Meditation can help reduce the physical and emotional affects of stress and can increase your productivity, as well as your ability to relax. For start try to meditate for 10 minutes a day, and you will quickly “feel” the results.
2. Mindfulness – try observing your thoughts, rather than reacting automatically to them. Untangle yourself from your thoughts and just observe them. Don’t reach to them, just let them “pass you by”.
3. Have routines – having routines means to have less decisions during the day. With routines we free up space in our mind for more important and valuable tasks.
4. Exercise – it’s a scientific proven fact that exercise boosts our sense of mental well-being. When you exercise your body releases endorphins. They are pain-killing chemicals that help induce a state of mental and physical peace. So try to exercise at least 10 minutes a day. Your body will appreciate it.
5. Try to stay in the present – are you constantly thinking about your past and worrying about the future? If something negative happened in the past doesn’t mean it has to happen today or will tomorrow. Think how your knowledge, skills, circumstances and coping abilities have changed since the last time. How you grow and changed. Stay in the present, in the moment. Think what can you do now and here, and don’t let your mind wander thinking about “something that can happen sometime”.
6. Practice gratitude – many people only focus on what’s going wrong at the expense of not noticing what’s going well. Taking the time to write down just three things each day that we feel grateful for can help reinstate a balanced perspective on our day-to-day experience.
7. Stop whining and get going – worrying and not taking action is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Your mind gets stuck in a negative loop, and this can be stopped only by getting up and start taking concrete actions.