Tips to handle nightime anxiety
Man, have you ever noticed that anxiety tends to increase as it gets closer to nighttime? In this video, I am going to give you 10 tips to help you calm this pesky nighttime anxiety and help you get a better night sleep.
There are many statistics that show that many individuals struggle with sleep on a regular basis. In fact, 50% of those who are sleep deprived say that their anxiety impacted their ability to sleep. it's like a double-edged sword. Anxiety tends to cause less sleep and having less sleep tends to cause more anxiety.
Our brain is simply tired at the end of the night. We've had 1000+ different thoughts, we had problems to solve, homework to do, and really, the biggest thing we're thinking about is....those things we don't know. Our brain can get so stuck on the future, the what-ifs, the things we have no control over. This is where anxiety loves to live.
To teach this anxiety who's the boss, here are your 10 tips to help with your nighttime anxiety.
#1 - Practice meditation - We need to learn to calm our brain from the day. Teaching it to not problem solve before we sleep. Some day, while we dream, our brain is throwing out useless information and even problem-solving. Some suggest this starts too soon, before we've gone to sleep, causing extra thinking and more anxiety. Meditation can be anything from starting a guided meditation you find online, to using your 5 senses to notice the things around you and practice not using judgment with them.
#2 - subscribing to this channel. It'll power you up. But really!
#2 - Practice good sleep hygiene - This typically means having a good schedule. You watch tv until a certain time, you turn your phone off at a certain time, you get to bed at a certain time. Consistency is the key. This may even mean limiting naps in the day and limiting caffeine or alcohol. Sticking to a schedule that you can count on trains your brain to sleep when it needs to sleep.
#3 - Avoid stressful activities before bed - It's important to create a transition from daytime to nighttime. The goal is to teach the brain that daytime Is for problem-solving and thinking, and nighttime is for relaxing. This may mean, no work past a certain time, no news and no social media. Some may even find that watching TV right before bed presents an issue.
#4 - Limit screen time - Have you heard of "blue light" - it tricks your brain into thinking the sun is up. It keeps you awake. Professionals suggest shutting down all screens 1-2 hours before bedtime to minimize sleep interruptions. This also allows your brain to slow down and prepare for sleep. For some people this is a must, for others, that's just part of the lifestyle. There are blue light filters to minimize the blue light. This isn't only for your sleep, but for your anxiety.
#5 - Use a weighted blanket - It's like a hug, but without the hug. Weighted blankets produce calming effects. The deep pressure can help increase serotonin and melatonin while decreasing cortisol. Ultimately, this promotes feelings of calmness and peace.
#6 - Exercise in the day. Exercise reduces the production of stress hormones. With less stress hormones, we tend to have less anxiety. Regular exercise has shown to help people fall asleep faster and more soundly. Even brisk walks. However, Individuals should avoid vigorous activity at least 1 hour before bedtime.
#7 - Set aside time for winding down - This is all about routines. Think about things that get you in the mood to sleep. Dimming the lights, listening to calming music, a warm bath. At least 30 minutes before bedtime, individuals can start this transition. Schedule this out. I am sleeping every night at 10:30 - The body and brain need to know this routine.
#8 - Write worries down on paper - Sometimes our thoughts just won't stop. But that's okay. Thoughts are thoughts. Some find it helpful to pull out a piece of paper and write down thoughts in the day. Anxious feelings or things they need to get done. The act of putting them on paper often tells the brain, it's here. I'll get to it when I get to it. But what you'll find as well is that most of things you're writing are things you have zero control over. Or they are things in the future that we are unsure of. Teach the brain that you wrote them down and are no longer problem solving them. Sometimes a quite answer to the brain like, "okay" "cool" "gotcha" can signal that you have the thought, but aren't moving any closer to it.
#9 - Avoid lying in bed awake - Leaving the bed may feel counterintuitive, but getting out and doing something relaxing can help calm the body and almost reset the loop of thoughts. This doesn't mean pull out your phone and scroll through social media. Ultimately, this conditioning is known as stimulus control and can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. If you try this, it's important to actually leave your bedroom, get a mental reset, and try again.
#10 - Let thoughts be thoughts - The more you try to control them, the more they have control over you. Practice not putting any value to these thoughts. It doesn't matter if they bring anxiety or if they are random. Let a thought be a thought. Just like before, answer like, "okay" "cool" "gotcha" or "maybe, maybe not" signal to the brain that it's just not your thing to figure out all the thoughts. That may have it's place another time.
Ultimately, what's important to know is that many have anxiety about the act of actually falling asleep. It's actually okay to feel anxious. The body is throwing out false signals. Allow your body to do what it's going to do. When anxiety arrives, you can acknowledge it. Hey there, welcome. You can stay or leave whenever you want. The more we take value away, the more the brain learns from these experiences and is less likely to bring it again next time.
So what'd you think? What helps you with your nighttime anxiety? Let me know in the comments
Stop night time anxiety
How to sleep faster from anxiety
Anxiety Warning Signs
Anxiety. We've all had it before. in this video I will help you identify 15 warning signs that anxiety is creeping it's way in.
Warning sign #1 - Appearing zoned out. when we zone out, we're typically in deep thought. It's okay to be in deep thought, however if we are trying to solve a problem that might be related to a potential fear or worry this is a big warning sign of even more anxiety to come. When other individual start noticing, this is when this warning sign increases. Not being present in the moment while thinking about the past or future is essentially ruminating. We don't want to ruminate, we want to be in the present moment.
#2 - Our emotions increase. We start snapping at something so small. So small that it is almost embarrassing that we got angry in the first place. Something like, my keys fell out of my pocket, I screamed. My child spilled their milk again I snapped at them. The show I wanted to watch is no longer available, I threw the remote. Pay attention to emotions and if they increase sharply for no apparent reason.
#3 - Becoming impatient. That car took 2 seconds to get started at the stoplight. I feel the need for things to be done RIGHT NOW. No time is wasted. When it doesn't go the way I planned, I'm angry.
#4 - Struggling to make eye contact. It's natural to feel uncomfortable when making eye contact. when it becomes a focal point. Something that is on your brain as a potential worry or threat this is when we see it as a problem.
#5 - Not subscribing to this channel - Just kidding. But it will power you up.
#5 - Needing more reassurance. if you don't know by now, reassurance asking makes us feel better. Whether we are asking if everything is okay or we want to know a certain answer. This becomes a problem however when the need for reassurance it's only to reduce anxiety. Especially the reassurance you're trying to seek is the same question you've already gotten a good answer for. This reassurance can be in the form of researching things online or asking somebody.
#6 - Struggling to sit still - if you find yourself more fidgety the normal this may be an indication of some pent-up energy or stress. If you have a difficult time sometimes just sitting, watching TV or playing a video game when these things were enjoyable and easy before this is something to look for.
#7 - Avoid making plans for the future - the future is so uncertain. We don't know anything. Plans that we have can change on a dime. The future makes us anxious. When we find our self not willing to plan anything for the future, it may be an indication that we're not ready to face what's coming up next.
#8 - Cuting your time short or leaving events early- You may find yourself wanting to leave early while hanging out with friends or going to various events. You may even plan for it, make excuses to leave. Essentially, just not enjoying where you're at and longing to be somewhere else.
#9 - Taking too fast - That's right. You may be talking faster than normal. Stumbling over words and simply trying to say what you need to say as fast as you can. You may not even realize you're doing it. When talking fast, you may not even be registering what you're even saying...words may just be flowing out.
#10 - Concentration - If you're finding yourself distracted when doing simple tasks, this may be and indication of anxiety. The brain essentially is problem solving something. It could be important or be random. This lack of attention may be something that bothers you. You cant to be present, but find it difficult to achieve it.
#11 - Noises are too loud - You may be hypersensitive to noises. You're finding yourself cringing, annoyed, angry by various noises thought-out the day. This typically is more than normal. Someone eating, loud cars, that fan at work that is clicking.
#12 - Protecting yourself - You find yourself doing manierisms that protect. You have your phone out more often as to not talk to others. You cross your arms when around people. You won't let others be behind you. You're hyperaware of what is going on around you.
#13 - Hard to breathe - You may notice that simple tasks are exerting a lot of energy. You find yourself out of breathe throughout the day. Shortness of breathe may be a new thing for you. When in normal situations for you, you find yourself struggling to breathe.
#14 - Pacing back and forth - People tend to pace when they are anxious. It gives them something physical to do while they are ruminating or thinking. If you find yourself needing to move around, pace, or walk often, while being stuck in deep thought; this may be an indication that your body is trying to process the extra stress or anxiety within.
#15 - Physical sensations - Dry mouth, tightness in chest, fast heart beats, stomach aches, or headaches. Our body can do some strange things when it's trying to deal with anxiety. It can actually cause physical pain or discomfort to remind us to "fix" the anxiety. Just an extra boost and reminder that something isn't working out well for you.
Ultimately, If you notice any of these 15 warning signs, chances are, you may already be anxious. But that's okay. Anxiety is actually not the enemy. We don't always have to react. We try to focus on what we have control over. If I am overworking myself, I can choose to slow down. If I am isolating myself, I can choose to go out.
Unless we see immediate danger, we don't need to react to anxiety. We see it as a false signal. Maybe just a reminder to slow down and leave things uncertain. Let life by life. Stay in the moment. Notice these warning signs to help you know how you're going to respond to anxiety or for you to know what aspects of your life you have control over and are willing to change.
Soooo, Do you relate to any of these warning signs? How do you know you're about to feel anxiety? Let me know in the comments below.
Recognize anxiety signs
How to stop intrusive thoughts
Let’s talk about 3 types of intrusive thoughts, who has them, if they are harmful to you, and what you can do to get them to stop.
Have you ever had an unwanted thought or image get stuck in your head? Usually, you can ignore it and move on. But sometimes, it just keeps popping right back up.
These thoughts can be sticky. Uncomfortable. And likely not something you want to think about. So if you don’t want to think about these thoughts why are they happening. It is intrusive. You didn’t invite it in. You’re also having a hard time getting rid of this thought. It seems like the more times you push the thought away, it comes back even stronger.
You may have heard people say this before. Everyone has intrusive thoughts. But just because everyone has them doesn’t mean that yours do not matter. An intrusive thought can be literally anything. It could be random images, disturbing and violent ideas. It can be completely random in the sense of the brain continuing to say “what if” this were to happen. These can feel more than just thoughts. Some can feel them. They can be constant, relentless, make you cringe, make you even question yourself because you’re having certain thoughts.
I find that these thoughts love to come when you want them the least. They definitely are not easy to ignore. It is like a relentless child meeting your attention. Waiting for you to put value want to what they just said. Repeating something over and over and over again. Dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad.
So the question is, are these intrusive thoughts harmful to you? The short answer is no. They are actually harmless. But, if you obsess about them, but value to them, and even try to find a way to get the thoughts to stop…. Then it can be a time where your life is now interrupted.
This can be often a sign of a mental health condition, often intrusive thoughts can be a symptom of anxiety, depression, OCD. When we say that everyone has intrusive thoughts. Somebody might have I thought that comes to your mind that causes some concern. This thought comes and it goes. If someone is struggling with a mental health condition, these thoughts come, and they come and they come and they come. That usually is accompanied by anxiety. By fear. By meaning. The brain is trying to interpret what just happened. It says that it must mean something important.
That right there is the trap. Once we start putting meaning on these thoughts, then we just put a value on them. Once they have value, they want to keep coming. Making individuals often feel bad about themselves.
Intrusive thoughts have many forms. Here are 3 types of intrusive thoughts
Sexual thoughts. It’s natural to have a sexual thought. They often come in they go. They’re very automatic end up to find you in anyway. When they are intrusive, they may come in the form of worry. Sexual intrusive thoughts can often include images and questions. It can be about anything and anyone.
Violent thoughts: Some may have harm thoughts. These thoughts may be related to hurting yourself or someone else. It could be an intrusive thought about pushing someone in front of a car. It can be fairly aggressive, he can make you wonder if you would ever act upon those thoughts. These thoughts can feel very real and graphic.
I called the next one just junk thoughts. You have no control over them, they have zero relevance to your life. You can be a thought about an interaction you had with somebody. It can be certain words that just repeat in your brain, certain images that keep coming back, more than them causing distress, they may cause annoyance. Individuals know that these thoughts don’t matter, yet they can’t get them out of their brain.
So here’s what you do with them…..NOTHING. --- Wow Nate, crap video bro. --- Wait, wait wait….hear me out. Nothing means, don’t come up with a list of things you can do to get the thoughts to stop. The second you devise a plan, the more thoughts you are likely to have. This is because we’re putting value on the thoughts. We’re saying they matter enough for us to problem solve how to get rid of them.
So with the NOTHING attitude, we see a thought as a thought. Don’t matter if it’s a harm thought, scary thoughts, or simply a plain on boring thought that just won’t stop. We can’t stop the thoughts, instead we can practice responding to them in a different way. Something like, “I’m loving these thoughts, you’re welcome to stick around” “join the party” “I may or may not have these thoughts all day, I’ve accepted it either way.” A thought is neither good or bad.
INVITE, INVITE, INVITE….It’s more enticing to a thought to want to come when it’s not welcome. When you’ve opened the doors and let whatever happen happen….it’s not as fun. There is a greater chance that this thought won’t come around.
Many may be asking….sooo when do these thoughts go away then? We don’t put a timeline on it. We don’t expect them to. We don’t look for freedom. We accept where we are now and enjoy the ride. The thoughts will slow down, when they slow down. In the meantime, your job is to LIVE life, let the thoughts be, don’t fix them, don’t make sense of them, don’t label them.
It’s doing what you want to do, NO MATTER WHAT thought comes your way. So, are you going to try it….Try Nothing. It’s worth your time to do nothing.
You know what will power you up? Subscribing to this channel. Thanks so much for watching and I will see you next time.
Intrusive OCD Thoughts
Sexual Intrusive Thoughts
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Reduce anxiety - dbt skills
Drop The Rope Analogy
Imagine yourself facing a monster. Maybe it’s your anxiety or OCD. It can take on any form. It can look like anything. It can be tall, small, short, big. It can have claws, horns, sharp teeth. It can be furry, bald, or however you’d describe your monster. Between you and the monster is a giant pit that represents your symptoms. The never-ending feelings of anxiety or OCD. The nagging questioning and doubting that anxiety loves to bring. This canyon or pit is BIG. Real big. You can hardly even see the bottom. It almost feels hopeless that this big pit will be there to stay forever. Now imagine yourself near the edge of this pit holding a rope. The rope spans across the pit. Guess who’s holding on to the other end. You guessed it, your monster. That pesty thing.
You are stuck in a perpetual tug of war. To not fall into the pit, you’re holding tighter. I mean, the rope has been your security and safety this long. (the rope are your compulsions….the things that your anxiety says will keep you safe) They are the….”just check the stove one more time” “are you sure you’re a good person, go ask mom again.” “better research again to make sure you didn’t really do that thing.” As you’re pulling this rope, you’re in constant battle with your symptoms. The monster. It really doesn’t budge, it won’t go over this pit.
You think that the more you pull this rope (do the compulsions) the closer you’ll get to finding freedom and allowing that monster drop right into the pit. The sad part is….the monster gets right to that edge and does one bit TUG, pulling you right back into those compulsions and making you doubt all over again. It can feel never ending. The only thing the brain says is to keep trying….you almost had it. This cycle repeats over and over again. There is one thing the monster doesn’t expect……..you drop the rope. That’s right. You have all the power in the world. You’ve been feeding it this whole time. You stop doing the compulsions. You stop trying to figure it out. You stop all of it. You allow the anxiety to just be there. You even act like you don’t care. The monster is ANGRY man.
It screams across the pit telling you to pick the rope back up…it’s the only way…it throws out these threats… You answer each threat by agreeing with it or saying, “yep, maybe.” “cool, thanks for that thought.” You learn that the chatter of the monster slows down. It finally takes a seat….It’s no fun for this monster. You’ll realize that the threats it’s ever given you have been false this whole time. The urge to pick this rope back up becomes less and less. It takes commitment, but you do it. You’re dedicated to NEVER figure out your “what if” or to react to any “perceived threat” that comes your way. You’ve gained control again.
You’re the boss. You may feel like you didn’t “win” the battle, but you’ve accepted it for what it is. Acceptance is key. You’ve learned to live with this monster regardless of the threats. Some days it’s tougher, some days it’s no big deal. Regardless… you live the life you want to live. Ultimately, what I want you to do is to figure out what you’re still holding on to and allow yourself to “drop the rope”. Your time is NOW. Make sure you check out my online self-directed OCD course to help you drop the rope and learn the correct treatment for your own OCD. What things do you need to drop the rope with? Thank you so much for watching and I will see you next time.
Acceptance and commitment therapy and anxiety
act therapy and anxiety
Anxiety and how to move forward
So when I say stop moving the cup, this is what I mean. A few years back I was at my brothers house. We are all seated around the dinner table talking and laughing. Their dinner table is located right next to their white carpet. My three-year-old periodically would run up to the table grabbed her cup of juice, grape juice of all things, take a drink and put it back on the table.
What I noticed is that when she placed her cup back on the table it would be close to the edge. I would continuously move the cup back to the middle of the table. Just as I was done, she would run back, grab the cup and follow the same routine. Slamming that cup back on the edge of the table. I found myself moving this cup over and over and over again. I didn’t wanted to fall, I didn’t want to hit their white carpet. I felt like I could prevent this.
Little did I know, the more time I spent moving this cup, the more ingrained I got into the perceived threat that this cup was going to fall. So ingrained that I missed out on the conversations happening right in front of me. By the end of the night, I probably move that cup 20 times if not more. Guess what ended up happening, nothing. Nothing happened. Her cup did not fall. The catastrophe I was trying to avoid did not happen. And my brain said, good job…. You did really well preventing this threat from happening. My brain didn’t know any different, it really thinks I did a good job. But what if me moving the cup had nothing to do with the catastrophe not happening.
It seemed like such a silly thing, but it got me thinking. How many times in our life do we have a perceived threat, something more completely guessing that could happen we are doing behaviors to prevent it. Even if the catastrophe actually did happen, we would be able to problem solve it. Think about this for yourself, how many times a day, a week, an hour are you trying to prevent something bad from happening. How much of life do you feel like you’re missing?
Life is meant to be lived. We are meant to make mistakes. We are meant to fail. We are meant to let the chips fall where they may. We do not need to solve the problem if there is not an actual problem. The cup on the edge of the table is not a problem. It could potentially be a problem, but at this moment it is not a problem. When we focus more on living life and enjoying the things around us, it is worth more to risk the perceived threat happening then to continually problem solve it and prevent it from happening.
When it comes to anxiety and OCD symptoms, the perceived threat happens day after day after day after day. The brain thinks that the only reason it hasn’t happened is because you may have done a compulsion or followed its rules. When we are doing treatment we have to retrain the brain to say that it is completely lying to you. When we don’t do the compulsion, and in my case it would be moving the cup. We allow ourselves to see what ends up happening. When we find that the catastrophe doesn’t happen the brain learns that the threat it gave you must’ve been false. Thus reducing the amount of threats you make it in the future.
But if the catastrophe actually does happen, we can problem solve it.
So when I say stop moving the cup, what I really mean is stop doing the compulsion. Stop trying to prevent the bad thing from happening unless you see immediate danger. Meaning there is no doubt in your mind that you are in danger, you don’t even have to question it. If you do have to question you already know it’s a perceived threat.
And I know what you’re thinking. Yeah Nate, your examples about grape juice falling on white carpet. Mine is so much more serious than that. Do not fall into the trap that your perceived threat is more important or is different than someone else’s. It doesn’t matter what intrusive thought comes your way, we treat it the same.
Stop moving the cup. Risk the threat. Is worth living life, than to live life to problem solve.
My question for you is what is going to be the thing that you are going to stop doing today? What cup will you stop moving?
Thank you so much and I will see you next time…
How to stop anxiety
Calm down from anxiety
Stopping anxiety when it hits
Imagine getting this voicemail at the time the school bus is supposed to arrive. Anxiety provoking right? I mean I sent my 5-year-old to kindergarten. They sent emails and made comment assuring us that “our child will not get lost”. I didn’t even ask for that assurance, they just offered it freely.
As a therapist who strives to live my life with uncertainty, I initially wasn’t worried. Like I always say, when there is a problem, we’ll solve it.
What do you think? Is there any question in your mind that THIS IS A PROBLEM?
This is what I’ve been talking about all along. When your anxiety hits you and you’re anticipating a problem, you’re guessing a problem, you’re living your life as if there is going to be a problem……IT’S NOT A PROBLEM.
A problem needs to slap you in the face.
You need to not have any doubt that there is a problem to be solved. If you cannot physically see or hear the problem that slapped you in the face.
(b-roll slap face)
Then you’re feeling false anxiety and are reacting to something that isn’t really there. The body needs to learn that you ONLY react to REAL problems.
So back to the story. The bus was supposed to arrive at 3:30….. it didn’t show. The call was given at 3:30 – what was I to do? Problem solving kicks in, the anxiety kicks in.
This is what it’s designed for. What would you do in this moment? When there is a real problem presented in front of us, we have to focus on what we have control over.
I can call the school for an update.
I can get in my car and drive to the school.
There really isn’t much more I can do. Here’s the kicker. The brain automatically plays out situations in our head. These are the what if’s. and guess what? We can treat them the same as ANY OTHER PERCIEVED THREAT. Yes, I do have a real problem presented in front of me, but I practice not reacting to the guesses.
We do this by using a lot of maybe, maybe not statements, even though it can be very scary. My brain went to the worst….
Did she get kidnapped?
Did she get on the wrong bus?
Did she think she could walk home?
Is she wondering around the school?
Did she get hit by a car?
Did she pass out somewhere?
These guesses are NOT THE PROBLEM. My perception is. I can answer each of these with a “maybe” or “possibly” --- because all I know is that they cannot find my daughter.
Man, this is incredibly tough to do, but it’s ALL WE CAN DO. So in short, we focus on what we have control over and leave the rest uncertain.
If I reacted to “did she get kidnapped?” what am I supposed to do? Call the police and report a possibility, just because it came to my head. Drive the neighborhoods looking?
Here is what ended up happening…….10 minutes later I got this voicemail.
(b-roll answering the phone)
I now know a solution…get in the car and pick her up. That’s what we did. When we got to the school, the teacher was sobbing, the school was apologetic, my daughter was well….. only sad because she didn’t get the chance to ride the bus with her brother on the first day.
I mean, you were told to get on the wrong bus, following blindly the directions of others, taken back to the school and picked up by your parents.
Man, kids are resilient. Here’s the deal….What we learn is that giving assurance or reassurance doesn’t work. The school sending an email assuring all the parents that everything is going to be fine is a guess. This is most assurance giving. A complete guess. We need to learn in our life to either
1. Not give assurance unless we know 100% (something like, gravity will continue to hold us to the ground)
2. Leave things uncertain, teaching us and our kids to allow life to be and solve problems when there are problems.
We can only prevent so much and must allow life to just be. So why am I telling you this story?
I’m sharing this story as an example of when we need our anxiety. These moments happen rarely. I mean it. RARELY. And even with real danger anxiety, we still can practice uncertainty.
Treatment for anxiety is uncertainty. Allowing yourself to risk the what ifs. Allowing yourself to live life regardless of the buzz reminding you of dangers. Because you don’t follow those “what if’s” anymore.
So tell me, for the times you feel anxiety, how many of them are REAL? Meaning, How many have actually manifested the way you thought they were going to. You see, we forget about the times it didn’t happen are really good at remembering the times where the catastrophe or “bad” thing did.
Your job when you’re feeling anxiety is to quickly look around you for immediate danger. If you don’t see any, you treat it as a false alarm by using the magic words….”maybe, maybe not.”
Stop living in the future of what ifs. Instead live and enjoy your life NOW.
Real events bring anxiety
How to solve anxiety problems
Anxiety! Most who feel anxiety are looking for relief. I mean, that’s what the body is urging them to do. Instead of looking for the cure or falling for those “anxiety recovery in 2 weeks” scams; we do what we know works. Let me teach you how individuals finally learn to retrain their brain with their anxiety.
How to not be scared of needles
Nothing is like the real deal! We all know that. But, research has shown that we can use exposure and response prevention for the fear of needles. Here are some exposures that individuals may do. The point isn't to remove the anxiety, it's to teach your brain something new about the fear. That you're the boss and you can do hard things.
How To Stop A Panic Attack
Do you know what to do during a panic attack? Did you know there is treatment? It might look different than you’ve expected. Panic attacks can happen at any time and can often be mingled with stress, anxiety, or OCD. Let’s go through Panic Attacks, why you have them, and what to do with them.
What to do during a panic attack
Treatment for panic attacks
Nathan Peterson specializes in working with OCD and Anxiety related disorders and has done so for the past 7+ years.