I found myself wondering, with everything that is going on out there in the world right how many people over the last few weeks have woken up with their minds racing due to stress, anxiety or worrying. This is what I call the 2 am moment, it is usually the one thing you haven’t done, the one thing you keep putting off, something you find challenging, fears, regrets, work and life in general. You know what it is s### and can keep you up and on edge for days! But there are ways to solve this and I can help.
Firstly I don’t profess to be any form of Doctor, but I have done a variety of research around this, plus worked it through with a variety of individuals on a 1-2-1 basis. Also, if I tell you that for a good while I used to wake up regularly in the night to do work for a couple of hours, you kind of get the picture that I know what I am talking about (I bet some of you are already nodding and saying to yourself I do that).
Secondly, you will have to accept some nights you just have bad sleep, it’s hot, you have a baby, or you have ingested a rather large amount of alcohol and you wake up.
What I am interested in is the subconscious part of your mind, the part of your brain that ticks over throughout the day that you don’t notice but takes over when you are asleep. This is why you wake up worrying or, in some cases with brilliant ideas or solutions to problems. In essence, your subconscious reacts to what your conscious mind feeds it through repetition throughout the day, coming alive at night.
The other interesting fact is that the subconscious mind can’t distinguish what is real or an imagined experience. So if you have been overly worrying about something and it has spiralled out of control it will make it seem real. If anyone remembers the Matrix one of the famous quotes is ‘your mind makes it real’.
Also, did you know that your brain doesn’t process the word ‘don’t’? So telling yourself not to do something or think about something only causes you to make your thought process worse and you will go deeper into what we call a negative thinking spiral.
So how can you acknowledge it and ‘fix’ it
First here are some basic practical solutions to tick off; drink less caffeine, drink less alcohol, go to bed at the same time each night and keep yourself cool, put your phone on night mode…done (for expert tips Google Matt Walker, his book and YouTube videos are excellent).
Next… focus on what you can control and how you need to think about it
Get ready for the next day, write down what you need to do and put the one item you really don’t want to do at the top of that list.
This will also stop you procrastinating, if you keep putting off a key challenge or issue your brain will keep overworking. You must take action and hit difficult challenges head on in order to be successful and rid yourself of the 2 am moment worry.
In essence you really only have three options.
- Do nothing
- Take action (usually reactive)
- Reframe the way you are thinking about the problem
For many (even the doubters out there) the best way to overcome this is to work through the problem with someone. A conversation will help you assess the current reality (it is never as bad as it seems) you can then formulate plans, goals and change habits that focus on succeeding and overcoming the challenge.
In my 1-2-1 coaching sessions I always ask ‘what is your 2 am moment? ‘, my goal is to help my clients work through their current challenges in a way that it doesn’t become an issue anymore. Meshing psychology and mindset practices with practical business solutions is my speciality so don’t be afraid to reach out with any questions.