That head game tends to happen over and over again. Even if you tell yourself, everyday, that you’re not going to let anxiety do that to you.
That’s why I was surprised when I stopped doing it. But I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t do it consciously. Actually, it happened on accident.
How could that be?
Well. Every now and then I used to wake up suddenly in the middle of the night with palpitations. I’d run through my house and play the head game. I remember standing in my living room, clutching my chest, and thinking: I’m going to die, but I’ll probably be alright. I did that for a long time.
That is until one night, when things changed.
After jumping out of bed and sprinting to the living room, yet again, I realized that it was 3 a.m. and that I was tired. Too tired to be panicked. So I went back to bed. I didn’t even think about it. I just did.
The next morning I was amused that my tiredness had beat out my anxiety, but I also learned an important lesson. I realized that before that night, when I would sit and wonder about whether or not anxiety was going to kill me, I chose to do that.
I never knew I had a choice. I’d always surrender to anxious thoughts, and ‘what if’ scenarios, because I thought I had to.
On that night though, I rejected the panic, the palpitations, and the thoughts whizzing through my head. I was able to do that because I made it an option. Shoot, at that point it was the only option.
I tried the same thing a few times after that. Then, it stopped. My midnight adventures stopped.
I’m not suggesting that you sleep when you get anxious. I mean that you have a lot more to do with being anxious than you think. It’s true that anxiety often comes without an invitation, but it’s you that won’t tell it that’s it’s time to go home.
What’s important is how you decide to react to your anxiety. That’s what dictates how bad things get. The more you sit and think about it, the more you imagine what might happen, the stronger your anxiety will become.
Then, of course, there’s hindsight. Now I know that I was stuck in a pattern. That I felt more anxious at night because that’s when a body at rest gets a chance to feel the anxiety that was there all day.
I also realized that none of those midnight adventures ever killed me. And that the effects of anxiety never changed. So why stress about it?
When you get anxious at night (or anytime), continue as if nothing is wrong. Try not to change what you’re doing, or what you plan on doing.
Eventually, anxiety will leave you alone because there won’t be anything for it to do, literally.
You might be thinking that’s too easy. But I promise you that there’s no need for it to be hard.