Mental Clutter: Is It Keeping You Up at Night?
Mental clutter. It’s the thoughts you ruminate on in the middle of the night, after you’ve gone to sleep.
You know the Lemmejust Dragon. That’s the Dragon who whispers to you, using your voice, and says, “Lemmejust do… before I go to bed.” And it gets later and later, with the Dragon and his voice disguiser adding things, one at a time, for you to do before getting ready for bed.
Upwards of 30% of the population is considered to be sleep-deprived. This issue leads to health problems and cognitive impairment. Mental clutter is one contributing factor that keeps people up at night. All of the issues that don’t get addressed during the day, the concerns that are avoided, and those that people just try to ignore, pop up at night. It’s generally quieter then and you’re not as busy as during the rest of the day. But this mental clutter can rob you of much-needed restorative sleep.
What To Do
One thing to do to manage the mental clutter is to write down what you ruminate on in a journal or on slips of paper. The idea here is to get the invasive thoughts out of your mind (instead of you going out of your mind) and on to the page. It creates a barrier or separation from you and the invasive thought. I’ve had clients, literally, put a container with a lid on their nightstand. Then they drop in the slips of paper with what’s on their minds, and schedule when they will look at them. With this method, your mind is no longer the container for the ills of the world.
Now it’s time for your midweek Enchanted Breath. With intention, breathe in deeply and fully, filling your lungs with breath, and exhale fully and completely, releasing anxiety and tension. Repeat. Call to mind each of the concerns that typically plague you at night. One at a time, release the issue by envisioning it exiting on your breath into a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Schedule time each day, way ahead of bedtime, to look at one of the issues, and only for a predetermined period of time. Set the timer, explore it, make a decision about it and release it.
Choose Your Container
One man shared that a Mason jar wouldn’t cut it. He visualizes a huge tub for his woes. He pictures himself securely fastening the lid and decides when he will address each of the issues. Sometimes, he says, a few of the issues have resolved themselves before he was ready to look at them.
Try it. See if this works for you. Of course mental clutter may not be the reason you’re up at night. Always check with your doctor or a health provider to determine if you suffer from any medically-related issue.
Enchanted Breaths are the “ahh, the haha, and the aha! of life.”