What is it about 3AM? It’s an hour with schizophrenic intentions- you could be lying in bed enjoying the peaceful sounds of water lapping on an imaginary beach in Greece or…..you can be wrapped, sweating, in tangled blankets, questioning every decision you ever made and cursing the fact that there seem to be several new decisions that need to be made- immediately!
Didn’t write that important email before you crawled into bed last night? Did you binge watch your favorite show instead of deciding how much money there was in the bank, or calling your mother, or having that all important discussion with your husband/ daughter/ neighbour? Were you supposed to quit your job, cut your hair, walk your dog, or make a life change before bed last night?
I am not belittling the issues that keep us up all night- we all experience serious concerns over health, family, personal issues, money and business problems. These are not the thoughts that occupy me at 3AM- mine tend to be about toothpaste choices or where my dry cleaning is! Why are all 3AM worries so equally large? Why do they cause a crazy death spiral of anxiety that can have you pacing the floor until dawn (should I hire a housekeeper? what colors for the garden this year? what is wrong with my computer?) And why can we solve them in 5 minutes or less at 7AM?
Is anxiety standing between you and peaceful sleep? I have just finished a great book by James Altucher- The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth- that suggests as part of a personal practice, when you are feeling anxious, you should repeat ” I notice I am feeling anxious ” and then think of one thing you feel grateful for. This exercise can help to distance yourself from your scrambled mess of emotions and sheets and works to distract me from my exaggerated worries in the early morning hours. This is far more helpful than getting up and pacing. Although it really hasn’t helped me solve any of my 3AM problems- I can fall back to sleep so that they become manageable 7AM problems and solutions are far easier to find!
Altucher, James The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth 2015