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Turn It Off! I Can't Stop Thinking!

(c) 2002 by Cheryl Williams Levey,

It's 2:00am and I'm seated in front of my computer screen with my endless to-do list at my side. I've crossed out a few items on that list and am currently working on getting just one more item crossed off before calling it a night.

But my eyes are closing and I find myself jerking back awake and double-checking that I hadn't inadvertently deleted something or written some gibberish. Sometimes I find that I have and I have to backtrack back to a point at which I know I had not messed up.

Once this happens a couple times, even through my haze-filled mind, I know it's time to stop for the night. So I do.

I get ready -- put on my pjs, brush my teeth, wash my face and snuggle in to my comfy bed expecting to drop off within seconds. But I can't fall asleep! My brain is suddenly going 100 miles per hour, not only with ticking off my to-do list but also with thinking of new things to add to it! Other thoughts crowd in too, like personal happenings, remembering the snack for my son's sports game, reminding myself to call a friend, listing the various tasks I have to do for my freelance jobs, thinking of additional things I want to do for my business....I toss and turn and even consider getting back up to do some of the things I'm thinking of. I even sometimes do get up to write some things down so that I will remember the next day. I tell my brain to be quiet, go to sleep! But it will not listen!

Finally, I fall asleep at some point, but not after spending a hour or more *thinking.*

Do you ever have this problem? What could I have done to avoid all that heavy thinking while I'm trying to fall asleep? (And we all know that the harder you try, the harder it gets!)

I have a couple of tactics that I use when I remember to :) and they usually work. Hopefully they'll work for you too.

1. Don't go straight to bed from work. Try to give at least a half hour or so to do something completely different, even if it's watching an old sit-com on Nick at Nite. Sometimes the brain needs a chance to wind down before sleep.

2. Once in bed, think of your ultimate goal. My goal (defined as: dream with a plan!) is a bigger house with amenities we don't have in our already lovely home. Specifically, lots more room! I try to think of how I'd like the layout of my home to be, right down to the landscaping. I "try out" different kinds of homes in my mind, and ways we'll use our extra rooms.

Or I think of our next trip to the beach. We just love the California beaches, and although we go to San Diego more often than others, we love checking out different places along the coast. We haven't been to Monterey in a while...soothing sounds of ocean surf and woods....



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