Midnight Awakenings

Midnight Awakenings

“Ye cannot stop a bad thought from coming into your head. But ye need not pull up a chair and bide it sit down. ~  Barbara Kingsolver. 

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind starts racing. I’m amazed at how negative and fearful these thoughts are, from imagined catastrophic scenarios to an almost paralyzing fear of the future. It’s all fantasy, made up in my mind, with no real basis in reality. When I wake up the next morning, I feel quite differently than I did in the wee hours when my brain was in overdrive.

It’s hard enough to stay grounded and positive on a good day. It’s a kick in the pants to have to deal with interrupted sleep and the “night talk” that happens. It’s like the brain is clearing itself, sweeping out  negative debris, but then is interrupted by waking up in the middle of it.

So, here I am again. Another holiday season without family, and the midnight awakenings are even more intense than usual. The thing is, I have learned how to survive the holidays while I’m awake, but how do I deal with what my brain is doing at night? It’s like my brain has, well, a mind of it’s own.

Last night, I woke up and off I went into stinkin’ thinkin’ land. I rolled over and reminded myself that this was just my brain acting up and my thoughts weren’t necessarily true or real. I took some breaths. I thought of my sweet dogs, my dear friends, trees, mountains, chocolate, and anything I could think of that was good in my life. Then I gave thanks. I finally fell asleep and this morning I was fine.

The holidays can shove us into a potential backslide. But we don’t have to let that happen. We have control over our thoughts. It just takes awareness, a willingness to change negative thoughts to positive ones and the discipline to accomplish it.

We can say to these thoughts, “Yes, I see you. I understand what you’re trying to do, but I don’t want you or need you. Please leave. NOW!” Or something to that effect.

Let’s enjoy ourselves this Christmas, shall we? We have a choice in the matter, so why not choose to be happy anyway. This is a golden opportunity to overcome, to let go, to have faith in our lives and to have some fun.

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