Like many individuals, I struggle staying asleep at times. I am an entrepreneur with a growing business. I wear many hats and have many self imposed definitions of success struggling for attention. My bipolar diagnosis doesn’t help me quiet my mind either.
Last night I was struggling to stay asleep. My medication regime and nighttime rituals (meditation, turning off my electronics, making it dark in my room, etc.) typically help get me to sleep, however, sometimes late in the night I wake up for no reason and I can’t settle my racing mind. The usual result is I get up at 1, 2 or 3 am and just give in.
Last night. I found myself stuck in a infinite loop of conversations from yesterday or conversations I might be having today. Either way, I couldn’t reconcile my mind and as a result my inner voice started taking over.
Being in a hostage situation, giving control to my inner voice in the middle of the night is comparable to handing the keys to your car to your 3 year old and asking for a ride home. It has never worked for me! (My kid can’t even drive my car up the driveway when he’s sitting on my lap!)
I decided last night was going to be different. I decided to let my gratitudes overwhelm my inner voice. It was apparent that my inner voice was a raving lunatic on a self destruct mission. I wasn’t having it.
Rather than fighting the voice, I would listen to the statements. When the time was right and I was present with myself, I started to repeat my gratitudes, over and over and over.
If you have ever tried talking to a 5 year old, it was quite similar. Every time my mind said something, I interrupted and I responded with “I love my wife. I love my kids. I’m looking forward to my vacation.” I kept interrupting myself until I was too exhausted not to listen to the alternative story.
Sometimes the negative conversation would win. In those times, I would physically roll over and continue on my gratitude rant. They didn’t have to be things on the gratitude list from the day. Many were new that I was realizing while lying in bed.
The end result. I feel back asleep after 20 minutes of fighting. I didn’t get up and succumb to my inner voice. I controlled my mind.
Typically I would wake up in a terrible mood after spending the night tossing and turning. This morning was different. I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
I also gained perspective on the conversations I needed to have today, realizing that my inner voice was being driven by fear. Fear was presenting itself as anger and my anger was creating resentments.
Bottom line, my regular practice of gratitude and mindfulness solved my problems last night. I was able to be present to see the negative sound track and I was aware enough to realize I can control the conversation I want to have.
Taking ownership over my night gave me a feeling of power and control when I woke up. Not an ego fueled manic control that let me believe I should be taking over the world, rather a humble sense that I could manage my own thoughts and decide how I wanted to participate in today!
Sometimes waking up with a small win is all we need to change our perspective!
Are you working on your gratitude list daily? Are you struggling being present or centering yourself? Visit my website, https://www.aplanforliving.com for additional tips and strategies.
Originally published at medium.com