Sunday, March 14, 2010

How to Relax

I stumbled upon a way to relax, sleep better, and combat anxiety. Works for me. Maybe it will work for you too.

I have been having a hard time sleeping in the past couple of years. This is connected to hormone changes, and I know it, but I have had numerous conversations with my hormones, sometimes at 2AM, and they are uncompromising scum if you want to know the truth. Some nights I was sleeping better than others. I have used melatonin and Advil PM when necessary. My doctor assures me these things are not addictive, but I don’t like to make my body dependent on them. I have also suffered from panic attacks, usually precipitated by fears of financial ruin. These are real fears, but having a panic attack over them is not in any way useful or helpful and the stress will most certainly have negative health consequences down the road.

So what did I discover that has made a difference? Matt McKay’s Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook. I got it out of the library because I was researching Dr. McKay, who is connected to a publisher I have been communicating with regarding publication of one of my books. If you ever wanted to learn to meditate, this is the how-to book for you. I have discovered that I can’t meditate because my brain is so full of ideas running around that if I finally manage to clear it of all thought, I instantly fall asleep. Handy. But in fact, the exercises from the book that I use to sleep and avoid panic attacks are not meditation. For sleep, I use a relaxation exercise and I am amazed. It works every time. For panic, I use some of the thought control exercises, including a visualization of putting all my worrisome thoughts into a big red box, tying it up with a bow, and sticking it on the top shelf in my closet. Sounds crazy, huh? But for me it works. Dr. McKay’s book has many, many, many more exercises to choose from and step by step details in how to train yourself to effectively use these exercises. Something for everyone.

If you are stressed or needing to learn how to relax or meditate or cope with unwanted thoughts, check out this book. A life saver.

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