Your mind is pretty much behaving like a game of Jenga.
Instead of wooden blocks, however, it’s one worry after another that’s stacking up.
Up, up, up, the tower of worries go until they eventually come crashing down.
It’s a bad kind of creativity. Instead of coming up with interesting ideas, you’re coming up with new things to worry about.
Unlike the new ideas, the worries don’t do any good. In and of itself, worrying doesn’t change anything.
You believe this and your belief doesn’t seem to be able to change this tendency. The realization that the likelihood of some of the things you imagine happening are small doesn’t seem to help.
This mental pressure causes people to turn to antianxiety pills and self-medication with drugs and alcohol. It causes them to abandon the things and people who are ostensibly causing them the anxiety.
Sometimes it causes worry habits like teeth grinding, frequent repetition of a catchword or phrase like “I’m sorry” or picking at a scab.
Worry is a very expensive habit in many ways.
Stop paying the price. Start by redirecting your subconscious to help you combat these unproductive, unhelpful, and annoying feelings.
The Layers of the Mind
It helps to think of the brain and the mind as being different. The mind resides in the brain. The brain is an organ, Consciousness is separate.
Consciously, you can feel one way. Subconsciously, you can feel another. When you sleep, your subconscious is dominant. Therefore, you spend about a third of your day with your subconscious mind being dominant, as it is when you’re in one of the REM stages. Your subconscious mind has a huge effect on your life, good and bad. Even if you keep a dream journal, you might not be fully aware of all of the effects. You’ll only remember only a small percentage of your dreams no matter how good you get at it.
That’s because you typically have five to eight dreams per night. No matter how good you get at dream journaling, you’re probably only going to remember one or two of them.
As few as those dreams are, you sometimes notice that the subjects center around a big event in your life or an upcoming change.
For example, maybe you’re moving to a new town. This is a big life change. Over a period of nights, dream topics might center around getting to work from your new home, making new friends, how you’re going to pay for your new home or about any of the myriad things people concern themselves with when they move.
Your dreams will reflect these concerns in different ways. Worried about finding a place to stay in the new town. In your dream, you might be digging out some rooms to stay in.
Worried about meeting new friends? In your dreams, maybe you’re walking up to some people you don’t know.
Worried about the expense of the move. Maybe it’s raining money in your dream. You’re busily gathering the nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars up for a down payment on your new house.
Dreams, where problems get solved in fun ways, are really special. When these kinds of dreams happen naturally, it’s got to be a way of dealing with anxiety, of believing that something good is going to happen.
From just knowing a cross-section of people, it’s clear some people are better than others at handling stress. Sometimes the reason for this is habit. Sometimes we can’t tell why. Sleep is an important component of resilience. Self-soothing dreams could be an important reason why. This is an unstudied area of psychological research, so we don’t really know for sure, but it seems a reasonable proposition.
Blind to the future
Most of us, after a few go-arounds at trying to pick winning lottery numbers, realize we can’t see the future with any degree of accuracy.
Dreams, too, aren’t usually predictive.
We can, however, have a general idea about what we believe is probable or likely. Our feelings about the future are shaped accordingly. Sometimes we come to the conclusion that the outcome we’d prefer isn’t very likely. Coming to this conclusion can fill us with dread.
Anxiety can actually be helpful to us. It can help motivate us in ways that can have a positive outcome. It can help us prepare for the future. It can help us pay attention to what’s important. It can help protect us by making us feel in danger and can keep us safe. It can help us in relationships by fostering communication about important matters.
Simply put, the power of anxiety can save us from being and appearing to others to be oblivious to our environment and circumstances.
The trouble with anxiety happens when we’re past the point of getting the message. We’re focused on the message and not the action the message demands.
We need to have ways of soothing ourselves. For one reason or another, the soothing mechanism is missing or doesn’t exist in our nature.
Yet there is a self-soothing characteristic of certain dreams. Perhaps our conscious mind can redirect our subconscious to help us diminish these anxious feeling.
When you’re having trouble making the money for the rent, it would be a lot of fun to go on a walk and find thousands of dollars in a bag with no identification so you couldn’t possibly find out who the money belonged to, just so you could pay your rent without any guilt.
Self-help for anxiety
The next time you’re feeling anxious about a something, try using free-flowing dream logic to counter the problem.
Now, if you’re feeling anxious about money, I’d be as surprised as the next person if it started raining quarters, nickels and dimes. But that’s okay if you think of that, think of how it would feel, about how fun it would be.
If you imagine that find money stuck up on the ceiling and you wonder how you’re going to get it down. Then you imagine that there’s a step stool you can get to and you put it under the 20 and 100-dollar-bills, that’s great.
Finally, if you dream you reach into your pocket and pull out a roll of 50-dollar-bills you forgot about, that’s great.
Look in your dream journal. You know how bizarre, fun, and illogic dreams are. Maybe this self-soothing mechanism is missing from yours? People can really undercut themselves with too much pessimism. Maybe you can do something to get the process started.
Studies, where people were interrupted repeatedly when they were getting into the deeper stages of REM, show dreaming is essential to mental health. We know it’s necessary, but we don’t fully know why we have to dream. This tendency of dream groupings where we soothe anxieties in different ways could be a vital part of maintaining our mental health when it comes to anxiety.
Other Self-Help Actions To Alleviate Anxiety
“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
This short prayer is known as the Serenity Prayer and was composed by Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.
It’s a good thought to hold in mind when putting anxiety and worry in its place.
It’s also worth offering the things you feel powerless about up to God.
It’s worth trying to see whatever situation as realistic as possible. Realistic doesn’t mean the same thing as pessimistic. Thinking of absurd ways that the problems you have could snap you out of an unrealistic frame of mind. It could provide some balance to your thought processes. Though the Law of Attraction may not work all of the time, setting your mind right will help you think more accurately.