Every so often, I get myself worked up over something I can’t control. And usually, these episodes happen at night, not too far from bedtime. There is something about the evening – once the sun is down and the world is a bit quieter – when all of the bad thoughts come out to play.
My husband, observing that I am mulling over something, will say to me, “Diana, you have GOT to let it go.” See, my husband knows that if he spends the evening dwelling on something, he will not be able to go to sleep. So, he tells himself that he’s not allowed to worry about it that night and gives himself a time the next day that he can start worrying. The good thing about my husband’s philosophy is when your scheduled worry time comes around, the sun is out, and your mind is usually focused on other – perhaps more positive things.
The problem is that even though I really like and understand this idea – not dwelling at night but giving yourself a time the next day to worry – I have no idea how to actually do it! How does one make their brain just “let it go” and stop worrying? So I did a bit of web research (translation – Googling) of the issue, and found quite a bit on the subject.
Now of course, the first thing that pops up when searching “Let it Go” these days is the song from Disney’s Frozen. I’ve seen this movie, but I thought it would be worth reading the lyrics. The message in this song is more about being yourself and not holding back. It’s a good message on the surface (there are some issues here worth thinking through – lyrics like “no right, no wrong, no rules for me / I’m free” are troubling…) but overall, this is not the type of letting go I am looking for at 10 pm when I can’t turn off the worry.
So when I changed my search from “let it go” to “letting go,” I discovered more helpful information. One website suggested that people “shift the focus to caring for yourself.” What a great idea! At night when I can’t stop worrying, I could always paint my nails. Or I could work on a scrapbook. Or bake something yummy. Refocusing the mind towards something positive can do wonders for squelching those nighttime thoughts.
Sometimes, though, distraction can be problematic – it can keep you from really dealing with the issue at hand. One website suggests that we should ask ourselves what is truly causing the worry. Most fears, it says, comes from False Evidence Appearing Real.
Whether I decide to shift focus or deal with the issue head on, at least I’ll be taking action! Passive attempts to “think about something else” don’t seem to work for me. The next time that the bedtime blues start to creep in, I will follow the advice of the great Google and take action. Hopefully then, I can be like my husband and let things go – to be sure I join him in getting a good night’s sleep.