Anxiety at night

Chaeedy asks…

“I’ve been practicing the meditation 5 days a week (weekends are tough) in the morning, and it seems to be making a difference. Was feeling better, living in the ‘Now’, and to be honest, much fewer thoughts (in fact, very few).

But over the last 2-3 weeks I’m fine during the day, but when I turn off my light at night, I get this overwhelming anxiety/dread/terror feeling. It’s nothing specific, just the feeling. I don’t let my mind dwell/race on some concerning thought (staying in the now) so it’s not that. But it’s brutal! It just doesn’t seem to make sense… Any ideas/suggestions?”

© Remara

I assume your soul is tidy?

i.e. you aren’t viewing your life in any way as unacceptable or stressful, and you see that a thing only matters inasmuch as it moves you towards or away from health and peace of mind…

So, assuming you aren’t fueling the fire with insane thoughts about success, and that your good health habits are in place, then we’re left with old conditioning.

You’ve been giving your mind fight, danger and stress thoughts for a long time, and even when we make a different choice, the old pattern continues for a while.

You need to simply not care that it’s there and see it for what it is… old stuff playing out. Then focus on Happy Guide’s relaxation method when you get into bed and do it every night…

Don’t worry about the anxiety coming. See it like an annoying song on the radio… it’s there, you can’t do anything about it but if you get annoyed, give it attention, give it meaning, analyze it, make it a problem, resist it, try to hold it down, engage in any way, then it just make it bigger in your awareness. Always with things we don’t want is to allow (let it be), not care (let it go), remove attention.

So don’t care about the anxiety. This tells your unconscious mind that there is a new situation, the old thing no longer serves and it will die away gradually. It tells your mind “I see you, thank you but no thanks.” Your mind is giving you what you asked for years.

By consistently not caring and removing attention, we reprogram the old trigger/association and auto-redirect the energy to what now serves us best. Soon this new habit will play out instead.

So put your effort and focus behind relaxation… moving your awareness through your body, stopping at each part for 20-30 seconds and leave the anxiety alone.

You may also find that if you remove all attention from old worries, that they appear vividly in dreams. That’s all okay and normal. It takes time for your mind to adjust to the new you and the new way but if you are consistent in new decisions, in new ways of being, your mind will quickly settle down.

The clearer you see what is and what to do, the firmer your decision, the more unshakable your resolve, the more consistently you apply it, the faster you can change.

Oh, and the fact that it’s just a feeling and is not triggering thoughts means great progress!

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

16 thoughts on “Anxiety at night

  1. Hi Mike, thanks for this. And very good advice; I’ll both remember it and apply it going forward.

    Funny, but after I wrote to you, I kept thinking about one thing, “tidy your soul”. I am much better than before, but to be honest, my soul still isn’t tidy. That’s the hardest thing I find. I’ve realized how silly/crazy it is to compare yourself to others (although I still do it now and then), and worrying about stuff. But financial security IS important stuff…

    Plus, I STILL find myself saying I’VE GOT to do something else with my life, or I’ll wake up one day 7 years from now and realized I’ve wasted it doing something I really haven’t enjoyed for the last several years. Is that really wrong?

  2. Hi Chaeedy,

    Your habitual thought loops are just a mental conundrum that keep you stuck between a rock and a hard place. They seem important but aren’t really. Is there REALLY a problem here? If I hard wired your brain so that you could never think all these thoughts what would happen? Imagine.

    This is the difficulty with problem solving on a mental level only. It’s only when you can SEE the truth that you can act on it. I know that mentally you can see that the best things in life are free, that you only need simple basics to keep a healthy body, that what you are doing is creating unhappiness by this constant mental war. But you are afraid to let the problem go.

    What happens if you just stop thinking about it? I say that only then, something deeper, a deeper truth may be able to function through you, and only then will you actions begin to line up with your core values.

    You have many unquestioned beliefs that your father and peers conditioned in you that are at serious odds with your core values. This is why you are afraid to let go, because that would go against these unquestioned beliefs, and the values of your peers.

    As I said to you once, in your situation I would simply walk away. But why can’t you? Because you have competing belief systems, you don’t fully trust your own heart.

    So what to do?

    I say leave it alone, drop the problem and just let everything settle. Simply focusing on the Happy Guide lifestyle is all you need to do. Everything lines up ON ITS OWN.

    By leaving it all alone, you allow KNOWING to function in you. Not mental battles and problem solving but just clear and bright feelings that arise in you with absolute clarity about what to do.

    Your current way is constantly projecting your happiness into some future scenario when you finally have it all figured out. It’s just doesn’t work that way. Give yourself a break!

    So… in your situation I would do this… Focus on living right, focus on the moment which means just always listening. This leads to auto-disidentification with thoughts, it lead to auto-questioning of beliefs and so auto-deconstruction of old beliefs that do not re-present you.

    Just be CURIOUS. Always. See what arrives in your mental field and view it with curiosity but engage with nothing. Just witness it all.

    Then you will see amazing shifts in you. Feelings which represent your deeper truths begin to function and you begin to act on them and their clarity.

    Continue as you did that night in bed where anxiety was there but you were simply curious, distant, not engaging. Continue for weeks and months and you will see everything line up.

    Now you are quite “mental” in the way you think you must deal with life. Problems to be solved mentally. So this new way takes faith and faith is rewarded with results and that leads to trust.

    But it can be scary so a good thing to do is try out the new way for a limited time… dip your toe in the water. Say for one month, you withdraw from all problem-making and only listen to what enters your mental field with curiosity. Of course, you carry on with your life as normal, only all the mental sparring stops.

    Do it for a month, committed, enthusiastic. See what happens.

  3. One thing I forgot to mention; I’ve finally realized what you’ve been talking about. With me always looking, searching, striving for the “ultimate goal/finish line”, I’ve inadvertently put myself in this constant “alert” state.

    That in turn leads to anxiety, which is what fuels irrational fears in the first place. And if you are never able to alleviate that state, you likely can never alleviate the thoughts as well.

    Crazy, eh? :-)

  4. Crazy is a good word for it :-)

    Insane is the word I usually use for all the nonsense we get up to when the ego rules because we believe our thinking is us, when we get confused about what matters by giving meaning to things that don’t mean anything. Traditionally, in spiritual circles they call it “dreaming” which is a bit nicer :-)

    What a relief when we REAL-ize what we’ve been doing and then it seems soooo crazy.

    And of course, all repeated thinking, (and ideas we give meaning to easily repeat), become habits. So we seek but never find because the very seeking becomes habit and the seeking is based on a falsehood. In Happy Guide I call it chasing after rainbows.

    It doesn’t mean we can’t have goals but “stuff” can’t make you happy. You have to be happy first and then creating is fun… not from a sense of lack, not to complete a false sense of identity, not to fulfill a false premise about yourself.

    And the realization you’ve had is the important thing… to SEE it, not just as an idea but to see right through it. The idea can be a start… the idea of having a tidy soul, the idea that success can’t make you happy. Then it takes time for the idea to cause an inner resonance and become realization. When we hear a the truth, it resonates in us, something stirs in us, awakens, because we all know the complete truth deep down.

    You’ve had many of these a-ha moments and it’s important to focus on the new realizations–to KEEP IT REAL, perhaps write them down under your lifestyle blueprint, so that the old way of thinking and the old beliefs don’t come and swamp the new clarity.

    Then as the realizations become dominant, you WILL line up your actions.

    Thoughts aren’t true Chaeedy… they have whatever meaning we give. And most people give meaning to crazy stuff and create a nightmare. That’s what happens when we believe ideas that aren’t true.

    So as you LISTEN and it becomes habit — the best habit, you start to see through, more and more, all the BS thinking you’ve been doing and see the nightmare you’ve created.

    You still have these thoughts like “I’ve GOT to do something” and other stressful thoughts that mean now is unsatisfactory. As I’ve said many times, thoughts like these are creating misery and anxiety. The fact is you have an inner war due to competing beliefs.

    So drop the whole thing, just listen, keep alert and notice every single thought. Don’t let even one of those pesky critters suck you in. See what happens.

  5. Well said. One can tell that you are speaking from experience! Thanks again (again!), and have a great weekend!

  6. You’ve got me nailed buddy! :-)

    That’s why I’m looking at an alternative to my current line of work. But I’m a person who really loves to be busy, in the sense that I can immerse myself in what I’m doing.

    I really do like being productive, and I believe I can create something new that would be fun AND get me into a new industry…

  7. Well, it’s up to you what seeds to water.

    Just be sure to make living in the moment the important thing and the doing fun and stress free.

    Here’s another analogy for you: look after the horse and don’t stress about the cart. A strong and healthy horse can pull ANY cart! :-)

  8. Very true. I need to get out of where I’m currently living… in the meanwhile, you’re right; I just need to make the best of things.

    I should focus on that instead of ruining the “present” by thinking of all the negatives and what I’d do in the future…

    Thanks Mike

  9. Sounds perfect… make the BEST of things. You have a wonderful life Chaeedy, it’s a shame to ruin it by training your mind to focus on what you don’t like, by constant habitual worry.

    Instead focus on what you do like, let go, appreciate, and for the future “wouldn’t it be wonderful if…” If you choose to think, think thoughts that feel good but be sure to spend most time not thinking, living in the moment.

    Simple stuff.

    Seems to me you know where you’re headed.

    There is nothing in your life that would prevent you experiencing constant joy now. The only fly in the ointment is you: bad seeing, judgements, ego and bad habits. Awareness is the cure, meditation.

    Catch yourself in the old pattern and stop it by intense listening and refocusing on your doing, your flow. Then soon, the old pattern will stop repeating and you’ll be free of it. It’s all very simple stuff Chaeedy, you just have to SEE it, have faith in it and DO it.

    You’ve made amazing progress my friend, lots of a-has and realizations. Slow but steady :-)

  10. Thanks buddy! Yes, slow but steady…

    Funny, I was at a baseball game last night and a couple of things happened which really stuck in my mind:

    First, as I was watching the players warm up, I started to have one of my old harming thoughts regarding one of the players.

    The thing is, before the game, we had a going-away thing for someone at work, so I had had a few drinks. Well, it was end of the week so I was already tired (I never sleep well :-) and you combine that with the alcohol, and boom, there you go again.

    The thing is, now i realize the way it works. You’re at a game alone, mind is wandering/looking/analazing, etc, you’re tired, and a bit drunk, so FIRST, you get a physiological reaction (say pit in stomach) which is really just the combo of fatigue and alcohol. SECOND, your “mind” goes, “whoa, something is wrong…look for a reason”, and THIRD, you create the thoughts to justify it, hence last night.

    The key is not to fight it. Just watch it, don’t analyze it, then focus your attention elsewhere and let the thought pass.

    Funny, when I got home late, I checked the mail… a bunch of bills… more and higher than I expected. Before I would have tossed and turned all night thinking about it, with the added constant anxiety.

    Not last night; there initially was a bit, but I said “let it go… deal with it tomorrow”. I still do have those bad habits, but it’s FINALLY coming along (thanks to you).

    The other interesting thing last night was I was talking to a friend’s wife about the friend. He just found out that he has prostate cancer, but hopefully they caught it early enough so he will be OK.

    Juxtapose that with the fact that his wife AWAYS used to be miss corporate, work first, etc. Last night she said “I really don’t care any more about work… I have much bigger priorities” which was great, but then she also said to me… “You know, I really have no idea who I am”.

    WOW! I just smiled at her and said “I can totally relate”.

    Anyway, thanks again Mike. Still have a way to go, but I definitely am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Have a great weekend!

  11. Tell her that she can’t find who she is by thinking.

    She can’t be an idea or defined by words. Honey defies description, so much more so a human being. To know herself, experience herself, be herself deeply, in meditation. That’s the right direction. Please do give her this message :-)

    You did good at the game, totally the right reaction but we must get to the causes… lack of sleep, too much alcohol. And we have less self control, less choice if we’re tired/stressed/drugged… the old patterns become more automatic and it’s harder to redirect them.

    That why it’s always a multi-pronged strategy because everything affects everything else. The great thing is that even tired and drugged, you did it right.

    Have a great one yourself dude. Enjoy (in joy :-)

  12. Thanks, will do. Oh, and by the way, I never thought I’d say this, but to be honest, I REALLY don’t enjoy drinking that much anymore. Yes, still like the occasional glass of wine, but not every night, and DEFINITELY don’t like getting drunk any more. Not fun, fattening, and all the other obvious reasons… :-)

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