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Overwhelmed by your problems? - 6 steps to shrink them & sleep like a baby

Do you have that song that instantly transports you back to being 18 years old on a Friday night rushing to the dance floor with all your friends?

Mine is Usher's 'Yeah!'. I think that holds up right? Still a banger? These days, the only thing dancing in the middle of the night for me is my mind.

It's rare, but.. it's.the.worst. Can you relate? Those nights when your mind is down to party and there's no point being in bed anymore.

When you're so overwhelmed by your problems it seems impossible to tackle.

So I wanted to share a tip, not to help with the symptom, which in this case is insomnia, but to solve the root cause, which is most likely that your problems feel too big and you don't know what to do with them.

I want you to take on this lesson because a shitty night's sleep means shitty days and it really isn't helping you live the life you want to live and chase those dreams I know you have. There are plenty of amazing tips out there to help you reduce stress and anxiety, mostly focused on healthy eating, exercise, and getting sleep (which is pretty hard to do if your mind is keeping you awake). So when problems get big, you need a BIG solution. My tip starts with this phrase you've possibly heard before:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

It's called the serenity prayer, and it was popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It's often paired with the guidance to surrender your problems to a higher power.

But what does this really mean and how can you practically apply it? I was asked this once by someone who had just entered into AA.

They were really struggling with the first part of the serenity prayer, which in actuality reads 'God grant me the serenity...' For the same reason, they also couldn't get around surrendering to a higher power as they weren't religious. I shared this guidance with them that I think will help you too. I think the serenity prayer can be so helpful for you in navigating your problems. Whenever I share it, I deliberately leave the word 'god' out because I know it can turn people off immediately. If it does that for you then just leave it out. And instead of surrendering to a higher power, trade it out for 'something bigger than you'. If you can't get your head around a higher power, I'm sure you can agree there are things in this life bigger than you? Why does this work? Because if something is bigger than you and bigger than your problems, you realise everything isn't in your control. When your mind is running in circles, it's likely because it keeps trying to solve problems. Some of them you can change, but some of them you will need to accept are out of your control. Hard to hear right? But trust me, releasing control is key to living a peaceful life. Ensuring your focus is on the things you can change means your energy is put to good use. So what's an example of something bigger than you? On my morning walks, I notice how the ocean, sky, and mountains are always changing, no day ever looks the same. The weather and nature is always a beautiful and humbling reminder that something is bigger than me. So I encourage you to give this a try. I like to merge the spiritual and the practical so you can really make some big changes for yourself. So let's break all this down into something practical you can apply. When your problems get so big that they're running your life and ruining your sleep, do this:

  1. Write down your problem in your journal. Add three columns, in the first write all the practical actions you can take to deal with this problem. Take that action.

  2. Write all the aspects that are out of your control in the second column.

  3. With step 2 ask yourself, what is the thing bigger than me that means this is out of my control? Is it someone else's decision, the economy? Try and put things into perspective so your mind stops trying to solve for those things. Pop this in column three.

  4. Surrender those things out of your control - here you might want to go on a walk as I do and even imagine your problems floating out to sea, up into the sky, or down into the earth.

  5. Trust that things tend to work out. Pull out your journal again and write down examples from the past where you were worried about an outcome that a) never came or b) worked out better than you imagined. These examples are great to return to on those nights when you're awake at 2 a.m.

  6. Practice - Do this practice with the small things in life, because when the big things come, you will be more resilient than you ever thought you could be. This I know from experience.

What does this look like in action? Here's an example I've used teaching meditation:

Imagine this, you're running late to work, and the trains stop. You're frustrated, some other people are more frustrated. You watch the tensions grow. It's very interesting at this point to witness the levels at which people's emotions get the best of them.

It's a perfect example of a situation you don't like, but you can't argue that your city's train network is bigger than you right? This delay is out of your control. What is within your control? Text your boss, breathe, and put on calming music, or a funny podcast. Trust that your boss will understand, and surrender to the idea that maybe being late will end up being a blessing in disguise.

So start giving this a go, practice makes perfect.

Get excited about how shrinking your problems, reducing your stress, and getting better sleep are going to make your life more joyful. It'll free up that mental space so you can focus on the things you care about and create the life you want to live, which is ultimately what I want for you.

Here's to dreaming at night and in the day, of Usher, or whatever makes you happy.

Love Louise xx

p.s. Do you want to improve your sleep quality? Have you got 5 minutes each night? Then download this free guide I created to help you sleep better, in just 5 minutes a night.


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