Trapped In The Anxiety Cycle
All too often we get trapped in our overthinking mind, sometimes replaying past events or conversations, worrying about the future and sometimes just feeling continually distracted day to day. And maybe you can connect to it yourself. I know for a long time I felt this way, as if my mind could never settle, and I was always internally arguing with myself, sometimes trying to reason with my own thoughts and feelings.
And the first thing to understand is that, these are all common symptoms of stress and anxiety.
The majority of clients I work with looking to lose weight, also struggle with constant worries, stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights.
Many people who find themselves stuck in this cycle may initially drift to sleep quite quickly, but can’t stay asleep long, and waken abruptly at all times. It's often after waking they find they then can't get back to sleep and lie for hours staring at the ceiling.
Last year over 90% of the clients I worked with for weight loss using Hypnotherapy and Coaching described themselves as natural worriers and struggled to transition to deep sleep and found themselves waking often during the night. Anxious over thinking, over eating and sleep difficulties are a tricky trio in a cycle that can make us feel stuck in our little world.
Not only can we become anxious about the foods we eat:
“Am I making a good choice”, “What will people think if they see me eating this”, “I feel guilt for eating this, but I really want”
But often anxious about what losing weight would mean for us,
“Will I be the same person”, “I feel guilty for spending time away from home at the gym”, “I don’t want to that kind of attention”
These kind of thoughts are on a subconscious level, which means we can be totally unaware of what’s going through our mind as they are not in our awareness or “conscious mind”. However, these deep set anxious thoughts and feelings are still there in some form, and therefore can be sabotaging our efforts to lose weight.
So how do we initiate change that's going to make a difference? Bearing in mind, once we improve one area, it has the knock on effect and positive changes. My advice is start with your mind.
The more you fill your life with things that inspire your mind, calms your thoughts and promotes positive feelings within you, the better you can tackle changes to lose weight and become healthier, and encourage the mind to enjoy deep sleep and relaxation.
So take a moment to become aware of things that you do, just for you, that you enjoy. And it doesn’t need to be exercise related, it might be reading a good book, taking a long hot bath, maybe its just listening to one of your favourite songs. (If you can exercise, yoga and walking is the best starting place in my opinion).
Because the more you allow yourself to do things you enjoy, the easier it becomes to relax deeply. When we relax, even a little, our anxiety and stress lessen, which in turn allows us to feel more positive about ourselves and losing weight.
One of the ways I like to think about relaxation, is that every time you create an opportunity to relax, you are teaching your brain and body how to feel good. The more we connect to good feelings, the more we want them, it becomes addictive! And it’s a great motivator too. But it’s also the same with a great night’s sleep. Even just a few minutes of meditation or deep relaxation through the day can help induce a deeper, more comfortable sleep.
Another great way to think of relaxation is to imagine it as a pebble dropping into a pond. The ripples may start small, but expand out, getting bigger and bigger. If you could drop a pebble of relaxation “calm” into your life, eventually those ripples would began affecting different areas such as sleep, your weight, your mood, your relationships, your activities and so on and so on. Soon, you could find the ripples of calm would be flowing into every area of your life.
And so, this is why I recommend starting with your thoughts and looking after your mind as you begin your weight loss journey. At the core of our difficulty to lose weight and sleep well, lies anxiety and stress all too often. But by improving this area we really are bringing in change for the mind, body and spirit.
Love & Light Jennifer x
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