How Mindfulness Can Help You Sleep by Polina Blinderman, LCSW

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Is anxiety getting in the way of falling asleep at night?

Do you notice yourself struggling to sleep because of excessive thinking, worrying, or obsessive thoughts? Often times, before we go to bed, our mind may wander to thinking (or worrying) about work, family, health, financial problems, or relationships. Sometimes, just worrying about sleep itself could be the main reason you don't fall asleep easily. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, with intention, and without judgment Try this mindfulness activity of categorizing your racing or ruminating thoughts the next time you are having trouble sleeping:

Close your eyes, set a timer for 3 -5 minutes, and start to pay attention to the thoughts coming into your mind. 

❖ Are they future-oriented thoughts? (i.e., automatic list making, "I need to respond to that email, or schedule that appointment, etc.) Often these future-oriented thoughts may increase your anxiety. 

❖ Or, are you noticing that your thoughts are about the past? (i.e., regrets about something that has happened today, or years ago). Past-oriented thoughts tend to evoke sadness in us. 

❖ And finally, are you noticing thoughts that are about the present moment? (i.e., hearing sounds in your room, noticing smells, or physiological sensations). Noticing thoughts about the present moment can induce some feelings that are comfortable or uncomfortable. It is helpful to be aware of whatever comes up so that we create the freedom and space to know how to help ourselves. 

❖ Another way to utilize this mindfulness activity is to tap your left leg when you notice a thought from the past. Tap your right leg when you notice a thought from the future. And tap both legs when you notice a thought from the present. The tapping may also help you ground in the moment. 

❖ Finally, once the timer has gone off, notice how you are feeling. Pay attention to any changes in your anxiety. 

Practicing this activity may help focus your mind and decrease stress by reducing negative thoughts about the past and needless worries about the future. Combine this with your favorite meditation relaxation app, and you can get the Zzzzzs you've been looking for.

Contact the Adne Institute today to schedule an appointment for more help with anxiety or mindfulness.

When Grief Strikes by Emily Almanza, LCSW

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Grief and loss are a ubiquitous part of the human experience, be it grief due to the loss of a loved one by death, or loss of relationship as in a break-up or divorce, even loss of friendships, homes, pets and jobs. Loss can occur suddenly or be an agonizingly gradual experience. In spite of its many different forms, grief comes to all of us, and yet walking through a season of grief can feel so very painful and isolating. 

When grief strikes, what are some of the ways one get through the overwhelming experience? 

Use Time Well

They say time heals all wounds, and while time is a necessary ingredient in healing from a deep loss, time alone actually doesn’t automatically provide healing. For the passage of time to provide healing and relief, it’s important to use the time to truly acknowledge the loss. Name what happened and how your life has changed as a result. Allow the varied emotions to each have their voice. Certainly there will be sadness but there can also be anger, guilt, regret, and even relief. As we allow ourselves to acknowledge each emotion and feel the depth of the emotion, it becomes less intense and overwhelming than it was initially.

Lean into Support Systems 

As tempting as it may be to isolate yourself, it’s important to lean into your friendships and family relationships. They may not know what to say or may say the wrong thing but connecting with others during a season of grieving is vital. If you’re lost a central figure in your life, it can feel as if you’ve lost all your meaningful connections but remembering the supportive relationships that you do still have is an important step in regaining your sense of self. Making new friends in a support group or community who has experienced something similar can also be helpful. Being in the depths of grief can make it feel like you’re the only one who feels that way but, unfortunately, there are many others who have walked a similar road.

Do Tasks That Feel Normal

Often, after a loss, it can feel as though your life has been shattered and nothing is the same. While it is true that life will never be the same, and the future will look very different from how you imagined it would look prior to the loss, there are many small elements in life that are the same. It may be as simple as brushing your teeth or commuting the same way as you used to, but look for those parts of your life that have not changed and actively engage in those mundane tasks that can feel grounding precisely because they may be the only thing that’s the same following a major loss. 

Talk to a Therapist

Going through a season of grief is the perfect time to reach out to a therapist. Having a dedicated time and space each week to honor both the loss and its meaning to you, as well as honor your own life as you must keep living in spite of experiencing such a massive change, can be so helpful in the healing process. A therapist can walk alongside you as you grieve, help you reassemble the pieces of your life and together, find a new normal that will be different from the life you had, but meaningful and beautiful in new ways. 

If you’d like to talk to a therapist at the Adne Institute to help you through your season of grief, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Welcome to Adne's Thread

Welcome to our news page, Adne's Thread. This space will provide you with important practice updates, interesting articles, and informative mental health resources. Adne's Thread is meant to be a safe forum for all those seeking guidance on their journey towards better mental health.