In perusing yahoo news, I came across an article about a study done of older Americans (aged 65+) and what they regretted most in their lives. The most common answer? Worry. Out of 1500 people, the most common regret was that they’d spent too much of their lives worrying.
You can read about the study here.
I found this to be particularly relevant because I notice more and more young adults riddled with anxiety, more and more middle aged adults suffering the side effects of stress, and more and more people turning to pharmaceuticals for relief.
Some worry is unavoidable. If you’re a parent, worry comes with the job. If you or a loved one is suffering an illness, make room for worry.
But kids? Really?
School is harder than ever. The things my kids learn about in high school were college subjects in my day. A friend was talking the other day about a five year old who didn’t want to go to kindergarten because she didn’t know how to read. In kindergarten! When I was in kindergarten, we learned to tie our shoes. And it was half-day.
Bottom line: life’s too short. Every day is a gift. If we spend too much time worrying about things that either don’t matter or can’t be changed, we are frittering away the gift of life.
So get off the computer. Go outside for a walk. Read a good book. Call a friend. Smile at a stranger. Live the gift, and have no regrets.
For many nights now I’ve dealt with a bit of insomnia: Can’t fall asleep, seems neither my brain nor my body want to turn off; sleeping a few solid hours; waking and lying there for what feels like gobs of time, again unable to turn off my thoughts; falling back to sleep for another few hours; waking early.
Insomnia is defined by dictionary.com as a noun:
the inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness.
Reasons for insomnia vary, from medical or psychological issues and medicinal side effects to stress and a poor environment or sleep conditions, and so on.
While the majority of that doesn’t apply to me, there have certainly been stressful events in my life of late (who doesn’t have those?), but honestly, I’m not filled with anxiety. I’ve developed the right methods to deal with my stress, and have come to terms with the life factors over which I have no control, trusting a plan I can’t know ahead of time, living day to day, finding and keeping peace within me, choosing happiness, and so on.
So what’s making it so hard for me to sleep?
I recently read an article online about what it means to experience a spiritual awakening. (You can find the full article by Kristen Butler HERE.) Check out the following excerpt:
Some people who are experiencing a spiritual awakening have trouble falling asleep. What is going on inside keeps you awake. It’s a burning desire and some people know how to direct that energy while others aren’t sure and this is what is primarily keep you awake at night. Most report that they either have trouble falling asleep or they awaken at 2:00 and 4:00 AM.
If you’re experiencing unusual sleep patterns, it’s okay. Just don’t lay there and worry. There’s a lot of work going on within you. It’s a natural process. The best thing to do is go do whatever it is that is calling you to do – for some it is writing.
Given that all the other bulletpoints in the article fit my current place in life and understanding, I’m comfortable concluding that more than anything, my mid-night “adventures” have significant meaning for my spirit. And I actually think that’s pretty cool, so I won’t get too cranky about my current lack of sleep. I mean, enlightening stuff is going on, and who am I to question that?
What about you? Have you ever dealt with insomnia and/or experienced spiritual awakening?
Many things happened to my family in 2006: my mother-in-law passed away, I discovered I had breast cancer, and my 30-year-old nephew was killed in a motorcycle accident. I try to pretend that year just didn’t happen. I don’t like the memories. I believe I experienced some sort of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). I was anxious and depressed and every day was a struggle along with physically feeling like a pile of…well, you get my drift.
Then I found Lucinda Bassett. While listening to her cd’s, filling out questionnaires on anxiety and depression, and practicing meditation I slowly but surely came out of my fog. One of her statements was, “Don’t even bother taking this course if you don’t first do two things: stop drinking caffeine and start exercising.
Following her (I won’t call them suggestions) demands, my life hasn’t been the same since 2008/2009. It worked. I ride my bicycle almost every day, do yoga, and still listen to the mediation cd several times a week.
I did this all for myself, as well as my family.
Do you have a particular way of dealing with stress and/or depression and/or bad times?
I’d like to know.
I worry about driving off a mountain cliff and crashing into the ravine below.
I worry about working in the gardens and being attacked by one of the large predators that wander through our yard.
I worry about dying slow and painful instead of dying fast and easy.
I worry about not seeing my siblings when my mom is gone.
I worry about my boys never finding a girl who’ll make them happy or finding one that makes them unhappy.
I worry about my tender new plants getting hit by Jack Frost.
I worry about getting old, gaining weight, going gray, and losing my eyebrows.
I worry I may never finish THIS BOOK or any more after.
I worry about the icy winter roads and the people driving on them.
I worry about the farmers getting too much rain during their spring planting and then again, during their fall harvest.
I worry about the planes passing overhead crashing into my backyard.
I worry about the crickets and frogs in the pond finding their way into my house and <shudder> into my bed.
I worry about leaving behind my computer and iPad and iPhone, and not being connected to the world.
I worry endlessly, needlessly, about all things big and small.
Why am I not crazy yet or is that still to come? Or are writers naturally worrisome people?
What do you worry about and how do you keep the craziness at bay?
How do you deal with stress…and worry…and well, all that comes with it?
Unfortunately, this is probably me, more often than I care to admit. LOL!
Some people can carry their personal load of chaos around in their head with them, mentally sorting out the important from the monotony, and dropping the duties neatly in their places as they go through their day or week.
Others structure their schedules meticulously, tracking everything and writing everything in calendars and lists and smartphones and walk around with the peace of one who knows there will be an alert sounding the next duty so they don’t have to remember it.
I’m in awe of any of these people! Because I fall in between, in the chasm I call Post It Note Hell or sometimes Needing To Stop Time Psychosis.
I am a “lister” in the sense that I have no less than five or six post it notes going at one time, with everything that I need to do that day, also a planner that has everything I need to do that month. The post it notes change, and I have to remember to open the planner, and there’s also a calendar hanging on the fridge at home for the rest of the family, but I’m usually the only one that puts THEIR things on it. I walk around neither happily keeping it all in, nor peacefully writing it all down, but usually in a panic that me or my husband or my daughter are forgetting something vital.
This month is a nightmare, with my daughter’s birthday, my 2nd book deadline, a spiritual retreat team I’m on starts weekly meetings, and my daughter has midterms that I have to help her study for. I still have Christmas decorations up inside my house that I have to get put away and my house cleaned before Friday night when family is coming over, and I have a meeting next week at work that I’m supposed to present information on that I don’t have information on….several months worth of non-information…because I’ve been a little “writing” focused. I can kinda relate sorta really exactly like that picture up there.
So how do you structure your life and handle stress and craziness? I’m curious where you fall or if you are in that chasm with me and I just haven’t seen you among all the ka-ka in there! 🙂