Slowly, you roll over and look at the clock. “Oh good, it’s 4am I have more time to sleep,” you say to yourself, and then you realize you have to go to the bathroom – a very dangerous proposition, because sleep is a valuable commodity these days, and you know that if you go to the bathroom you run the potential of running into your 4 am Visitor: The What Were You Thinking Monger. You stumble to the bathroom, careful not to think about anything… run into anything… or wake up more than necessary. As you lay back down, thinking that you have successfully dodged the enemy, you have a flashing thought of the party you went to the previous night, and it starts…
“What were you thinking wearing that dress, you looked like you were begging for attention!”
“I can’t believe you said ____ to Mary, she is going to think you are a freak!”
“You totally should have said more to the host…you are so rude!”
As you lay there swimming in thought, your breath quickens, you skin gets clammy, and your chest tightens… you pull yourself out of bed, knowing sleep is futile at this point.
The 4 am Visitor is a particularly brutal one. It is one thing to deal with our Mongers during the day when we are at full capacity, but at night, our defenses are down, and we are completely caught off guard. At night, we have a more difficult time separating truth from reality, so the messages seem even more powerful and even more true.
Earlier this week, I was visited by the 4am visitor. I spun off for awhile and let her just hammer me. My heart was racing, I was freaking out about stuff I had said and done earlier that day, and I was falling for her words hook, line, and sinker… I was just about ready to give up and head down to turn on the TV when I thought: “Wait a minute, is this even true?”
That brief thought turned the What were you thinking Monger on her toes, but she quickly replied “Of course!” and spun the story one more time back to how terrible I had been.
But by asking myself, “Is that really true?” I created a gap between her and I. I could recognize that she was no longer my voice… she was merely the voice of the 4am Visitor. After creating that gap I worked to change my thoughts. She was persistent, but, each time her voice filled my brain, I shifted to one of my go-to thoughts.
My Go-To thoughts are those thoughts I use to help myself fall asleep such as:
- naming the 50 states
- naming the presidents
- walking through your high school, college dorm, or familiar place
- replaying a fun vacation
- reliving a fun day
Eventually (and much quicker than I thought possible) I fell asleep. When I woke up the next morning I was thrilled that I had successfully turned off my 4am Visitor.
I would love to hear from you in the comments: What are the themes of your 4am visitor? What are your Go-To Thoughts to help you fall asleep? How do you deal with this visitor?
At July’s Creative Saturday event we will be actively creating both our Mongers AND our Wise Voice. Through drawing, coloring, painting or creating a collage we will be personifying these two parts of ourselves. So you will have visual of what your Mongers looks like and so whenever you hear that yippy voice you can remind visualize them outside of your head and lovingly ask them to leave the room. You can also visualize your Wise Voice and all its wisdom.
Unfortunately, Mongers will always exist. We are hard wired to be critical of ourselves. However, through actively engaging them, personifying them, and lovingly showing them the door, we can decrease their intensity and frequency.
I hope you will join us at the Creative Saturday Event–THIS Saturday July 26th from 1:00pm-4:30pm. To learn more and register click here.