I'm Matt, creative, writer and illustrator of the book "Tell Your Negative Thoughts to STFU". This is an anxiety blog where you'll find my ramblings on mental health, with various book recommendations and some chill music thrown in.
Getting sleep is very important for your mental wellbeing for several reasons.
Obviously it’s a time for your body to mend, recuperate and that feeds into your wellbeing.
But there are other aspects. Not least, dreaming is the time where your brain processes stuff that has happened to you during the day. It’s a time for sorting through all the conscious and unconscious thoughts you’ve had, and making sense of them all. Sometimes it connects those thoughts in weird ways, which is why you end up not wearing pants on the bus in your dream, or trying to fly away from a monster.
But here’s the thing, as your mind sifts through all that day’s shit, it means that any anxieties you also experienced, come to the fore.
Like last night – I dreamt that several people who I used to compete with at work were loads more successful than me. Which is in part true, lol. But the dream took it to the next level with a grand award ceremony that saw me winning fuck all, and them winning everything. It didn’t help that my dream had invited all my loved ones to see how shit I had done, either.
Then I woke up during the night and had a semi panic attack. Which was fun.
What is my point? That sometimes your mind works stuff out, but sometimes it’s also an arsehole, dredging up insecurities or old negative core thoughts.
The important thing is to have coping mechanisms so if you do wake up, you can distract yourself enough to think of something else. My coping mechanism is to go on Reddit and watch gifs of people getting knocked over by dogs (reddit.com/r/Dogberg) but that’s just me.
One of the habits someone with anxiety can have is to look for things to get worried about.
I know this, because I do it. Or at least one part of my brain does. It seems like it is ‘always on’, and always on the look out for things that are not quite right. And if it doesn’t find anything, it enlists part of my imagination to imagine shit things. It’s like that one person in your group that loves trouble.
And if it doesn’t find trouble, it goes looking for it.
That’s why I, or any anxiety sufferer, needs to ‘check in’ with our own mind some times. Practise slowing down and reviewing our thoughts. Because it’s easy to get sidetracked by these silly worries that our mind makes seem like the truth. But if you face them, and recognise those worries as unlikely to come true, then it’s like calling out that part of your brain that goes looking for trouble – and asking it to quiet down. For a bit, anyway.
As far as I’m concerned – my restless imagination helps me in my job as a creative. But I have to keep it occupied, or it does go off on one.
Of course when you are stressed, and going a million miles an hour, it’s difficult to recognise these thoughts. It’s difficult to ‘unpick’ which worries you have are valid and which ones are bullshit.
Which is why you need to slow down sometimes. Have a cup of tea, and review!!!!
I haven’t been able to write much in the last couple of weeks as I’ve been so busy starting a new job. But what a year it has already been. Out of all that has happened, the Trumptards have given me the most anxiety. I mean how brainwashed can you be? Or maybe just plain old racist.
I realise going into this year that I’m one of the lucky ones. A new job and financial security. Not everyone has that right now. I can’t imagine what it must be like if you’ve been out of work for 10+months.
We just donated our 1 year old PC to a family in need as they can’t afford a computer for their kids’ homeschooling. It wasn’t much, but it made me feel good to do it.
Altruism has been proven to improve a person’s emotional wellbeing and peace of mind. I have my own theories why: we still are heavily programmed to be social beings. We need to be part of a community. So by looking after others, we’re actually just obeying our social programming – because good things in the end come back to you.
Just like being a seditious, racist, fat prick of a president who spreads hate will come back on him. I hope.