Loneliness, shame, guilt and sleep

Intensely negative emotions like shame, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, sadness, and worry can and will contribute to insomnia.

When these sorts of negative emotions recur on a regular basis, they underlie and contribute to anxiety, which like stress, is one of the main culprits involved with sleeping problems.

There are effective ways to deal with anxiety. We can’t eliminate it entirely, that’s unrealistic to expect. But we can tone it down a bit. Doing so significantly helps produce better sleep.

One effective way to manage the recurring negative thought patterns that cause anxiety is to approach the problem at a mental, or cognitive, level. Cognitive therapy is in fact designed to do exactly this.

Cognitive therapy is an objective and straightforward way to understand and identify these recurring negative thought patterns, which then enables you to deal with them constructively.

Recurring negative thought patterns usually result from some underlying cognitive distortion. In other words, we’re not accurately perceiving what’s really out there, often in our relationships with others. Or we view our experience in an unrealistically negative light. These are just two examples, but there are a number of generally recognized categories of thought distortions.

One of the great accomplishments in cognitive psychology in recent years has been the work in identifying a number of these thought distortion categories. These broad categories allow us to compare our unique personal experience with a larger psychological concept to understand how we distort reality.

For many reasons, distortions are actually very common. Most of us do it at some level. It’s not some inherent defect, but rather something that you can control.

By identifying your unique recurring negative emotions and comparing them to these broader distortion categories, you may be able to more easily see your own distortions. And importantly, learn to safely disregard them. In other words, you learn that letting them go will not hurt you. In fact it will help you immensely.

Specifically for insomnia, the Sleep Training System includes a component on anxiety management. You learn effective ways to identify your own recurring negative thought patterns, and then step-by-step learn how to safely disregard them.

Anxiety management is just one part of a comprehensive solution for better sleep without drugs. Help, if you are looking for it, is definitely out there.

So what do you think. Do you recognize anxiety in your own life and does it cause you sleeping problems? How do you manage anxiety?

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