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Old 30 March 2017, 11:51 PM
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mbravo mbravo is offline
Join Date: 29 December 2015
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,337

The only success I've had at turning off the 3am thoughts is by writing them down. Not even turning the lamp on, it doesn't matter, just grabbing whatever pen or pencil is on my nightstand and writing it down on a notepad I keep there for such purposes. Whatever I write there is usually unintelligible when I find it months later and bother to look at it*, but it's like a physical signal that tells my brain "You have permission to worry about This Thing, but not at This Time. Take it out, put it on the paper, and worry about it during a non-existential hour."

I can only speak for myself, but it works really, really well most of the time (and better than other things I would have thought would help, like turning on my computer and posting aobut it somewhere online- somehow that only tends to make it worse, because then there's the expectation of a possible response I either feel I need to wait for, or dread). It validates the emotion while also giving it reasonable boundary. At the very least, it's more effective than "Think of nothing and try to sleep!" or "Just think about something happy!" have ever been for me

Two problems with it are-
1. When I'm too tired, I can't will myself to phsycially find the pen and paper, and mocking the motion does NOT scratch the itch
2. Somehow I manage to forget it is an option, or try to convince myself "This isn't that bad, I can just think of nothing and try to sleep/just think about something happy, I don't need to go to all the trouble of writing it down"

*On one such notepad, written in a barely visible yellow highlighter, is simply the word "crust."
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