Have you ever experienced racing thoughts that seem to all rush in right as you're hoping to drift off into a restful night's sleep? I've always had an active mind that, if left to its own devices, would keep me up all night.
In these moments, it can be so tempting to try and out-think our mental chatter, especially when it makes us feel anxious. At times in my life where I experienced great uncertainty, or knew in my core that something was off, when I would lie awake gripped by worry, doubt, fear...I would desperately look for clues about why everything was actually fine. I'd hold onto any positive moment or feeling or hint of logic I could find. I placed more value on words of affirmation than messages from my own inner knowing.
Here's the tricky thing about our intuition: sometimes it rings the loudest when delivering information we really don't want to hear.
Yet this information is the truth, and it's always more valuable than any advice or insights we could glean outside of ourselves. It's also worth noting that what's real for you doesn't go away, no matter how hard you try to suppress it.
And once I started paying attention to the thoughts and feelings that were surfacing, I realized how much valuable information they held. It turns out, I wasn't only experiencing all of this stuff before bed. These exhausting feelings and fears were running the show all the time, they were just more muted during the day. I only really felt them before bed because things were quiet enough for me to hear them.
Sometimes we get so used to being gripped with anxiety, that we don't even realize how bad it's gotten. But once you do, it's hard to un-see.
In my case, I finally saw that my thoughts themselves weren't crazy. They were actually pretty valid, once I got past their rapid-fire delivery and could focus on their content. They'd just been screaming for attention during the one time of day they had space to be heard.
Busyness makes it's easy to turn a blind eye to how you really feel.
Once I realized how badly I was actually feeling, I knew I couldn't go on like that forever. I had to make a change. I began actually listening to and valuing my inner knowing, and giving it space to surface regularly. I changed my approach and began treating my intuition with the respect it deserved.
If you're reading this and are feeling nervous to take a cold, hard look at your thoughts, I get it. I know it seems much more convenient to pretend they're not there and keep living your life as you have been.
But if there's a part of you that knows deep down that you're not content with how you've been feeling, that's your intuition kicking in. It might start as a whisper...but it will get louder if you don’t ignore it. And even though the message it's delivering might be uncomfortable, guess what? It's filled with information that's being sent to help you.
If you're looking for a sign that it's time to trust that small voice inside that just won't quit...this is it. And I've got an exercise to help you get started. So light a candle, snuggle under your softest flannel sheets, and follow along:
- Get comfortable, lie down, and close your eyes. Sometimes I like to place a hand over my heart to feel it beating and feel more connected to my body.
- Take a moment to acknowledge any thoughts that are coming in. See them, greet them, observe them. Envision yourself turning on the half-speed or slow-mo button long enough to capture a few of your thoughts and gain awareness of what they even are. Approach your thoughts with genuine curiosity - "let's see what we've got here" - and become an observer. Doing so automatically takes away some of your thoughts' power.
- Imagine a clearing in your mind as all of these thoughts float through, then gently and silently invite your inner knowing to come forward. Ask that it deliver any helpful information it can, in a way that you can clearly understand with grace and ease. That last part is an important distinction, especially if you you're used to an endless stream of anxiety-ridden thoughts flooding in. Instead, if your intuition knows it has plenty of space to share with you, the process can feel much gentler.
- Sit in the silence and observe what comes forward. Again, try to listen with curiosity and without judgment. Your only job is to create the space for insights to come forward, and gently greet them if they do.
- When you're ready, open your eyes and write any notes down in a journal.
- Remember not to judge your process. This step is very important! Maybe you try this exercise and you get nothing. Maybe you experience your usual influx of thoughts. Or maybe, just maybe, something you were already vaguely aware of on some level just came through so clearly and distinctly that you know it's true. I've experienced all of the above, and I guarantee you that, no matter what happens the first time you try this, there is value in trying again.
- Try again. This is really about honoring your relationship with yourself and learning to trust your own inner knowing. Developing a new dynamic can take some time.
In any case, I'd be willing to bet that you're way more attuned to your intuition than you realize. You just need to slow down enough to hear it.
I suggest making your time before bed sacred and viewing it as your chance to check in with yourself daily. I mean, if you think about it, it's pretty awesome that you're built with an internal guidance system that always knows what's best for you and will never lead you astray. It's yours to use, and yours only. And it's got your back 100%.