Just Write


So, you had trouble falling asleep. Again.

Or, you woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.

Or both.

Why does this happen and what to do about it?

The following is excepted from “Up at 4 A.M.?” by Amy Spencer, in the magazine, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Jan-Feb 2015 (an oldie, and hopefully a goodie).

What happens

If we’re not sure how something will play out, our primitive mind prepares us for the worst possible outcome.


Back in our cave days, our ancestors needed to be prepared to fight or flee to survive.


The primitive part of the brain—the amygdala—thinks our idle ruminations are urgent matters that need to be dealt with right away, as if they are real emergencies.

Wide Awake

And there we are, wide awake, ready and alert, to battle the catastrophe that we have imagined.

What To Do

Take some deep, relaxing breaths.

Get out of bed, walk around a little, look out a window, read something light.

Write down what is bothering you, or make a to-do list. Get it out and onto paper.

Take a mental vacation. Visualize a relaxing place, recreate a fun memory, take a trip down Happy Memory Lane.

Soothe and Calm

Listen to soothing and calming music, white noise, or a sleep app.

Get Checked

If sleep continues to elude you, seek professional help to rule out medical conditions to get to the cause of your sleeplessness

And, of course . . . .

Count sheep!


Qi Gong To Calm the Mind by Lee Holden

The mind’s natural tendency is to ruminate on thoughts that produce stress or anxiety.

Qi Gong provides powerful tools for calming the mind and returning to peace.

Why is it that humans tend to think about things that cause stress and anxiety? Why can’t we naturally gravitate toward thoughts that bring us to a place of joy?

Back when humans faced life-threatening situations on a regular basis, it was helpful to have a mind that could quickly identify unwelcome circumstances. The mind evolved to constantly look for signs of danger and plan for the worst. 

The Mind Can’t Tell the Difference by Brad Yates

In spite of all the encouragement to live in the present or focus on the future, most of us are likely to still spend a fair amount of time reviewing the past. And, more often than not, the moments we dwell on are not necessarily the highlights.

It’s normal … but it isn’t without cost. Because the mind can’t tell the difference between something that is real and something that is imagined, just thinking about past troubles triggers the same chemical reactions and the same uncomfortable feelings.

How to Write About Difficult Topics

 And so, we lose sleep over troubling events and difficult people. We can’t change people and we can’t change what has already happened. We can only change our own thinking. We can write about them to “give them air,” and release these thoughts onto paper (or computer monitor).

But how to write about these difficulties without adding trauma?

Perhaps one of these writing prompts will help:

How to Write Without Adding Trauma

Write What is Hard to Admit

Does Your Heart Hurt?

More ideas to write without adding trauma are in “The Write Spot: Writing as a Path to Healing.” Available from your local bookseller and as both a print and ebook from Amazon.

Just Write!

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