When you’re anxious, you tend to use limited parts of your brain – you get stuck in a neural feedback loop, replaying a vortex of imagined tragedy. However accessing under-used brain areas helps you pull yourself out of the emotional spiral to the present, safe moment. An easy way to do that is with bilateral stimulation. You use both sides of your brain by creating or honing in on rhythmic left-right patterns through:
- Visual tracking
Many energy medicine techniques incorporate bilateral stimulation. And EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) uses it to heal post-traumatic stress issues.
Bilateral stimulation helps you to:
- Relax, decreasing your body’s agitation
- Become more flexible in your attention, rather than stuck imagining the worst
- Distance yourself from feeling the problem is happening now
- Decrease worry
These are not only good ways to reduce anxiety, they’re pathways to rest…and sleep.
Here’s one simple bilateral movement – it also helps you ground into your body.
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet on the mattress. Press one foot down, then the other, repeating back and forth. Pick a rhythm that feels good.
Then experiment: Speed it up or slow it down. Try rolling through each foot as you press it down – through the heels, balls of your feet, and toes (or reverse from toes to heels).
Notice yourself becoming more grounded in the actual moment, instead of the images and emotions of your mind and body. You’ll have more space to move into rest.
For most people, bilateral stimulation is relaxing, diverting, and perfectly safe. Again, with all Restful Insomnia tools, pay attention to yourself and your response. If you find you’re getting more agitated rather than relaxed, choose another tool to move into the restful place you seek.
Wishing you peaceful nights,