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Our experts talk to Health & Beauty Reader Raj Gill, 42, from Glasgow
‘Ever since my 68-year-old mum was hospitalised recently and we almost lost her, I feel incredibly stressed about everything. I’m anxious over Mum’s health; looking after my two kids (the oldest has just started secondary school); and meeting increasingly tight work deadlines as a writer, not to mention being there for my husband. I feel like I’m the gatekeeper for everyone! At night I regularly wake up and stare at the ceiling for hours, worrying. How can I stop this?’
‘You’re allowing your stresses to rule your life. When someone you know is ill, it’s easy to focus on what I call “WPO” – the worst possible outcome – instead of the current reality. The brain responds well to images you make in your head, so think about the fact your mum has been better recently, and picture her healthy and well. If worries about work and children are getting you down, give yourself ten minutes to worry, but after that – stop. There’s only so much of life you can control.’
‘When you wake in the night, stick to the 20-minute rule: if you’re lying awake for longer than this, leave the bedroom. Try reading a book, sipping chamomile tea or sitting in a quiet space – but not in your bedroom. Stay up for 10-15 minutes, enough time to take your head out of that “sleepless” frame of mind. Afterwards, go to bed as if it’s a new night.’
‘Stimulating the body’s pressure points can help ease tension. In acupressure, the area of skin between your thumb and first finger is nicknamed the “Great Eliminator”, because if you press it between the thumb and first finger of the other hand and gently massage it in circular movements, it can help relieve tension. Try it for 1-2 minutes, and repeat during the day when needed.’
If constant worrying or difficulty sleeping is affecting your daily life, speak to your GP.