The Warm Milk Journal

A nurturing place for people who can't sleep

Finding Our Voice: Speaking Up For Ourselves

For many of who have anxiety issues, often a source of it is being shy and unsure of ourselves. I spent many years of my life not really speaking up: as a child with my family or at school, at work, in my marriage, etc. I think a lot of us have that “nice person” syndrome. We are afraid to really be ourselves because we want everyone to like us.

As a child and young adult I had a lot of sore throats and strep throat infections.  When I was very small, my parents took me to many doctors in Honolulu (where we were living at the time). My parents wanted the doctors to take my tonsils out. They did not and told my folks that I would eventually outgrow these infections. For the most part I did, but was still prone to strep throat well into my twenties. Even now if I am under a lot of stress or overly tired, a sore throat tends to be my first symptom.

Louise Hay in her book, Heal your Body, describes a sore throat as: “the inability to speak up for one’s self. Swallowed anger. Stifled creativity. Refusal to change.”

The affirmation for this condition Ms. Hay prescribes is this:

“It’s okay to make noise. I express myself freely and joyously.  I speak up for myself with ease. I express my creativity. I am willing to change.”

If we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will? I am a second grade school teacher. Little children at my school are expected to be quiet a lot of the time (no talking unless called on, no talking in hallways, in the lunchroom etc.). I was one of those well-behaved little children at school. I never acted up. Never got in trouble.

It is important to have a safe learning environment for kids. I understand the need to have order in the classroom. I sometimes wonder, however, if we discourage our young people from talking too much. It is easy to do this at home too when we are busy cooking dinner or reading the paper, doing emails etc. We need quiet and ask the kids to go play outside or tell them”not now, we will talk later”.

Some of us may have been born introverts. Perhaps though we have been conditioned to not speak up. It’s something to think about. We can work on reconditioning our old programming.


May 10, 2010 Posted by | Affirmations, anxiety, insomnia, Self-empowerment | , , , , | 1 Comment

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety”-Psalm 4:8

If feeling a bit restless when it is time to sleep:

repeat something to yourself that brings peace to you.


“I AM safe”

“God Loves me”

“I AM love”

“I AM peace”

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Affirmations, anxiety, insomnia, Meditations, Prayers, Self-empowerment, Spirituality, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For All You Mothers Out There

For the new mothers: You are losing sleep right now feeding and nursing and soothing your babies throughout the night. You are chasing toddlers and arranging play dates and countless other activities for your families and households.

As your kids get older there will be school issues and different life issues as the years pass. Kids grow up. Moms remain moms.

I am 43 years old and I still need my mom. I am thankful for the talks, the cheering up during times I am down, the candles and clothes from Kohls sales she likes to send me, and her just being there.

There are moms out there who may still have children at home and are also dealing with the strain of aging parents. God bless you.

There are moms out there adjusting to life with empty nests. Kids in college or out on their own working , marrying and raising families of their own.

I am thankful for my two kids, Stephen and Aimee, ages 15 and 12. They are getting older but still need me. The best thing that ever happened to me was when my son was born (almost 16 years ago now). I can still remember those early days with that new baby and thinking: now what do I do? I don’t know how to be a mom. Here was this most exquisite little creature completely dependent on me. The days of being home with him, nursing him, holding him, watching every little development…it was a magical, miraculous time and I really felt like I was hanging out with God.

I am thankful to know what it is to love something greater than myself and learn to give so much of myself. There were times during those earlier years that I didn’t think I would make it. Lonely days as a young stay at home Seattle area mom. Sleepless nights. Tears like the rain that so often fell. Older moms would tell me that they are little for such a brief time. Enjoy the time with them. I would nod my head, but back then not really understanding. Back then, it would seem I would always be the mom of little kids: immersed in the world of plastic toys, baby board books, mommy-toddler story times at the library, play dates with other kids and their moms ….., intricately planned themed birthday parties, camps, girl scout troop meetings, etc.

Now, they are older. Instead of trips to Toys r Us for presents during the holidays or for birthdays, it is gift cards or cash. They want to do their own shopping. We still have family time but what they really want is  time with their friends. They are older. They still need me. But it is different.

I remember when I first found out I was pregnant. A coworker of mine excitedly exclaimed: “Oh, Debra, you are going to have a little boo-boo! Children are such a blessing!”

Children are a blessing. And so are their mothers.

Happy Mothers Day

Debra : )


May 8, 2010 Posted by | Heartwarming Stories, insomnia, Parenthood, Spirituality | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Be a laser beam: the power of focus and purpose

Being focused on something that has meaning and value in our lives gives us a sense of purpose. I know that I am so much healthier mentally and emotionally when I have this focus going on. I coincidentally, have very little anxiety and sleep much better at night when I am focused. Direction is a good thing. We hear hear so often of people (men particular) who die of heart attacks soon after they retire.  I think it is because they lost their sense of purpose for their lives.  Play and relaxation is very important for a balanced life but we do need some kind of aim and goals to strive for.

What is one good thing in your life that you can really focus on? A healthy “obsession” that can inspire and drive you? If you have many ideas- write them down. then choose one. Make a decision to focus on one thing. Once you decide to focus and commit to a project or task it is amazing what happens: ideas pop up when you least expect them, people will come into your life that can mentor or support your idea, things just kind of galvanize.

Decide on one of your ideas and commit to giving it your all for 30 days- and then see what happens.

Debra : )

May 7, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Self-empowerment | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tryptophan: good for sleep and overcoming shyness

We have heard about tryptophan. It is an amino acid that helps our brains to produce serotonin which helps us to relax and sleep.

Now, it would seem, researchers from McGill University in Canada have discovered that tryptophan also increases self esteem and helps people feel more confident in social situations. This is a great benefit for those of us who are plagued with shyness and anxiety. It just might be worth a try!

Tryptophan is naturally found in milk, cheese, nuts, chicken, and turkey. It can also be found in supplement form.

Resource: May 17, 2010 issue of Woman’s World

May 7, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Self-empowerment, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Affirmations for Calming The Monkey Mind

One of the most frustrating experiences for many of us with anxiety and insomnia is dealing with our “monkey minds”. This refers to when our minds are  endlessly chattering on irritating worries, replays of the day or interactions with others, analyzing and agonizing over something over and over again. You know what I am talking about here. During the day I am so busy that I usually can keep that monkey mind dormant while I am taking care of the tasks of the day. It gets more challenging at night, however, as the house quiets down and it is time to retire.

Many of the posts here at The Warm Milk Journal in some way address the issue of quieting our mind enough so that we can  sleep well at night and live a healthy balanced life during the day. Ways to quiet the monkey mind are: meditations, diversions and distractions, affirmations, taking walks, getting support from family, friends, or counselors if something serious really is causing these anxious thoughts. Often, though, there isn’t really anything “wrong” with us or our lives. We are just in the habit of thinking  non stop in this way.

Sue Patton Thoele in her wonderful book, The Woman’s Book of Courage, likens our monkey thoughts to dwelling on fleas. They bug, irritate, pick, scratch, and bite at our minds until our feelings fester and they are kind of making us crazy (right?)

She advises us that if we notice our monkey mind concentrating on” fleas”, we can distract it with thoughts of “bananas, love, or thankfulness”. She reminds us that we need to be gentle with ourselves as we calm our monkey mind, because doing so is a life-long process.

Some affirmations to try:

I am in charge of my mind

I choose to think healing, loving,

and thankful thoughts.

I have the power to create peaceful thoughts

even in stressful situations.

May 3, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Meditations, Self-empowerment, Spirituality, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Silent

Being silent at times is very good for us. It calms our nervous systems down. Calms the mind.  Soothes the soul. Helps us to connect to our higher power. After a busy day with my second graders I really need that time. If I get it, I sleep much better at night.

How can we fit in times to be silent and be still in our busy lives? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. If you commute, turn off the car stereo once in a while
  2. Sit and meditate during work and lunch breaks
  3. Set up times at home when you intend to be quiet and then communicate with family members not to interrupt you
  4. Take a walk without your music
  5. Spend time outdoors alone
  6. Go on a silent retreat
  7. Unplug: turn off phones, computers, all electronics!

When you do emerge from your time of silence you will be much more refreshed and have more to give.  You will be more centered and will sleep better at night.

May 3, 2010 Posted by | insomnia, Meditations, Self-empowerment, Spirituality, Tips to help insomnia, walking | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bedtime prayers for depression and anxiety

From: Marianne Williamson’s Illuminata

Dear God,

Please make me a force for Good.

Remove from my awareness all thoughts that

keep me bound here.

Every goal I surrender to You.

All agendas I surrender to You.

All I have and all I am I give to You.

I ask only to be carried in your arms that I

might know the joy of full surrender.

May I not be tempted to think meaning-

less things and give them weight and suffer


Please send Your spirit to lift me up, above the

pain and turmoil of this world.

Please give me new youth, and a free and joyful


Show me the happiness of full forgiveness.

Whomever I do not forgive, dear Lord, please

show me how, for I wish to be free of the

guilt of this world.

Dear God,

Please make me happy.

I am ready to outgrow my childish pain.


Dear God,

I feel such pain, anxiety and depression.

I know this is not Your will for me, and yet my

mind is held in chains by fear and paranoia.

I surender my life, right now, to You.

Take the entire mess, all of it, now too complicated

to explain to anyone but known by You

in each detail.

Do what I cannot do.

Lift me up.

Give me a new chance.

Show me a new light.

Make me a new person.

Dear God,

This depression frightens me.

Dear God,

Please bring me peace.


May 2, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Prayers, Spirituality | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An affirmation for breathing

Breath is the gift of life. If we are not breathing we are not living! So every breath we take truly is a gift. As much as we can, let’s be aware of our breathing. If we are getting stressed or hurried, we can just slow our breathing down, breathe deeper into our bellies, and then fully exhale. I like to do this when I am doing mundane things like driving my car or washing the dishes. When I’m waiting in line is a good time as well.

In an earlier post, I referred to one of my favorite books, Louise Hay’s Heal your Body. She describes breath as “the ability to take in life”.  The affirmation she prescribes for good breathing is as follows: ” I love life. It is safe to live”.

This is a wonderful affirmation to try anytime during our day including times at night when we want to sleep.

Let’s try it. Breathe in deeply: “I love life. It is safe to live”. Breathe out. Repeat

Other simple affirmations that really work for me are ” I am safe”, “I am love”, “God loves me”, “I am enough”, and just meditating on the word “peace” or “I am peace.”

May 1, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Meditations, Self-empowerment, Spirituality | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A word listing activity for when you can’t sleep

In your journals, as fast as you can, write down as many words as you can that:

  1. start with “tr”
  2. start with “ch”
  3. start with “la”
  4. end in “le”
  5. end in “er”
  6. end in “ous”
  7. start with “dr”
  8. end in “ion”
  9. start with “z”
  10. start with “qu”

This exercise ought to tire that monkey mind right out and get you sleepy again.

Good night.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | insomnia, lists, puzzles, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , | Leave a comment