Today I will be sharing tips and habits for overcoming morning anxiety.
Do you struggle with morning anxiety? Are the first thoughts that enter your mind so negative and so dreadful that you regret waking up in the first place?
Morning anxiety is very REAL, I would suffer from this terrible illness on a day-to-day basis. If you suffer from panic attacks, dreadful morning fear, and of course depression, this post will come to your aid.
Of course, if you really need help and feel very depressed – please seek the help of a doctor over anything else that you read today.
But if you do feel like you can combat this yourself or if mornings aren’t your thing, then this is your post. Let’s help you wake up to pleasant and peaceful thoughts each morning with some effective and positive habits that helped me when overcoming morning anxiety.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified therapist/counsellor so all the advice is given from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice.
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What is morning anxiety?
According to Calm Clinic, “most people define (morning anxiety) as anxiety either immediately after waking up or anxiety that tends to build over the first hour or so upon awakening.”
As far as symptoms go, everyone experiences anxiety differently, but here are just a few signs of morning anxiety listed by Healthy Place:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
- Chest pains
- Breathing difficulties
- Feeling a loss of control
Morning anxiety is caused by many different factors. For example, we produce higher levels of cortisol– which is a stress hormone — in the mornings. Aside from an increase in cortisol levels, Health Line adds that things like environmental factors and low blood sugar can contribute to morning anxiety. Although waking up with these symptoms is devastating, there are steps you can take to relieve morning anxiety and still have a good day.
Here are some tips I have put together that have helped me overcome morning anxiety.
Overcoming Morning Anxiety – What Helped Me!
Don’t go to bed late the night before
Before we get started, there’s one mistake you cannot afford to make. This morning mistake will screw up your entire day. Go to bed early the night before! Sleep is not only for the weak. It’s the best way to stay strong all day.
Are all-nighters worth bragging about? Maybe they’re fine once in a while when they can’t be avoided but otherwise – staying up late constantly isn’t a sign of working hard; it’s working too much, working inefficiently and mismanaging your time.
I use to be one of those people who stayed up to the early hours of the morning, then wake up like and zombie and head off to work feeling like I had just been dug up. Not anymore though!
Without enough sleep, you’ll start the day with a mind that’s not 100% energised – no matter how many times you give yourself a good slap on the face. The worst part? Imagine your brain failing in the departments of common sense and alertness.
Around 16 million Brits experience side effects of sleep deprivation every night! And studies suggest they can range from less obvious stuff – like a lack of focus or attention – to crying over small things, or a lower reaction time while driving or pouring coffee!
Speaking of coffee – don’t rely on it to overcome sleep deprivation. I enjoy my morning coffee as much as the next person. But I also know caffeine has its limitations. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-8 hours of sleep (or 9 if possible) for the average adult. I have about 6/7, which suits me fine.
Wake Up Early
One of the reasons you may feel anxious in the morning is because you feel rushed. Waking up earlier is a great way to get ready at a slower, more peaceful pace. When you wake up earlier, you have more time to focus on things like self-care (which will be a part of your morning routine for anxiety relief).
If you are rushing around and then flying out of the door every morning, start waking up between 5:00am – 6:30am depending on when you have to leave. You want to wake up a couple of hours before you need to be somewhere. And, remember, start small and build up
Build an effective routine
Effective coping mechanisms significantly prevent anxiety from taking over one’s life. However, building a morning routine and adaptive ways to cope with anxiety takes time. Once a suitable routine as per a person’s liking has been found, he or she is advised to stick to it to reduce anxiety in the morning.
Although it would be hard to enforce such a stringent routine in the beginning, adhering to it would provide stability and consistency in the person’s life.
Exercise is one of those habits that everyone talks about. It makes you roll your eyes when you hear or read about it. Like what else is new? Exercise is good for you.
To me, exercise is a very important habit physically and mentally. I especially notice how much it impacts my life when I don’t do it. I become stressed, I’m also reactive and it shows in my relationships, in my work and in the decisions I make.
I can’t seem to stay clear and objective when I don’t do it. Plus, I just feel tired and ache all the time. So, I try to make exercise a part of my day whether it would be by walking for at least an hour, going to the gym, stretching, running or doing an at home workout. It has become a part of my life and it fits naturally. If it’s still not a part of your daily routine, just try it.
Practice letting go
If you wake up thinking of every single “what if” or worst-case scenario, you might be experiencing anticipatory anxiety. Essentially, it’s when the uncertainty about a possible future event gets in the way of your functioning.
For example, if you have a presentation at work, you might worry you’ll forget your talking points or that the file will somehow get deleted, leading to excessive worrying. These anxious thought loops stem from a desire to feel in control over what may or may not happen.
But the more you try to manage the outcomes, the more anxious you’ll feel. Letting feelings of anxiety go isn’t easy, but there are a few things you can do to detach from the “what ifs”:
- Challenge negative thoughts: When you find yourself thinking about a worst-case outcome, counter the thought with a positive or best-case outcome to neutralize your thinking.
- Focus on what you can control rather than what you cannot: Identifying which of your stressors you have power over (like quitting a job you hate) versus what you cannot control (like the way someone else feels) can help streamline your attention in the right places.
- Be kind to yourself: Recognise that it’s OK to make mistakes. Rather than focusing on what’s missing or what you don’t have, practice gratitude for all that is and all that you do have.
Build a mindful morning routine
Your morning routine doesn’t need to involve waking up at 5 a.m. and reciting empowering mantras (but if it does, that’s OK, too). A good morning routine is about making space for yourself to get ready for the day.
It’s important to build a mindful morning routine that works for you. Some suggestions you can try include:
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal can be an effective way to cope with worry, self-doubt, and negativity. It offers a way to examine sources of stress, as well as express deeper thoughts. Try setting a timer for 10–15 minutes and allow yourself to see what flows to the page.
- Deep breathing: Slowing down your breathing brings the body into a state of relaxation. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a popular method to soothe your nerves. It involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. Try a few cycles of this before getting out of bed or whenever you notice your anxiety is at its highest.
- Visualisation: Visualisation is a technique using mental imagery to achieve a relaxed state of mind. For instance, you can try to picture a calm morning on the beach with the waves washing over your toes to start your day in a relaxed place.
Mindfulness meditation is practiced by focusing the mind on the present and keeping your thoughts from wandering into the past and future. It focuses on breath awareness to draw attention to your body, open up your senses and anchor you into the present and your immediate surroundings.
- Sit comfortably with your upper body straight but do not stiffen.
- Relax and pay attention to what every part of your body is doing like how your legs are positioned and where your arms lay.
- You may close your eyes if you need help getting more focused and relaxed, but it’s not necessary.
- Gently inhale and exhale, getting into the rhythm of your breath noticing how each part of your body reacts and what you’re currently feeling.
- Open your eyes and with a soft gaze, notice your surroundings using your senses, without all
By implementing Mindfulness meditation into your morning, it will help calm down your mind. The more you practice, the more enjoyable it becomes and more benefits you see.
There’s no need to wait until stress rises to use breathing methods for well-being. You experience balance and harmony when your breaths are of equal length and depth.
As inhaling and exhaling uniformly are the natural response to inner peace, your brain thinks you are relaxed even when you breathe this way intentionally. Take deep, even breaths throughout the day to preserve well-being.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Since you are not rushing, you are now able to sit down and eat a healthy nutritious breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast as part of your morning routine before work will help you to be more productive.
Moreover, the breakfast will provide the energy needed to fuel your brain. Additionally, eating breakfast will keep you full for longer, eliminating the need for you to consume high and empty calories which will harm your body. Furthermore, while sitting down to eat your breakfast you can read a few pages of a positive mental attitude book or any other self-development book.
Goals tend to add structure to our days. Having structure and routine may help anxiety. What are three things you want to accomplish today? Start off by making them simple, such as eating fruit with breakfast.
The more you set goals for yourself, the more they become ingrained into your habits. I find that having a simple fitness goal every day is super beneficial.
I recommend trying a 30-day squat or crunch challenge. You can find loads of them Pinterest. Always ensure you are present while working towards your goals.
Take a short walk
Before or after your shower, your choice, take a short walk. I prefer to go after my shower because the shower wakes me up, while the walk gets me pumped for the day. Others may prefer to take a shower after the walk. First of all, we all need exercise on a daily basis. Without it, we are way more prone to anxiety and depression.
So, instead of going to the gym after your day is over, start your day with a little exercise. A 30-minute walk is a great way to get out of the house, enjoy nature, and get your blood pumping. Not only does it do the body well, but it improves your mood as well.
Switch up your attitude
Going to bed worrying that tomorrow will be another day of worrying and upset doesn’t resolve the issue what so ever – it will snowball into a huge problem that wasn’t there in the first place. It’s time to switch up your attitude. Go to bed expecting to be upset in the morning, and tell yourself it will probably be there regardless of whether you worry or not.
Tell yourself that when you wake up and the anxiety hits, that it’s ok to feel worried, nervous, shaken. It’s not a big deal, you can handle it. You can do whatever you need to do, you can get through today. Believe in you.
It’s easier said than done, isn’t it? It’s easy to say: “tomorrow I will be positive”. Because sometimes, just sometimes, you will wake up and think: “I just don’t have the energy to do that today”. And that is when you’re most vulnerable to anxiety taking over your entire day.
So, whether it’s writing on a sticky note or leaving a reminder on your phone, have a backup option to help you out when you need that extra bit of encouragement and positivity in the morning. A gentle reminder that reads something as simple as “you can do this” can make all the difference.
Journal and express gratitude
It’s always great to start the day with gratitude. This will help you start the day with a positive attitude. Journaling has been shown to help manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression.
A great place to start is to write down three things you are grateful for, three things you hope to accomplish that day, and three things you were able to accomplish the day before. Purchase a book, research it on YouTube. The Mindfulness practice is life changing when used consistently and persistently!
Imagine finally drifting off into a peaceful sleep in a dark room and cosy bed, to be woken up by a pounding alarm and harsh bright lights and the chill of getting out of bed. Environmental aggravations like these can soon welcome you to your worst day ever.
It’s vital to infuse positive energy into your home to wake up peacefully and ensure the best possible start to your day. Minimise your chances of anxiety by making your surroundings more peaceful.
Small alterations such as a soothing alarm clock instead of an ear-splitting cuckoo noise, having slippers and a comfy dressing gown to slip into in the morning. This way you don’t have to bear the freezing cold mornings, also try a dimmer switch on your bedside lamp instead of blinding spotlights.
Drink more water
A simple yet vital daily requirement, drinking water. This not only hydrates you but improves your bodily functions, preventing headaches, washes out toxins from the body, and helps with weight loss.
Drinking water can solve other problems such as clearing skin issues and providing mental clarity. One way to drink more water is to keep a water bottle with you at all times so you can hydrate yourself throughout the day. I personally like to drink room temperature and hot water; this helps with digestion.
Don’t check your phone immediately
In an ideal world, your day shouldn’t begin with the phone. Reading about stressful news events before your day even begins compounds anxiety. Be mindful of what media you ingest, especially in the morning. I recommend trying to keep your mind blank and your thoughts your own for the first hour of the day.
Overcoming morning anxiety – Final thoughts
Morning anxiety can be beaten. It’s nothing more than an extension of what’s going on in your life and what kind of lifestyle you lead. If it happens consistently without any apparent reason, you should definitely talk to a medical professional. Otherwise, a few changes to your lifestyle and better self-care can help you overcome morning anxiety easily.
I would love to hear what tips you have to combat morning anxiety – please share them below!
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years! If you have any questions please reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about subjects such as spiritual growth, self-discovery, wellbeing, addiction recovery and mental health. Please connect with me on my journey and join the community!