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7 Tips to Overcome Morning Anxiety:
Your Guide to a Refreshing Start

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Morning anxiety, a not-so-unusual start to many people’s days, is that gnawing, tense feeling experienced upon waking up. Often confused with just being a ‘morning person’, morning anxiety is far more complex. It’s like waking up on the wrong side of the bed, but the bed is on a cliff. Surprisingly common, morning anxiety touches a significant portion of the population.

 

Identifying the Causes of Morning Anxiety

Psychological Factors

Things like stress, negative thinking, and unresolved worries can cause morning anxiety. Your thoughts and emotions play a big role in how you feel when you wake up.

Physiological Influences

Your body’s chemistry, like hormone levels, can also affect your mood in the morning. Sometimes, it’s something you can’t control, like genetics

Environmental & Lifestyle

Your surroundings and daily habits can trigger morning anxiety. Things like a poor sleep environment, a hectic morning routine, or too much time on social media can all contribute.

Symptoms & Signs of Morning Anxiety

Physical Manifestations

Physical symptoms can include headaches, stomach problems, and feeling restless or jittery. Additionally, morning anxiety can feel more jarring than other experiences of anxiety due t its seemingly misplaced expression.

Emotional & Behavioral Symptoms

You might feel irritable, moody, or have a sense of dread. These emotional responses are common signs of morning anxiety. This may lead to avoidant behaviors or engaging in the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response.

Morning Routines to Combat Anxiety

1. Establishing a Calming Morning Routine

It’s like that saying, ‘slow and steady wins the race’. our body and mind have to gradually begin the day, not just be thrust right into it. Having a relaxing morning routine can help. This could include stretching, taking a warm shower, or just sitting quietly for a few minutes. This may also mean not looking at your phone until you’ve done a calm, slow morning routine.

2. Mindfulness & Meditation Techniques

Practicing mindfulness or meditation in the morning can help clear your mind and reduce anxiety. This may be particularly beneficial if you don’t know how to slow down enough to have a calm routine. Sometimes, starting with writing, reflecting or listening to meditative music can help this process

ways to break the cycle of morning anxiety

3. Diet & Mood

What you eat can affect your mood. Eating wholesome foods like oats, green tea, and fruit can help reduce anxiety and start your day positively. How you eat will also impact your mood. Mindful eating, aka slow, calm and present eating, can help with digestions and foster better eating patterns.  If your first nutrients of the day are a black cup of coffee or shoveling a piece of toast in your mouth– you’re not giving your body the best fighting chance to overcome morning anxiety. 

4. Morning Anxiety & Movement

Choose exercises that you enjoy and that don’t feel too strenuous. Light stretching, yoga, or a quick walk are good options and are suitable morning exercises.  Pressed for time? Do your mindfulness practice while walking for 10 minutes before jumping onto social media or responding to work emails.

5. Progressive Muscle Relaxation & Breathing Exercises

Simple breathing exercises can be a powerful way to reduce stress. They’re easy to do and can be done anywhere.This technique involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in your body. It can help reduce physical tension and promote relaxation.

6. Journaling Before Bed for Less Morning Anxiety

Journaling before bed can be an effective tool in reducing morning anxiety. This practice helps by allowing you to process and release the day’s events, thoughts, and worries, thereby creating a calmer state of mind for sleep. Here’s how it works:

Emotional Release: Writing down your feelings and thoughts can provide an emotional outlet, reducing the burden of carried-over stress and anxiety into the next morning.

Clarifying Thoughts: Journaling can help organize and clarify your thoughts, making challenges seem more manageable and less overwhelming. This clarity can lead to a more peaceful mind when you wake up.

Problem-Solving: Sometimes, writing about a problem or concern can lead to unexpected solutions or new perspectives, helping you to feel more prepared and less anxious about the day ahead.

Mindfulness Practice: The act of writing in a journal encourages mindfulness and being present in the moment, which can lead to reduced stress and anxiety levels.

Gratitude Expression: Including expressions of gratitude in your journal can shift focus from worries to positive aspects of life, fostering a sense of contentment and reducing anxiety.

Creating a Sleep Ritual: Making journaling part of your nightly routine can signal to your body and mind that it’s time to wind down, promoting better sleep quality.

Tracking Anxiety Triggers: Regular journaling can help you identify patterns or triggers of your morning anxiety, leading to better management strategies.

By integrating journaling into your nightly routine, you can set the stage for a more serene and less anxious morning. This simple practice can make a significant difference in how you start your day, ultimately improving your overall mental health and well-being.

7. Red Light Therapy for Morning Anxiety

Red light therapy (RLT) is emerging as a novel approach to managing morning anxiety as well as fatigue and depression. Although more research is needed to truly know the in’s-and-out’s of RLT, current researching is promising. Importantly, consultation with a healthcare provider is recommended to determine if RLT is a suitable option for you and to ensure it is used safely and effectively.

 

Here’s how researchers believe red light therapy can be beneficial:

  • Improving Sleep Quality:  RLT has been shown to potentially improve sleep quality by regulating circadian rhythms, the body’s internal clock. Better sleep can lead to reduced anxiety levels in the morning.
  • Reducing Inflammation: Inflammation has been linked to anxiety and depression. Red light therapy may help in reducing inflammation, which could indirectly alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
  • Enhancing Mood: Exposure to red light has been suggested to increase the production of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. This can help in starting the day with a more positive mindset.
  • Stimulating Cellular Energy: RLT is believed to work at a cellular level, enhancing mitochondrial function, which could lead to improved energy levels and a better overall mood in the morning.
  • Supporting Mental Clarity: By improving overall cellular health and energy, RLT may also contribute to clearer thinking, which can be beneficial for those experiencing anxiety-related foggy brain in the mornings.

 

It’s important to note that while red light therapy shows promise, it should be used as a complementary approach rather than a standalone treatment for morning anxiety.

The Importance of Consistent Routines

Having a consistent morning routine can help reduce anxiety. Try to do the same things in the same order each morning.  Consistency is not just about doing the same things every morning; it’s about creating a predictable environment that your mind and body can rely on. When your mornings are consistent:

  • Reduced Decision Fatigue: Having a routine minimizes the number of decisions you need to make each morning, which can be a source of stress.
  • Sense of Control: A predictable morning gives you a sense of control over your day. When you feel in control, your anxiety levels are likely to decrease.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Consistent morning routines often lead to more regular sleep patterns, which can improve overall sleep quality. Better sleep can significantly reduce anxiety.
  • Enhanced Productivity: A structured routine helps you start your day productively, which can improve your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.
  • Building Healthy Habits: Consistency helps in forming and maintaining healthy habits, whether it’s regular exercise, a balanced breakfast, or mindfulness practices.
  • Emotional Stability: Predictable routines can provide a sense of security and stability, helping to keep emotions more balanced.

 

Remember, while consistency is beneficial, it’s also important to be flexible and kind to yourself. Some days might not go as planned, and that’s okay. The goal is to have a general structure that provides a sense of stability and calm, helping you to start each day with less anxiety and more positivity.

🔑 One Extra Goodie From Our Girl Mel Robbins 🔥

Mel Robbins’ “5 Second Rule” is a simple yet powerful tool that can transform your morning routine and combat morning anxiety. This rule involves counting backwards from 5 to 1 and then immediately taking physical action towards a goal or task. In the context of a morning routine, this technique helps in breaking the cycle of anxiety and procrastination that often hinders people first thing in the morning. When you wake up and feel the reluctance or anxiety about starting your day, the “5 Second Rule” propels you into action, bypassing overthinking and excuses. By using this method to, for example, get out of bed, start your exercise routine, or begin your meditation practice, you set a proactive and positive tone for the rest of your day, effectively reducing morning anxiety.

Conclusion

In conclusion, managing morning anxiety involves a combination of self-care practices, habit training and wellness behaviors as well as, when necessary, seeking professional help. Establishing a consistent morning routine, paying attention to sleep hygiene, nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness practices can significantly alleviate the symptoms of morning anxiety. Recognizing when these self-help methods aren’t enough and consulting a mental health professional is a crucial step towards long-term well-being. By adopting these strategies, you can transform your mornings from a time of stress and worry into a peaceful, positive start to your day, ultimately enhancing your overall quality of life.