How to Cope with Morning Anxiety
There are very few more unpleasant sensations to wake up to than morning anxiety; the feeling of uneasiness and increased heart rate often means that you start your day off on the wrong foot. But what causes morning anxiety and how can you cope with it?
What is Morning Anxiety?
Morning anxiety is a similar sensation to the anxiety that you might feel throughout the day but isn’t an immediate response to a specific trigger. When you wake up with morning anxiety, you might experience feeling on edge, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, increased heart rate and worrying thoughts.
What Causes Morning Anxiety?
When you have to deal with many stressors in your daily life, the stress might build up and result in ongoing anxiety that doesn’t ease at night. If you go to bed with anxious thoughts, you’re more likely to wake up feeling anxious. Additionally, research shows that the level of stress hormone is the highest upon waking up so people who are under constant stress might be especially prone to morning anxiety.
Tips on Improving Morning Anxiety
When you wake up feeling anxious, it sets the tone for the rest of the day and you might find it difficult to make yourself exercise or be productive, which can cause more worrying thoughts and further fuel your anxiety. The key to improving morning anxiety gradually is improving your lifestyle and focusing on self-care.
1. Improve your diet
Unhealthy foods can negatively affect your mood so it’s important to limit sugars and processed meals. It’s also a good idea to drink less caffeine and alcohol as they can trigger anxiety.
2. Develop a morning self-care routine
Doing yoga when you’re feeling anxious in the morning might not help you straight away but if you make it a part of your daily routine, your anxiety will gradually ease.
Find a relaxing activity and try to do it for at least 15 minutes after you wake up, then gradually increase the duration once you get used to it.
3. Schedule worry time
Let yourself worry but only for a short period of time each day. For example, whenever a worrying thought occurs you might write it down and then come back to it in the allocated time. Choosing a scheduled worry time will make it less likely that rumination distracts you from working and your stress levels will decrease.
4. Keep a gratitude journal
Gratitude can ease anxiety as it forces you to focus on the positives. Whether you decide to keep a journal in the morning or before going to bed, make sure you write down at least 3 things you’re grateful for, such as your family, nice weather or your health.
If you’re struggling to cope, consider reaching out for help. Contact My Family Psychologist to see how we can help